Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye

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Raoul Lefèvre writing, from the Histoires de Troye (Cognac folio)

Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye or Recueil des Histoires de Troye, is a French courtly romance written by Raoul Lefevre, chaplain to Philip III, Duke of Burgundy.

An edition in English, translated by William Caxton, and printed by him probably with Colard Mansion and Johann Veldener in 1473 or 1474[1] (traditionally "ca. 1475") at Bruges was the first book printed in the English language.[2] Just 18 copies still exist,[3] and one of these was sold by the Duke of Northumberland in 2014 for over £1,000,000.[3]

A presentation copy of the first edition with a specially made engraving showing Caxton presenting the book to Margaret of York is now in the Huntington Library, San Marino, CA. This "patronage" may be more advertising than analogous to traditional medieval patronage.[4]

The English translation forms the source for the late Tudor morality play Horestes (1567).[5]


  1. ^ "Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye". Copac. Retrieved 9 July 2010. 
  2. ^ E. Gordon Duff, The Printers, Stationers, and Bookbinders of Westminister and London from 1476 to 1535, New York: Arno Press, 1977, p. 6.
  3. ^ a b "First printed book in English sold for over £1m", 17 July 2014, BBC
  4. ^ See Rutter, Russell. "William Caxton and Literary Patronage." Studies in Philology 84.4 (1987): 440-470.
  5. ^ Farnham (1936), p. 259 and Bevington (1962), p. 179


  • Bevington, David (1962) From Mankind to Marlowe: growth of structure in the popular drama of Tudor England. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP ISBN 0-674-32500-1
  • Farnham, Willard (1936) The Medieval Heritage of Elizabethan Tragedy. Berkeley: University of California Press (reissued by Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1956)
  • Panzer, K., ed. Short-title Catalogue of English Books. 2nd ed. STC 15375

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