The Fortunatus Icon

The first complete translation of the editio princeps (1509) into English.

Fortunatus meets the Goddess Fortuna in a wood in Brittany and is given a choice of wisdom, riches, strength, health, beauty and long life. The repercussions of his choice are felt most strongly after his death, and the ending is tragic. This is the central episode of an intriguing tale, composed by an author with a talent for creating a character with a few strokes. The work can be read and enjoyed, for the adventures that Fortunatus and then his elder son Andolosia experience in Flanders, London, Brittany, Ireland, Constantinople, Alexandria, Spain, Paris, and Cyprus; it can also be studied as a document of socio-historical relevance, as early modern travel literature, or as a text of penetrating psychological depth.

During the Renaissance it was translated into many languages, including an English version by ‘T.C.’ around 1610-15 and perhaps an earlier translation, prior to 1577. All of these versions were based on the Frankfurt group of Fortunatus texts, a revised, simplified and inferior edition of the Augsburg original. To my knowledge, there is no other complete translation of the editio princeps. The source text used for my translation was Hans-Gert Roloff’s Reclam 1981 edition.

Part I: Fortunatus

Part II: Andolosia

Fortunatus (with the original illustrations)

General Introduction

Translating Fortunatus

Illustrating the Text One: The Augsburg Woodcuts (1509)

Illustrating the Text Two: The Frankfurt Woodcuts