World of the Book returns with one of the earliest and rarest printed English books

A book that marks the birth of English printing is part of State Library Victoria's latest exhibition display.
World of the Book. Image is an ancient book, printed in the 15th century, lying open.

Since 2015 State Library Victoria (SLV) has presented a collection of highlights garnered from the Library’s own rare books collection. Every year the display is refreshed with a different selection of printed works.

2024 marks 550 years since the birth of English printing, so it’s appropriate and timely that this year, World of the Book: the rare, the sacred and the iconic is presenting a second edition of William Caxton’s The Myrrour of the Worlde (c.1489–1490). Valued at around $250,000, it’s one of only two copies in the world.

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Thuy On is the Reviews and Literary Editor of ArtsHub and an arts journalist, critic and poet who’s written for a range of publications including The Guardian, The Saturday Paper, Sydney Review of Books, The Australian, The Age/SMH and Australian Book Review. She was the books editor of The Big issue for 8 years. Her debut, a collection of poetry called Turbulence, came out in 2020 and was released by University of Western Australia Publishing (UWAP). Her second collection, Decadence, was published in July 2022, also by UWAP. Her third book, Essence, will be published in 2025. Twitter: @thuy_on Instagram: poemsbythuy