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p. 1269. Coda

print and the canonlocked

  • Elaine Treharne


The ‘Coda: Print and the canon’ explains that when William Caxton brought printing to London in 1485, his choice to print in the vernaculars of England—English and French—consolidated the linguistic decisions made by many manuscript authors and compilers for hundreds of years. It was a choice based on the knowledge that this new textual tradition would thrive among the middle-class and aristocratic populace whose literacy was more assured in their own languages than in the scholarly Latin of centuries past. Caxton’s choice to publish Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales and Malory’s Le Morte Darthur helped to consolidate what would become fundamental works in the English literary canon.

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