Last 23rd of May, the Spanish Post made available this stamp featuring the title-page of the Valencia, Joan Joffre, 1514 edition of Celestina. It celebrates the yearly Festival Celestina, which takes place every August since 1996 in La Puebla de Montalbán, and about which we have talked more than once in this blog (here, here, here and here).
According to the description available at the website, the heart-shaped lock represents the impossible love of Calisto and Melibea, while the colour choice (purple) is a reference to the importance of this colour in the Middle Ages.
This is not the first time Celestina appears on a stamp. In 1998, the Spanish Post also issued a stamp devoted to this work.
Today, the 28th of March 2015, the subscribers of the Mediber mailing-list received a sad annoucement: Joseph Thomas Snow had died. The commotion lasted only about twenty minutes, until Joseph Snow himself replied to the mailing-list stating, with a great sense of humour, that the rumours of his death had been greatly exaggerated.
Where did the news come from then? Apparently, an obituary for another Joseph Snow –this one Joseph A. Snow– appeared on the 5th of March 2015 in The Augusta Chronicle and assumptions were made too hastily; “our” Joseph Snow being such an important figure in the celestinesque community.
What I find more disturbing about this anecdote is that, while searching for the obituary source of this misunderstanding, I discovered that a man also named Joseph Thomas Snow, and also addressed to as “Joe”, died in 2011, so that if you enter “Joseph T. Snow” + “obituary” in Google –Google’s personalised search notwithstanding– the very first result is precisely the 2011 obituary of “the other” Joseph T. Snow. The world is full of coincidences.
After having recognised having been taken for Santa more than once in a past interview for the BNE’S blog, it seems that the well-known “celestinista” Joseph Snow has taken his resemblance a step further. If you do not believe me, have a look at the following video:
When:11th and 18th march 201, 19:00-20:30.
Where: Casa del Lector. Paseo de la Chopera, 10. Madrid.
Background knowledge needed: Medium. Open to everyone.
Registration fee: 25€
Session run by Soledad Puértolas. More information at the event website.
Christmas season is a time for feasting and, as such, I find it appropriate to write about the restaurant called La Celestina in Madrid. Obviously, I am not interested in its homemade traditional food, but on its choice of name and, above all, on its choice of image for its card.
Instead of using any of the available Celestina‘s illustrations, the picture on the card corresponds to a detail in the 1891 painting “Patronage of the Arts by the House of Habsburg” by Julius Victor Berger (Kunsthistorisches Museum of Vienna). In it, the empress reads a document, presumably a letter, which a servant lady (?) also reads over her shoulder.
The interesting bit about this choice of image is that, deprived from its context, Isabella of Portugal is irremediably identified with Melibea and the servant lady is identified with the go-between, although there is no letter reading scene in Celestina. In my opinion, this is only possible because both figures correspond to the traditional mental image of a fifteenth century lady and of a fifteenth century older woman. However, this does not fully explain why this was the image chosen for the card. Were there not enough fifteenth and sixteenth century portraits to have to resort to a nineteenth century painting? Not enough illustrated editions of Celestina?
It would be worth asking the owners of the restaurant. Maybe the next time I am in Madrid.