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The racy and irreverent Spanish tragicomedy that is considered the first European novel-in a spirited new translation A Spanish Romeo and Juliet, Celestina was published in 1499 and became Spain's first-ever bestseller. Readers thrilled to the salty character of Celestina and her world of prostitutes and black magic even as they mourned the fate of Calisto and Melibea, the young lovers she unites using her wiles as a seller of perfumes and potions. Fernando de Rojas's exhilarating mix of street wit, obscenity, and cultured rhetoric mark Celestina as a masterpiece: an original, explosive, genre-defying work that paved the way for the picaresque novel and for Cervantes.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 219 pages
  • 129.54 x 193.04 x 17.78mm | 204.12g
  • Penguin Books
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • 0143106090
  • 9780143106098
  • 489,807

Review quote

"A vibrantly alive work of art . . . It is no exaggeration to equate the artistic originality and conquests of Rojas with the achievements of Cervantes, Velazquez, or Goya." --Juan Goytisolo, from the Introduction

"Without Celestina, the great tradition of the novel in Spanish would not exist: the works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Carlos Fuentes, and Juan Goytisolo all descend from Mother Celestina. In his brilliant translation, Peter Bush makes this classic of potions and passions into a delightfully intoxicating, uniquely Spanish treat for contemporary readers." --Julio Ortega, Brown University

"This welcome new English translation transforms the text into readable and lively prose dialogue. The introduction by Juan Goytisolo is also recommended." --Dorothy Sherman Severin, University of Liverpool "Juan Goytisolo's introduction is a masterly piece of valuable, updated information and keen critical insight. Peter Bush's translation offers for the first time a faithful rendering of the sparkling language of Fernando de Rojas in this, the most daring work ever written in the whole of Spanish literature. A welcome help to the student and a treasure of enjoyment for the general reader." --Francisco Marquez-Villanueva, Harvard University
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About Fernando De Rojas

Fernando de Rojas (c. 1470-1541) was born in La Puebla de Montalbán into a family whose Jewish forbears had been forced to convert to Christianity. He wrote Celestina in his mid-twenties before graduating from the University of Salamanca in 1500. He subsequently lived as a lawyer in Talavera de la Reina, where he died. In 1525 he defended his father-in-law against accusations by the Inquisition. Peter Bush (translator) is an award-winning literary translator. His translations from Spanish include Juan the Landless by Juan Goytisolo and Havana Fever by Leonardo Padura, and from Catalan, A Not So Perfect Crime by Teresa Solana and The Last Patriarch by Najat El Hachmi. Juan Goytisolo (introduction; 1931----2017) was one of Spain's most celebrated writers. A bitter opponent of the Franco regime, he found his early novels banned in Fascist Spain. In 1956 he moved to Paris, where he lived until 1996, when his wife, the writer Monique Lange, died; he then moved to Marrakech, Morocco, where he lived for the rest of his life. He championed such writers as Fernando de Rojas, the Archpriest of Hita, and Blanco White, who had been neglected by the Spanish academy. His most outstanding work in English translation includes two volumes of autobiography, Forbidden Territory and Realms of Strife, and the trilogy Marks of Identity, Count Julian, and Juan the Landless. In 2014 he was awarded the Miguel de Cervantes Prize, the most prestigious literary award in the Spanish-speaking world.
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Rating details

9,209 ratings
3.39 out of 5 stars
5 18% (1,664)
4 28% (2,586)
3 34% (3,134)
2 14% (1,328)
1 5% (497)
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