Rojas, Fernando de

Rojas, Fernando de

(fārnän`dō thā rō`häs), 1465?–1541?, Spanish writer. Scanty records show him to have practiced law at Salamanca. He wrote La Celestina, published anonymously in 1499. An extended novel, in 22 acts, it is a graphic description of human passion recounted in exquisite Renaissance prose. It is considered a masterpiece of Spanish literature comparable to Don Quixote.

Bibliography

See studies by S. Gilman (1972, 1976).

Rojas, Fernando De

 

Born circa 1465, in Puebla de Mon-talban, in the province of Toledo; died Apr. 3 or 8, 1541, in Ta-lavera de la Reina, in the province of Toledo. Spanish writer.

Rojas is regarded by most scholars as the author of the prose drama Tragicomedy of Calisto and Melibea, better known as La Celestina, which was written approximately between 1492 and 1497 (Russian translation, 1959). It combined didacticism with vivid realism and the traditions of Neoplatonism and Italian humanism. The work, the first in Spanish literature to depict the urban lower classes with sympathy, united bookish elements and rhetoric with the language of the common people.

By the 16th century, La Celestina had been translated into the chief languages of Europe and had engendered imitations. Beginning in the late 18th century, the work and its imitations were included in the list of books banned by the church. La Celestina was a source of the picaresque novel and of Spanish dramaturgy during the Golden Age. Adaptations of the work have been staged in European theaters since the early 20th century.

WORKS

Tragicomedia de Calixto y Melibea. Madrid, 1970.

REFERENCES

Lida de Malkiel, M. R. La originalidad artística de “La Celestina.” Buenos Aires [1962].
Maravall, J. A. El mundo social de “La Celestina.” Madrid [1964].
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Authorship of the work, which was published anonymously, is generally attributed to Rojas, Fernando de, a converted Jewish lawyer about whom little else is known.