Author: Rachel Scott
Extent: 208 pp
Publication: October 2017
Publisher: Tamesis Books
Winner of the 2015 Publication Prize awarded by the Association of Hispanists of Great Britain and Ireland
Celestina by Fernando de Rojas is a canonical work of late medieval Spanish literature and one of the earliest European “best-sellers”. However, while we have clear evidence of its popularity and influence due to detailed research on its print history and editions, we have not adequately answered the question of precisely why it continued to hold such appeal for early modern audiences.
This book explores Celestina‘s role as a key interlocutor in European literature and thought. Taking an ideological and comparative approach that focuses on Celestina‘s reception in sixteenth-century Spain and Italy, it reads Rojas’s work against a network of texts that were translated, printed, and circulated concurrently in both Peninsulas yet which have not previously been examined in depth or detail alongside it.
The study argues that that Celestina continued to be meaningful because it engaged with one of the period’s defining preoccupations: namely the human condition, an idea often conceptualised in pro et contra debates about the misery and dignity of man.