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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."

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Henry Reed, ca. 1960


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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.


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«  Posts from 14 September 2005  »

Reeding Lessons: the Henry Reed research blog

11.12.2017


One thing which irks me to no end is a sort of misinformed deja vu I experience when I find myself staring at a page I must have looked at months or years before, and realize I had discovered ages ago that it was a dead end or misquote or incorrect citation. I probably tore up my colored index card in disgust, only to be tricked again at a later date. So rather than dedicating another drawer of the card catalog solely to "Erratum," I thought I would edit this space each time I find someone mistaken or something misleading.

Alexander, Harriet S., comp. American and British Poetry: A Guide to the Criticism. Athens, Ohio : Swallow Press, 1984. 320.

Mistakenly places "Naming of Parts" under the entry for Herbert Read.

Beggs, James S. The Poetic Character of Henry Reed. Hull, England: University of Hull Press, 1999. 144. "Privately, Thomas had chastised Henry Treece's 'ridiculous overpraise of Reed' and labelled most of Reed's poetry 'dull' (Letters 223)."

Dylan Thomas (and Henry Treece) is actually referring to Herbert Read.

Cleverdon, Douglas. Obituary for Henry Reed. Independent (London). December 11, 1986. "'Vincenzo', in 1950, presented the life Vincenzo Gonzaga in a dramatised form...."

Reed's radio play, Vincenzo, was first broadcast in 1955.

Gunter, Liz and Jim Linebarger. "Tone and Voice in Henry Reed's 'Judging Distance'." Notes on Contemporary Literature 8, no. 2 (March 1988): 9.

An unfortunate typographic error leaves the "s" off the end of "Judging Distances."

Hamilton, Ian. "Henry Reed." In Against Oblivion: Some Lives of the Twentieth-Century Poets. London: Viking, 2002. 216.

Hamilton, of all people, refers to the "Lessons of the War" sequence as "Lessons of War."

Kermode, Frank. "Part and Pasture." London Review of Books, 5 December 1991, 17. "[T]he epigraph to 'Lessons of the War' vixi puellis nuper idoneus/et militavi non sine gloria substitutes puellis, 'girls', for Horace's duellis, 'wars'."

Horace spoke of 'puellis' (girls), and Reed substituted 'duellis' (battles), not the other way around. Here's Ode III:26 in English, and Latin.

"Catherine Carver, who sorted out the heaps of drafts, clippings and corrections left by the poet...."

Correct spelling is "Catharine" Carver.

Marcus, Laura, and Peter Nicholls, eds. The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century English Literature. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2005. 479. "For those who tuned in, radio now disseminated avant-gardism much more widely than fringe theatres, premiering Henry Reed's influential translations of Brecht."

Either the editors meant Betti instead of Brecht, or they have the wrong translator.

O'Toole, Michael. "Henry Reed and What Follows the 'Naming of Parts'." In Functions of Style, edited by Davis Birch and Michael O'Toole. London: Pinter Publishers, 1988. 13.

The entirety of "Naming of Parts" is presented in this chapter, but the author leaves out the all-important "the" from "Lessons of the War."

Patey, Douglas Lane. The Life of Evelyn Waugh: A Critical Biography. Oxford: Blackwell, 1998. 290, 399n.

Patey quotes Reed's 1950 review of Waugh's Helena, but incorrectly cites the article as "30 Sept. 1950, 515." The review was actually published November 9th.

Peacock, Scot, ed. "Henry Reed 1914-1986." In vol. 78, Contemporary Authors. New Revision Series. Detroit: Gale Group, 1999. 410. "Reed began writing while a student at Birmingham University, where his circle of friends included writers W. H. Auden, Walter Allen, and Louis MacNeice."

Auden was seven years Reed's senior, and went to Christ Church, Oxford, not the University of Birmingham. Auden's father was Professor of Public Health at the the University, and it's entirely possible that Reed may have met Auden when he visited. But to call them 'friends' is probably an exaggeration.

Tolley, A.T. The Poetry of the Forties. Manchester, England: Manchester University Press, 1985. 48, 209.

Tolley refers to "Lessons of the War" as "Lessons of War," no less than twice.

Wakeman, John, ed. "Reed, Henry." In World Authors, 1950-1970. New York: H.W. Wilson, 1975. 1199. "[Reed] has published a number of prose translations, notably of Flaubert."

It's likely the author of this article is confusing Reed's translations of Balzac's novels, as I can find no evidence he ever published any translations of Flaubert.

Wolosky, Shira. The Art of Poetry: How to Read a Poem. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001. 8-10, 18-19, 172..

Repeatedly refers to "Naming of Parts" as "Today We Have Naming of Parts."


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What is Henry Reed's first name?

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.'



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)


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