- Rojas, Fernando de
- (ca. 1475-1541)Spanish dramatist. Born in the province of Toledo to a converso family, he studied law and en-countered humanist influences at the University of Salamanca, grad-uating about 1499. Shortly before his graduation, he published a play, Comedia de Calisto y Melibea, which he claimed to be his own con-tinuation of an anonymous work but probably was entirely his own creation. It was so popular that about 1502 he added five new acts, bringing the total to 21, calling it a Tragicomedia instead of a Come-dia. In its new form, it continued to be popular. Because the action revolves mainly around the character of Celestina, an aging prostitute who acts as go-between in the sexual intrigue that stands at the cen-ter of the plot, it has long been known as La Celestina. The play pres-ents a bleak picture of a corrupt, greedy, and hypocritical society, di-recting its barbs against the traditional aristocracy, the newly rich middle class, and the lower classes. After completing the expanded version, Rojas worked as a jurist, serving as mayor of Talavera de la Reina, where he spent the rest of his life and never produced another literary work. La Celestina was rapidly and widely translated into most western European vernaculars and even into Hebrew and Latin and is usually ranked as one of the masterpieces of Spanish Renais-sance literature.
Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. Charles G. Nauert. 2004.