Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Medieval Literature in Manuscript and Print: Early English Printing

Here are some early printed editions of medieval texts. They're all English except one. 

Saxo Grammaticus

Froissart

Richard Pynson was a truly great printer. Woodcut of royal arms for the frontispiece.

Confessio amantis

Canterbury Tales

The third collected edition of Chaucer and regarded as the first complete edition because it has the Plowman's Tale (placed before the Parson's Tale). Subsequent editions followed suit in this placement.

The Vision of Pierce Plowman

Compare the title page of TCU's copy with that of the Folger Library's copy (3r). What do you notice? What does this tell you about an edition of an early printed book?

The Historie of Cambria now Called Wales

The Historie of Cambria is a composite work. Based on the twelfth-century medieval history of Caradoc of Llancarvan, written in Welsh, it was translated into English by Welsh antiquarian Humphrey Llwyd in the sixteenth century. David Powell added to Llwyd's work, thereby creating the first printed history of Wales. It is illustrated throughout with woodcuts from Holinshed's Chronicle.