About:

Documenting the quest to track down everything written by (and written about) the poet, translator, critic, and radio dramatist, Henry Reed.

An obsessive, armchair attempt to assemble a comprehensive bibliography, not just for the work of a poet, but for his entire life.

Read "Naming of Parts."

Henry Reed Henry Reed
Henry Reed Henry Reed
Henry Reed, ca. 1960


Contact:


Reeding:

I Capture the Castle: A girl and her family struggle to make ends meet in an old English castle.
Dusty Answer: Young, privileged, earnest Judith falls in love with the family next door.
The Heat of the Day: In wartime London, a woman finds herself caught between two men.


Elsewhere:

Books

Libraries

Weblogs, etc.


Posts from October 2016

Reeding Lessons: the Henry Reed research blog

26.9.2017


Kidding and Tribute

Two videos have appeared, with former poet laureate Robert Pinksy using Henry Reed's famous parody of T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets as a teaching tool, in Boston University's Art of Poetry Video Repository.

In the first, Pinsky delivers an excellent reading of "Chard Whitlow" (written by Henry Reed in 1941 and subtitled "Mr. Eliot's Sunday Evening Postscript," after this poem), and then compares it with a selection from Eliot's "East Coker":


Followed up with this conversation with some first-time Reed (and Eliot) readers:


Pinsky's point being that effective parody is more than just kidding around: it can help the reader appreciate or even understand the source material better. "Chard Whitlow" is possibly the best example of this, because it can be backed up with Eliot's own statement (also read by Mr. Pinksy):

Most parodies of one's own work strike one as very poor. In fact, one is apt to think one could parody oneself much better. (As a matter of fact, some critics have said that I have done so.) But there is one which deserves the success it has had, Henry Reed's "Chard Whitlow."

Eliot's quote first appeared as a blurb for Reed's tribute in Dwight Macdonald's anthology, Parodies: An Anthology from Chaucer to Beerbohm—and After (New York: Random House, 1960).

There's much, much more to be found on the Art of Poetry's YouTube page.



1513. Hodge, Alan. "Thunder on the Right." Tribune (London), 14 June 1946, 15.
Hodge finds 'dry charm as well as quiet wit' in "Judging Distances," but overall feels Reed is 'diffuse and not sufficiently accomplished.'


British Library Manuscripts

Some new finds in the British Library Archives & Manuscripts catalogue:

Alvarez Papers. Vol. cxxiv. Add MS 88605: 1951-1989, "Henry Reed; n.d. Poems only (3)."

Cockerell Papers. Vol. CXXIII. Add MS 52745: 1888-1961, "Henry Reed, broadcaster: Letter to S[ydney]. C. Cockerell: 1955" (this one we had in the bibliography already, thankfully!).

Correspondence of Reinhardt and Potter. Add MS 88987/2/104: 1953-1954, "Henry Read [sic] (to him)" (regarding Potter's 1964 Sense of Humour anthology).

Dramatic Verse. Add MS 88984/6/34: 1963, "Contains correspondence and papers relating to a Festival session of specially commissioned dramatic verse. Includes correspondence with Ted Hughes, Christopher Logue, Henry Reed, Vernon Scannell, and Michael Baldwin."

Lutyens Collection. Vol. cclxxxv. Add MS 64719: 1949-1963, "'Canterbury' (Henry Reed); n.d. (ff. 32-54). 320 x 250mm."

Lutyens Collection. Vol. cccv. Add MS 64739: 1953-1964, "'Westminster Abbey' (Henry Reed); [1953]. (ff. 7-36). 370 x 255mm."

Reed, Henry. Add MS 88908/8/6/5: 1948, "Reed to Tambimuttu (manuscript, Cyprus, 21 April, 1948), declining, without 'the books that might help me' and unable to 'squeeze an appropriate verse or two out of my head'" (Part of T.S. Eliot: A Symposium: Correspondence and Original Materials).

This last is another heartbreaking no-show; a result of Reed's seemingly endless writer's block.



1512. Reed, Henry. "The Case for Maigret." Reviews of Maigret Hesitates and The Man on the Bench in the Barn, by Georges Simenon. Sunday Times (London), 2 August 1970: 22.
Reed reviews two translations of George Simenon's fiction.


A Henry Reed Season

This week marks the 70th anniversary of the BBC's Third Programme, which broadcast from September 29, 1946 until April, 1970, when it was replaced by BBC Radio 3. Too short a season.

