The Erasure of Labor: Hoccleve, Caxton, and the Information Age

  • William Kuskin
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


The information age is widely understood as a technological revolution, a progressive advancement of capitalism into a post-industrial age. Kuskin argues that the transition from manuscript to print and from print to silicon chip run parallel: both demonstrate that labor is made invisible, erased, by capitalists for political reasons. This observation undermines the notion of a break from history to recall the enduring role of labor in cultural production.


Literary Production Fifteenth Century Fourteenth Century Literary Culture Great Disruption 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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    Caxton printed two editions of The Game of Chesse. The STC lists ten extant copies of the first (STC 4920), and twelve of the second (STC 4921), but Seymour de Ricci records more: 11 existing copies and 8 untraced for the first, and thirteen existing, three untraced for the second; see A Census of Caxtons (1909; rpt in facsimile Mansfield Connecticut: Martino Publishing, 2000), p. 119. There is some debate surrounding the editions’ dates and sources, and this has been worked out by N.F. Blake in “Dating the First Books Printed in English,” in William Caxton and English Literary Culture (London: The Hambledon Press, 1991), pp. 75–87. The preferred date for the second edition is 1483; see Paul Needham, The Printer and the Pardoner (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1986), p. 87.Google Scholar
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© Kellie Robertson and Michael Uebel 2004

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  • William Kuskin

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