The Literary Origins of Valentine’s Day

You were wondering, weren’t you?

Interesting Literature

Did Geoffrey Chaucer invent Valentine’s Day? Yes and no.

St Valentine’s Day has been marked in liturgical calendars for centuries. As a Christian feast day, Valentine’s Day actually commemorates two Saint Valentines: Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni. (The Catholic Encyclopedia even speaks of a third Saint Valentine, who was martyred in Africa, but little else is known about him.)

Chaucer1But Valentine’s Day only became associated with romantic love during the late fourteenth century, when Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1343-1400), author of The Canterbury Tales, made the association in his poem ‘The Parlement of Foules’, written some time in the 1380s, possibly in 1382. The poem features a parliament, or assembly, of birds, which have gathered together in order to choose their mates. As Chaucer’s narrator remarks, ‘For this was on seynt Volantynys day / Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.’ However, several of Chaucer’s contemporaries also wrote poems…

View original post 271 more words

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under books, Holidays

3 responses to “The Literary Origins of Valentine’s Day

  1. dezertsuz

    I had read about this poem recently, but it wasn’t in the Chaucer I studied in English lit. How interesting that you delved deeper and found this information, then shared it. Thanks!

  2. Cher

    how fun to learn more about this “holiday” so to speak..thanks

Conversation is good, so please join in. I'll reply here if it seems relevant to others, by email, or by visiting your blog.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s