birds mating on February 14th, Ellesmere manuscript, enluminures, Geoffrey Chaucer, Gutenberg, incunabula, The Parlement of Foules, William Caxton
Geoffrey Chaucer and St Valentine’s Day.
As we know, Valentine’s Day was not a romantic day until Chaucer made it so. In The Parlement of Foules (1382), Chaucer wrote
For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.
[“For this was Saint Valentine’s Day when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.”]
The above illumination is from one of the 86 manuscripts of The Canterbury Tales, the Ellesmere manuscript. Included among these 86 manuscripts is William Caxton’s printing of the Tales, one of the earliest printed books: 1478. Very early printed works, published between 1450 to 1501, are called incunables.
Johannes Gutenberg (1398 – February 3, 1468) is considered the first printer (c. 1439). Early printers, printers of incunables, sometimes left blank spaces where enluminures or illuminations were inserted. Historiated (see below) first letters are quite common in incunables.
John Dowland‘s “Goe from my window”
© Micheline Walker14 February 2012WordPress
VIKRAM ROY said:
Nice post! Specially for such a special occasion… Dowland’s music is too nice!
Thank you Vikram. Dowland is marvellous!