BLTC Press Titles


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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll


The Characters of Theophrastus

Theophrastus


Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Hermenie Templeton Kavanagh


The Story of Doctor Dolittle

Hugh Lofting


Celestina

by Fernando de Rojas

Excerpt:

Mabbe had visited Spain. He was reserved in all that His Reticence

touches himself. His friendships can be divined only from

his dedications, and from the names of those who wrote

him laudatory verses; and with the exception of the

Celestina, all his publications are dedicated to some member

of the Strangwayes family.

The popularity of the Celestina is shown by the number The Celestina:

of editions in the original, and of translations in divers itsemies

. , , . , and Friends

tongues. A great thinker uke Vives might denounce it and

repent; the Inquisition might frown on it; a charlatan like

Cornelius Agrippa might join the hue-and-cry; Vanegas

de Busto might jape and dub it the Scelestina. But at

home and abroad its reputation grew until it rivalled the

Decamerone in favour. Whole pages of a catalogue might be

filled to overflowing with the names of stage arrangements,

versified versions, continuations—a Second, a Third, perhaps

a Fourth, Celestina—the work of Sedeflo, Urrea, Silva, a host

more. Sancho Minion's Lisandro y Roselia, one of the rarest

of books, is one of the best among imitations. Lope de Vega

condescended to exploit the Bawd in his Dorotea. Its

partisans did not lack courage. Urrea publicly dedicated

his fine version of the first act to his mother; and Ordonez,

boldly signing himself * Familiare della sanctita di nosiro

INTRO- 'signore iullo papa secondo? did the whole book into Italian DUCTION at the request of a great lady,' Madonna gentile? Feltria di Campo Fregoso. Clement Marot, as good a security as Bardolph, ironically goes bail for it:—

Or 5a, le livre de Flammette,

Formosutn pastor, Celestine,'

Tout cela est bonne doctrine

Et n'y a rien de deffendu.

Ilurado de Mendoza

Some Foreign Translators

Robert
Burton
-J

The famous soldier and diplomatist, Hurtado de Mendoza,
journeying as Ambassador to Rome, cut down his tra-
velling library to two books — the Amadis and the
Celestina. Bonaventure des Periers, in the sixteenth
tale of the Nouvelles Recreations et Joyeux Devis, completes
the list of his young Parisian's accomplishments by adding:
'Et avec cela il avoit leu Bocace et Celestine? The best
known of the French versions is that made from the Italian
by the Tourangeau Jacques de Lavardin, Sieur du Plessis-
Bourrot; and it seems certain that when Mabbe was in
difficulties he consulted Lavardin. Dutch and German
renderings were followed by Kaspar Barth's excellent
Latin translation, Pomoboscodidascalus Lat'mus, issued
with prolegomena, commentaries, all the bedizenments
of a Greek tragedy. 'Liber plane divinus,' says Earth
enthusiastically: unconsciously echoing the 'Libro en mi
opinion divi'—the phrase wherein Cervantes records his
verdict in the clipped verses which precede Don Quixote.
Robert Burton was plainly a fervent admirer, but though
it is hard to believe that he was ignorant of Spanish, he
seems to have read the Celestina in Latin only: he quotes it

for the first time in his third edition, issued in 1628, four INTROyears after the publication of Barth. Clearly there was DUCTION need for an Englishing of the book. As far back, probably, as 1530 a versified English adaptation of the Celestina was Carnifices anonymously published 'with a morall conclusion and A0?110* 'exhortacyon to vertew.' This wretched and lying piece of work fell dead on the town, and, like the first edition of the Spanish original, is believed to survive in one sole copy. On October 5,1598, William Aspley of * the Tigers Head in 'Saint Paul's Church-yard, afterward at the Parrot,' took out *, a licence to print'a book intituled The Tragicke Comedye 'of Celestina.' But it was never issued, and no more is heard of the book until February 27, 1630, when the following record was made in the Register of the Stationers' Company under the name of' Ralph Mabb,' our translator's brother: 'Entred of his copie under the handes of Sir Henry 'Herbert and Master Purfoote, A play Called The Spannish 'Bawde yjd.' In 1707 a dramatic arrangement in five acts, filched from Mabbe by John Savage, was published and forgotten. In the same year Captain John Stevens, a famous pirate and botcher of other men's work, did his worst ^ in a compilation called The Spanish Libertines. And as late" as fifty years ago Germond de Lavigne and Eduard von Biilow issued new translations, the one in French, the other in German, faithful and inglorious both. Published in Mabbe's 111 1631, Mabbe's work appeared at an unlucky moment. It was not that the king sought any more to ' put a hook in 'the nostrils of Spain': it was that the public interest had turned from letters to internal polities. As £maux et Camies almost perished in the crisis of the Coup cTj/Ztdt, so


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