In respect to the date of the introduction of printing into Bohemia, the first regular printing establishment at Prague is not older than A.D. 1487. Several Bohemian books, however, were printed before this time by travelling workmen. In regard to the first work printed in the Bohemian language historians are not entirely agreed. According to Jungmann, a letter from Huss to Jakaubek, of 1459. was the first specimen of Bohemian printing; the above-mentioned chronicle of Troy of 1468 the second; and the New Testament of 1475 the third. According to Dobrovsky, the New Testament of 1475 is the earliest printed work in Bohemian. From that year to 1488, only seven Bohemian works appear to have been issued from the press; among which was a Psalter and another New Testament. In 1488, after the foundation of a regular printing office, the whole Bohemian Bible was printed for the first time; in the same year the History of Troy again, and the Roman chronicle; and in the following year the first Bohemian almanac, and the Bible of Kuttenberg. The subsequent editions belong, as to time, to the following period; but are given in the note below.
Golden age of the Bohemian Literature. From the diffusion of printing, about A.D. 1500, to the battle at the White Mountain, A.D. 1620.
It is chiefly for the sake of clearness and convenience, that writers on the literary history of Bohemia separate this period from the former; in its character and its genius it was entirely the same. What the Bohemians had acquired in the one, they possessed in the other; what they had only aimed at in the former, they reached in the latter; what had been the property of a few, was now augmented by an abundant harvest in their diligent hands, and enriched a multitude. But the objects, the stamp, the character, of both centuries were essentially the same. Literary cultivation, which during the sixteenth century was every where else monopolized by the clergy and a few distinguished individuals, was now in Bohemia the common property of the people; who for the most part embraced the evangelical doctrines in their manifold, though but little differing shades. But although religion was to them the object of chief interest, it was yet far from occupying their minds exclusively. And this is the point, in which the history of the Bohemian Reformation materially differs from that of some other countries. Luther’s elevated mind did not indeed give room to narrow prejudices against those flowers of life, with which a kind Creator has adorned this earth. But almost all the other Reformers were led, either by a one-sided zeal or by circumstances, to show themselves decidedly opposed to the cultivation of elegant literature and the fine arts; they destroyed or banished pictures, music, statuary, and every thing which they could in any way regard as worldly temptations