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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 16 September 2011  »

Reeding Lessons: the Henry Reed research blog

2.12.2021


Covering and recovering some old ground today, when up pops a short but pithy bio in this rare anthology: The Voice of Poetry, 1930-1950, edited by Hermann Peschmann (London: Evans Bros., 1950). The book includes Reed's "Naming of Parts," but Peschmann seems to have taken the time to personally poll his contributors for personal information:

Book cover

Reed, Henry. Born 1914 in Birmingham and educated there, inc. Birmingham Univ. Called up 1941, went to Foreign Office 1942—6. Since then whole-time writer—but says he is a slow worker. Broadcasts on books and films and enjoys writing radioscripts on extended themes, e.g. