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2002 articles 1986 articles

Fragment of an unpublished essay on printing by William Camden

R. D. Dunn

Abstract

THE known facts concerning the origins of printing from movable type in western Europe have been ably gathered and assessed by recent scholars and there is a large measure of agreement among them, but the information available to William Camden in the sixteenth century is interesting both where it agrees and where it disagrees. It would be wrong to contend that this fragment, by itself, is sufficient grounds to modify our data. On several points his information is demonstrably inaccurate or simply ambiguous, and since he never completed the essay it cannot be said to represent his final thoughts. Yet while Camden was no bibliographer in the sense that term has come to mean today, his reputation as a scholar and the degree of accuracy in his published works make it worth considering his observations, however brief or incomplete. My object here is to publish his remarks along with annotation to qualify or elucidate points of difficulty.

Fragment of an unpublished essay on printing by William Camden (PDF format), 3MB

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