Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    A timeless story of love, morality, and tragedy, Fernando de Rojas'sCelestinais a classic of Spanish literature. Second only toDonQuixotein its cultural importance, Rojas's dramatic dialogue presents the elaborate tale of a star-crossed courtship between the young nobleman Calisto and the beautiful maiden Melibea in fifteenth-century Spain. Their unforgettable saga plays out in vibrant exchanges, presented here in a brilliant new translation by award-winning translator Margaret Sayers Peden.

    After a chance encounter with Melibea leaves Calisto entranced by her charms, he enlists the services of Celestina, an aged prostitute, madam, and procuress, to arrange another meeting. She promptly seizes control of the affair, guiding it through a series of mishaps before it meets its tragic end. At times a comic character and at others a self-assertive promoter of women's sexual license, Celestina is an inimitable personality with a surprisingly modern consciousness, certain to be relished by a new generation of readers.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-15619-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-x)
    Margaret Sayers Peden
    (pp. xi-xii)
    (pp. xiii-4)
    Roberto González Echevarría

    Published in 1499,Celestinais as fresh and relevant a work of fiction as if it had been written today. Its most scandalous innovation is that its protagonist is an old whore and procuress who runs a brothel, restores virgins, arranges for clandestine sexual encounters, and corrupts young men and women. Yet, for all these unsavory characteristics and immoral activities, Celestina is a self-possessed, willful, and courageous character whom the reader cannot but admire. She is a modern tragic heroine, perhaps the first, and surely the only one whose misfortunes are not the result of a love affair of her...

  6. ACT ONE (Calisto, Melibea, Sempronio, Celestina, Elicia, Crito, Pármeno)
    (pp. 5-39)

    Calisto enters a garden in pursuit of his falcon and there finds Melibea, of whose love he becomes prisoner; he begins to speak to her. Roundly dispatched from the garden, he returns to his house, deeply anguished. There he speaks with a servant named Sempronio, who, after much discussion, directs him to an old woman named Celestina, in whose house this same servant has a lover named Elicia. She in turn, as Sempronio approaches the house of Celestina to conduct his master’s business, has with her another lover, named Crito, whom she and Celestina hide. All the while Sempronio is...

  7. ACT TWO (Calisto, Sempronio, Pármeno)
    (pp. 40-46)

    Celestina has left Calisto to return home; Calisto stays talking with Sempronio, his servant. Calisto, now that his hopes have been raised, is agitated by inaction; he sends Sempronio to spur Celestina to move more quickly with their business. In the meantime, Calisto and Pármeno remain behind in conversation.

    Calisto. My brothers, I gave Mother a hundred coins. Did I do well?

    Sempronio. By my oath, yes, you did well! In addition to improving your life, you won great honor. And what are the favors and prosperity of Fortune for if not to serve honor, which is the greatest of...

  8. ACT THREE (Sempronio, Celestina, Elicia)
    (pp. 47-55)

    Sempronio goes to the house of Celestina, whom he reprimands for taking so long. They set about searching for the path to take in the matter of Calisto’s pursuit of Melibea. Elicia happens by. Celestina goes to the house of Pleberius. Sempronio and Elicia stay at the house of Celestina.

    Sempronio (apart). What a lot of time the bearded old hag is taking. Her feet were more lively on the way here. You pay in advance, you get no romance. Ho! Señora Celestina, we have not seen any hustle from you.

    Celestina. What are you doing here, Son?

    Sempronio. Our...

  9. ACT FOUR (Celestina, Lucrecia, Alisa, Melibea)
    (pp. 56-75)

    Celestina walks down the road, talking to herself, until she reaches the door of Pleberius, where she finds Lucrecia, Pleberius’s servant. She starts a conversation with her. They are overheard by Alisa, mother of Melibea, and when she learns it is Celestina, she bids her come in. A messenger arrives to summon Alisa. She leaves. Celestina is left in the house with Melibea, and she reveals the reason for her visit.

    Celestina (alone). Now that I am alone, I want to think very carefully about why Sempronio feared my coming here, because those things that are not carefully thought out,...

  10. ACT FIVE (Celestina, Sempronio, Pármeno, Calisto)
    (pp. 76-81)

    After taking leave of Melibea, Celestina makes her way through the streets, talking to herself. Once home, she speaks with Sempronio, who is waiting for her. They continue on together, talking, until they reach Calisto’s house and are seen by Pármeno, who notifies his master, Calisto, that they are arriving, and he orders Pármeno to open the door.

    Celestina (alone). O such danger! O cunning daring mine! O great suffering! I was very near death had my cleverness not known to trim the sails of my petition. O threats from that fiery maiden! O wrathful maiden! And you, Devil, you...

  11. ACT SIX (Calisto, Celestina, Pármeno, Sempronio)
    (pp. 82-96)

    Celestina goes inside Calisto’s house. With great appreciation and eagerness, Calisto asks her what happened at Melibea’s. While they are talking, Pármeno, listening to Celestina, puts in an objection to every statement. Sempronio reprimands him. Finally Celestina tells Calisto of the negotiation and of Melibea’s girdle. Taking leave of him, she goes to her home, and Pármeno goes with her.

