“THE FIRST EUROPEAN NOVEL”: LA CELESTINA, 1599 PLANTIN PRINTING
(ROJAS, Fernando de). Celestina. Tragicomedia de Calisto y Melibea. [Leyden]: En la Oficina Plantiniana, . 16mo, 18th-century half vellum, spine lettered in ink. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. $8500.
Plantin edition of this classic tragicomedy of the Spanish Renaissance—arguably the most important early work of Spanish literature aside from Don Quixote—published within a century of the unobtainable first edition.
Fernando de Rojas’ novel written entirely in dialogue is a classic of Spanish literature and is generally considered to mark the beginning of the Renaissance in Spanish letters. “Often considered the first European novel, La Celestina was profoundly influential in the development of European prose fiction and is valued by critics today as much for its greatness as literature as for its historical significance” (Encyclopedia of Literature, 222). The author Rojas was a converted Jewish lawyer about whom little else is known. La Celestina was originally published anonymously in 1499; only the 1500 second edition acknowledged Rojas as the author. After the death of renowned printer Christophe Plantin in 1589, his son-in-law, Jan Moretus, took over the firm. Moretus and his descendants continued to print many works of note, such as the present work, “in officina Plantiniana.” Printer’s woodcut device on title page. Text in Spanish. Salvá 1170. Palau 51164. Peeters-Fontainas 252. Bookplate. Occasional early ink marginalia.
Title page remargined along lower edge; skillful paper repairs to first two leaves of generally clean text. An extremely good copy of this 16th-century edition.