Publication Date: December 29, 2009
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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.
"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 faitful 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