Caxton's Golden Legend

Jacobus de Voragine (ca. 1229–1298).
The Golden Legend.
Translated and enlarged by William Caxton.
Westminster: William Caxton, [between 20 November 1483 and March 1484]. (06401)

This translation of the Golden Legend by William Caxton (ca. 1422–1491) is the first English edition of Jacobus de Voragine’s highly popular compendium of saints’ biographies. It also served as the first printing of significant passages of the scriptures in English. Whereas the ecclesiastical authorities forbade the publication of the Wycliffite translation of the Bible into English, Caxton was not prevented from retelling the stories of Adam and Eve, the Nativity of Christ, or the Crucifixion with brief biblical quotations. The Golden Legend is Bridwell Library’s only intact, although incomplete, book by England’s first printer.

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Caxton's Golden Legend