The late medieval tale by Fernando de Rojas takes a cynical view of courtly love. The story of the young aristocratic lovers is complicated by the interventions of the old prostitute Celestina. This edition is an Italian translation, published in 1519.
William Painter, a translator and civil servant, published this first volume of stories in 1566 adapting accounts from Classical and continental authors. His narratives were very popular as sources among English authors with Webster finding the plot for The Duchess of Malfi and Shakepeare using details for his poem on Lucretia.
Painter published a second, longer volume of stories in 1567. The two volumes were republished in 1575 and dedicated to the earl of Warwick. The books were widely read but also criticized. The scholar Roger Ascham wrote in The Scholemaster about the moral dangers such translations of Italian ideas presented for the English.