This exercise supplements our reading about William Caxton (McCrum ch 3 and Lerer ch 8). The passages come from W.J.B. Crotch’s The Prologues and Epilogues of William Caxton (reprint 1991)
There are excerpts from two of Caxton’s Prologues in modern edition. In pairs, pick one of the passages and please read it, making a list of grammatical and formal elements of Caxton’s language that stand out to you. Can you identify the older forms described by Lerer? Also, make a list of 3 or 4 points about his content.
A. From the 2nd edition of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, 1484:
B. From the 1490 edition of the Eneydos:
C. Here is a facsimile of an early printed book known as the Dicts and Sayings of the Philosophers (the first ever printed in English in England with a date on it). NB: This book is a translation from Arabic! Can you transcribe a few lines of it? Check here for a modern edition.