Hvítasunnubrúðhlaupin – Philip Larkin’s best known poem found to be based on previously lost Old Norse manuscript
The poet Philip Larkin might be said to have been the bard of modern Britain, narrating the post-war transition from a boasting, marauding Empire to a world of rickety consumer goods, stale cigarette smoke – and everywhere, the smell of mildew and rain on concrete. But startling new research has revealed that this most modern of poets apparently based his best known poem on a medieval manuscript. In fact, “The Whitsun Weddings”, published in 1964, is not an original composition at all but a translation of a much older work entitled Hvítasunnubrúðhlaupin.
Professor Kaj Kage of the Leyton Technical Institute identified the manuscript: “Every now and then my bookseller, Johnny Openhouse on Paradise Street, gives me a tip … ↪