Radio 3 is running 70 days of celebrations to mark the anniversary, including "Three Score and Ten," 50 episodes of poets reading from their work and others, a play(!) dramatizing the start of the Programme, "The Present Experiment," as well as rebroadcasts of Humphrey Carpenter's 1996 history, "The Envy of the World." Henry Reed's Hilda Tablet plays are mentioned in episode two of Carpenter's documentary, "Rudely Truncated."

Andy Walmsley is doing a much better job of covering the anniversary over at Random Radio Jottings. For my part, I thought I would bring out this summation of Henry Reed's early contributions to the Third Programme by Douglas Cleverdon, published in the Radio Times on April 1, 1955: "A Henry Reed Season," billing a series of repeat Reed programmes from the first half of the 1950s:

Radio Times cover

A Henry Reed Season

Any young author who aspires to write for radio cannot do better than study the various programmes Henry Reed has written.'

DOUGLAS CLEVERDON, who has produced many of them, introduces the series of revivals beginning in the Third Programme this week

MILLIONS of regular fans look forward to Take It From Here, The Archers, The Goon Show; a very much smaller number of listeners tune in with an even more fervent devotion to any programme written by Henry Reed. For Henry Reed is that rarest of birds, the creative writer who finds in radio his most fruitful medium of expression.

His reputation as a poet was founded on a single volume published nearly ten years ago—A Map of Verona. His only other book is his broadcast version of Moby Dick. His contributions to radio, however, consist of about thirty scripts and seventy talks. Such talks as Towards 'The Cocktail Party' have revealed his critical insight: and the incisive comments he was accustomed to make as a member of 'The Critics' proved his fearlessness in judgment.

But it is principally through the scripts written for the BBC Features Department that he has secured his increasingly appreciative audience. His first work, broadcast from the Midland studios, was a jeu d'esprit on Noises. Then, in January 1947, came his first major work for broadcasting, a radio play based on Herman Melville's Moby Dick, with linking narration in verse a recording of the second production (with Sir Ralph Richardson as Captain Ahab) will be broadcast on April 29. Pytheas (May 1947) was followed in 1949 by The Unblest and The Monument, two dramatic studies in verse of the Italian poet Leopardi, a recording of the 1950 production of The Unblest will be broadcast on April 15.

The Inspiration of Italy

The love of Italy seems to be a permanent element in the English literary tradition; and in Return to Naples (to be re-broadcast on April 5), Henry Reed nostalgically recalled a series of visits to a family in Naples before and after the war. For this autobiographical piece he evolved a simple but elegant variation of the usual radio narration, causing the narrator to address not the listener, but the author himself. A By-Election in the 'Nineties (1951: to be repeated on April 11) was a purely comic documentary, based on contemporary newspaper reports of a Dorset by-election.

Then followed two more programmes on Italian themes: The Streets of Pompeii, which was awarded the Radio Italiana prize for 1953 (a new production will be broadcast on April 22); and The Great Desire I Had, based upon the fancy that towards the end of the sixteenth century Shakespeare visited Italy and fell in with the players of the Commedia dell' Arte.

Then followed the group of satirical comedies, A Very Great Man Indeed, The Private Life of Hilda Tablet, and Emily Butter, with their highly sophisticated wit and exuberant characterisations. As all three have been broadcast fairly recently, none will be repeated during the coming weeks; but many listeners hope that they will form part of the Third Programme's regular repertoire. Henry Reed's latest work, Vincenzo, was broadcast last week as a precursor to the present series of repeats.
I wish I knew where that quote from Douglas Cleverdon used as the epigraph comes from.



1511. William Phillips, and Philip Rahv, eds. New Partisan Reader: 1945-1953 London: Andre Deutsch, 1953. 164-171.
Collects Reed's poem, "The Door and the Window," published in the Partisan Review in 1947.



1st lesson:

Reed, Henry (1914-1986). Born: Birmingham, England, 22 February 1914; died: London, 8 December 1986.

Education: MA, University of Birmingham, 1936. Served: RAOC, 1941-42; Foreign Office, Bletchley Park, 1942-1945. Freelance writer: BBC Features Department, 1945-1980.

Author of: A Map of Verona: Poems (1946)
The Novel Since 1939 (1946)
Moby Dick: A Play for Radio from Herman Melville's Novel (1947)
Lessons of the War (1970)
Hilda Tablet and Others: Four Pieces for Radio (1971)
The Streets of Pompeii and Other Plays for Radio (1971)
Collected Poems (1991, 2007)
The Auction Sale (2006)


Search:



LibraryThing


Recent tags:


Posts of note:



Archives:


Marginalia: