British Library Treasures in full: Caxton's Chaucer
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Caxton’s life coincided with the power struggle known as the War of the Roses. This was a protracted civil war between two factions for the control of England. Most people were probably only marginally and occasionally touched, but Caxton was a prominent person in the world of trade and diplomacy and, already when he was in Flanders, he was directly affected by his support for the house of York. Shortly after Caxton returned to England, Edward IV was replaced by Richard III. In Caxton’s patrons we outline how his work was affected by his political connections.

But Caxton did not only depend on his powerful patrons. He also had to find people to buy his books, a proposition which is entirely different for a printer than for a producer of manuscripts. We can gain an impression of the nature of Caxton’s customers, as summarised in Caxton’s readers.

A significant income was generated by the production of works commissioned by customers who paid in advance for all or most of an edition of a text. An example is the printing of indulgences, described in Pardoners and indulgences.

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1. Caxton’s readers
2. Pardoners and indulgences
3. Caxton’s patrons

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