A masterpiece of Spanish literature second only to Don Quijote, Celestina was given its definite twenty-one-act form by Fernando de Rojas at the dawn of the sixteenth century and then quickly became a European best-seller. Superficial similarities to Romeo
and Juliet aside, the pivotal figure in this tragic love story is the formidable old go-between Celestina, a character whose mythical dimension continues to haunt the imagination (witness, for example, Picasso's attempts early and late in his career to capture her pictorially). This edition offers, in facsimile, the first two German translations of Celestina (Augsburg 1520 and 1534) neither of which has been reprinted since the sixteenth century. Beautifully illustrated by Hans Weiditz and printed in the precious Teuerdank type, they represent two separate and distinct renditions of the text by the same author, the Augsburg patrician Christof Wirsung. Although both versions stem from the same Italian translation of
the Spanish original, they differ significantly in language, style, and even, to some degree, in content and spirit.