Posted on February 14, 2020 at 9:53 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

William Shakespeare has a way of hogging the English literary and linguistic spotlight.

But when it comes to Valentine’s Day, we can only credit him with continuing a tradition, not creating it.

That credit (or blame) goes to poet Geoffrey Chaucer.

Emily Temple took a look at how we decided February 14 was a day for lovers over at Literary Hub.

It starts, yes, with three martyrs named Valentinus dying on February 14 and with over thirty folks with that name becoming saints (though none of them seemed to have associations with love or courtship).

That essential connection is made by Chaucer in his poem “The Parliament of Fowls,” which declares Valentine’s Day (February 14) as being the day that birds chose their mates.

Read more about how Chaucer’s creativity caught on and snowballed into what so many of us deride as a Hallmark holiday in Lit Hub.

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Categories: Today in Books

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