Red Hearts and Roses?

Welsh Valentine Songs and Poems

Author(s) Rhiannon Ifans

Language: English

Genre(s): Welsh Interest

  • January 2019 · 368 pages ·216x138mm

  • · Paperback - 9781786833716
  • · eBook - pdf - 9781786833723
  • · eBook - epub - 9781786833730

About The Book

Who was Saint Valentine, the saint who gave his name to the festival of lovers? Where do red hearts and roses fit in? Or do they? This volume addresses these questions, but focuses more specifically on the previously unpublished Welsh poetry written over the centuries on the feast day of Saint Valentine in mid- February, the one saint’s day in the Christian calendar of saints that does not depend on the Church for its celebration. Far from resembling anything else on offer in any other part of the UK, these Welsh songs are lyrical, expressive, and often in cynghanedd. This volume analyses this rich collection of extant Welsh Saint Valentine’s Day poems, and advances a new understanding of societal propriety in settings where citizens paid great attention to tradition. In so doing, it offers new insights into the tradition of observing Saint Valentine’s Day in Wales and, indeed, argues that although it is the fifth-century Dwynwen who is today considered to be the patron saint of Welsh lovers, Saint Valentine also handed out aid and sympathy to lovers in Wales over many centuries.

To read Rhiannon Ifans article on her volume, visit Parallel.Cymru website


‘One must warmly welcome a volume by a scholar who is now established as the foremost authority on this particular genre of native verse. And it is doubly gratifying to find our vibrant tradition of Valentine song being introduced here to readers beyond the bounds of Welsh-language culture itself.’’
-Roy Saer, Welsh Folk-Song Society

‘The art of composing, singing and sending Valentine verses is an old and honoured one. This detailed, scholarly analysis of a fine Welsh custom, with translations and tunes provided, reveals the significant part it has played in our folk tradition over the centuries.’
-Rhidian Griffiths

'This most attractively produced volume, a real credit to the University of Wales Press, reflects a vast amount of pioneering, highly specialized research work clearly extending over many years. The distinguished author devotes her attention to the corpus of, largely previously unpublished Welsh poetry written to celebrate the feast of St Valentine celebrated annually for several centuries on 14 February.'
- J. Graham Jones, Gwales

About the Author(s)

Author(s): Rhiannon Ifans

Rhiannon Ifans is retired Dyson Fellow in the Faculty of Humanities and Performing Arts, University of Wales Trinity Saint David. She is General Secretary of the Welsh Folk Song Society, and editor of the annual journal Canu Gwerin / Folk Song.

Read more


Enjoy 50% off selected titles until 29 February!