Geoffrey Chaucer (d. 1400) Queen Anelida and the false Arcite

[Westminster: William Caxton, c. 1476]

Among the earliest products of Caxton’s press at Westminster was a series of small verse pamphlets in English, perhaps produced for educational use or to test the market for vernacular printing. As was common practice in the first half-century of printing, such pamphlets could be bought individually or as a set for binding together. Queen Anelida and the Flase Arcite and the Book of courtesy, both unique survivals, were formerly bound with six others. As is common with school books, the pages bear signs of having passed through many, often grubby, hands and a number of readers have left their names for us to decipher. Another, perhaps more mature hand, identified elsewhere in the volume as that of John Fawler, has added an improving afterword in verse to the Book of courtesy, beginning “Here maist thou learne thyselfe howe to behaue”.


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