    Calisto. What were you saying, dear señora and mother?

    Celestina. O Señor Calisto! You here? My new lover of the beauteous Melibea, and with great reason! And how will you repay the old woman who today has put her life...

  12. ACT SEVEN (Celestina, Pármeno, Areúsa, Elicia)
    (pp. 97-115)

    Celestina speaks with Pármeno, urging him to peace and friendship with Sempronio. Pármeno recalls to her the promise she made to give him Areúsa, whom he loves very much. They go to Areúsa’s house. Pármeno stays the night. Celestina goes to her house; she knocks at the door; Elicia comes to open, berating her for her late arrival.

    Celestina. Pármeno, my son, given all that has happened, I have not had an opportune moment to tell you and show you the great affection I have for you, and in that same vein, how everyone has heard from my lips the...

  13. ACT EIGHT (Pármeno, Areúsa, Sempronio, Calisto)
    (pp. 116-125)

    Morning comes. Pármeno awakes. Taking his leave of Areúsa he goes to the house of Calisto, his master. He finds Sempronio at the door. They agree to be friends. Together they go to Calisto’s bedchamber. They find him talking to himself. Once up, he goes to the church.

    Pármeno. Is day breaking, or what is so light in this chamber?

    Areúsa. Day breaking? Sleep, Señor, we have no more than gone to bed. I have scarcely closed my eyes, is it already day? Please God, open that window there above the headboard and you will see.

    Pármeno. I am clearheaded,...

  14. ACT NINE (Sempronio, Pármeno, Celestina, Elicia, Areúsa, Lucrecia)
    (pp. 126-139)

    Sempronio and Pármeno talk as they make their way to Celestina’s house. Once there, they find Elicia and Areúsa. They all sit down to eat. During the meal Elicia argues with Sempronio. She gets up from the table. They calm her. As they talk among themselves, Lucrecia, Melibea’s servant, arrives to tell Celestina that Melibea wants to see her.

    Sempronio. Pármeno, take down our cloaks and swords, if you please; it is the hour for us to go to dinner.

    Pármeno. Let us go quickly. I believe they will be complaining that we are late. Not down that street but...

  15. ACT TEN (Melibea, Lucrecia, Celestina, Alisa)
    (pp. 140-151)

    As Celestina and Lucrecia are walking to the house of Melibea, Melibea is alone, talking to herself. They reach the door. Lucrecia goes in first. She motions Celestina in. Melibea, after a long conversation, confesses to Celestina that she is burning with love for Calisto. They see Alisa, Melibea’s mother, coming. They quickly say goodbye. Alisa asks Melibea about her dealings with Celestina, and then discourages further conversation with her.

    Melibea (alone). O how wretched I am. What poor judgment! Would it not have been better for me to yield to Celestina’s entreaty yesterday, when she asked on behalf of...

  16. ACT ELEVEN (Celestina, Sempronio, Calisto, Pármeno, Elicia)
    (pp. 152-159)

    Celestina, after leaving Melibea, makes her way down the street alone, talking to herself. She sees Sempronio and Pármeno, who are going to the church of the Magdalene to find their señor. Sempronio talks with Calisto. Celestina follows them. They all go to Calisto’s house. Celestina gives him her message and tells him of the arrangements she has made for him with Melibea. As they are engaged in this conversation, Pármeno and Sempronio are talking between themselves. Celestina says goodbye to Calisto, goes to her house, knocks at the door. Elicia comes to let her in. They have their supper...

  17. ACT TWELVE (Calisto, Sempronio, Pármeno, Lucrecia, Pleberio, Celestina, Alisa, Elicia)
    (pp. 160-180)

    As midnight approaches, Calisto, Sempronio, and Pármeno, well armed, leave for Melibea’s house. Lucrecia and Melibea are near the door, waiting for Calisto. Calisto arrives. Lucrecia speaks first. She calls Melibea. Lucrecia goes away. Melibea and Calisto talk through the crack between the doors. Pármeno and Sempronio converse at a distance. They hear people in the street. They get ready to flee. Calisto bids Melibea farewell after they agree upon a meeting the next night. Pleberio, at the sound of the noise in the street, wakes. He calls to his wife, Alisa. They ask Melibea whose footsteps they heard in...

  18. ACT THIRTEEN (Calisto, Tristán, Sosia)
    (pp. 181-187)

    Calisto, awakened from sleep, is talking to himself. After a bit he calls Tristán and his other servants. Calisto falls back to sleep. Tristán takes his place at the door. Sosia arrives, weeping. Questioned by Tristán, Sosia tells him of the death of Sempronio and Pármeno. They go to tell the news to Calisto, who, knowing the truth, falls into lamentation.

    Calisto (alone). O how well I have slept following that sweetest interlude, following that angelic conversation! I have had a magnificent rest; calm and repose evolve from my joy. O my fine sleep was caused either by physical activity...

