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.
Fernando de Rojas (1475–1541) was born in Toledo, Spain. He worked as a lawyer and served as mayor of Talavera for some time. Celestina is his only published work.