  19. ACT FOURTEEN (Melibea, Lucrecia, Sosia, Tristán, Calisto)
    (pp. 188-198)

    Melibea is very upset as she talks with Lucrecia about Calisto’s being late, as he had vowed to come that night to visit her. He does arrive, and with him, Sosia and Tristán. After he has fulfilled his wish, all three return home. Calisto withdraws to his bedchamber and laments having been with Melibea for such a brief time. He begs Phoebus to hide his rays, so he can renew his desire.

    Melibea. The caballero we are waiting for is very late. Do you know, or conjecture, where he might be, Lucrecia?

    Lucrecia. Señora, I believe he has met up...

  20. ACT FIFTEEN (Elicia, Areúsa, Centurio)
    (pp. 199-206)

    Areúsa is hurling insults at a ruffian named Centurio, who says goodbye to her as Elicia arrives. Elicia tells Areúsa of the deaths that have come about because of the love of Calisto and Melibea, and Areúsa and Elicia agree that Centurio should avenge the deaths of the three by making the two lovers pay. Finally Elicia tells Areúsa goodbye, not consenting to do what she asks her because she does not want to lose the pleasure of living in her own house.

    Elicia. What is all that noise coming from my cousin’s? If she already knows the sad news...

  21. ACT SIXTEEN (Pleberio, Alisa, Lucrecia, Melibea)
    (pp. 207-211)

    Pleberio and Alisa believe that their daughter Melibea has conserved her virginity—though, according to what seems to have passed, that is far from true—and they are discussing marriage for their daughter. The words Melibea hears from her parents give her great pain, so she sends Lucrecia to be the cause for them to cease talking on that subject.

    Pleberio. Alisa, dear woman, time, it appears to me, is, as is said, slipping through our fingers. The days are racing by like water down the river. There is nothing as fleet in passing as life. Death follows and circles...

  22. ACT SEVENTEEN (Elicia, Areúsa, Sosia)
    (pp. 212-218)

    Elicia, lacking Penelope’s chastity, decides to say farewell to the sorrow and mourning caused by the deaths of her friends, praising the counsel of Areúsa in this matter; she goes to the house of Areúsa, where she sees Sosia. Areúsa, with beguiling and deceptive words, draws from him the secret between Calisto and Melibea.

    Elicia (alone). This mourning is not good for me. Few come to my house. Few pass by in my street. I no longer see the dawn musicians, no longer hear the songs of my friends, now there are no knife fights or rowdy night noises because...

  23. ACT EIGHTEEN (Elicia, Centurio, Areúsa)
    (pp. 219-224)

    Elicia decides that she will follow Areúsa’s scheme and pretend to renew the friendship between Areúsa and Centurio, and they go to Centurio’s house, where they ask him to wreak vengeance on Calisto and Melibea for the deaths of their friends, which he promises to do. But as it is natural for such men not to do what they promise, he does not do what he said he would, as is seen in the progress of the story.

    Elicia (apart). Is anyone here?

    Centurio. Boy! Run see who dares enter without knocking at the door. No, come back, come back,...

  24. ACT NINETEEN (Sosia, Tristán, Calisto, Melibea, Lucrecia)
    (pp. 225-234)

    Calisto, with Sosia and Tristán, goes to the garden of Pleberio to visit Melibea, who is waiting, and, with her, Lucrecia. Sosia tells what happened with Areúsa. When Calisto is in the garden with Melibea, Traso and others come at Centurio’s bidding to do what he promised Areúsa and Elicia. Sosia goes to meet them. Calisto, from the garden where he is with Melibea, hears the racket they are making and tries to go over the wall, an action that leads to bringing an end to his days, because that is the reward given to his sort, and why lovers...

  25. ACT TWENTY (Pleberio, Lucrecia, Melibea)
    (pp. 235-241)

    Lucrecia knocks at the door of Pleberio’s bedchamber. Pleberio asks what she wants. Lucrecia asks him to hurry and come see his daughter, Melibea. Pleberio gets up, goes to Melibea’s chamber. He consoles her, asking what her ailment is. Melibea feigns it is her heart. Melibea sends her father to bring her musical instruments. She and Lucrecia climb up into a tower. Melibea sends Lucrecia away and closes the door after her. Her father comes to the foot of the tower. Melibea reveals to him everything that has passed. Then she throws herself from the tower.

    Pleberio. What do you...

  26. ACT TWENTY-ONE (Alisa, Pleberio)
    (pp. 242-248)

    Pleberio returns to his bedchamber weeping uncontrollably. His wife, Alisa, asks him the cause for such sudden grief. He tells her of the death of their daughter, Melibea, showing her the torn and bruised body and, with tears and moans and sobs, all concludes.

    Alisa. What is this, my señor Pleberio? Why these loud cries and lamentations? I was senseless from the grief that struck me when I heard you say our daughter was feeling pain. Now, hearing your wails, your loud voice, your unaccustomed plaints, your tears and anguish, it penetrated my inner being in such a way, it...

    (pp. 249-250)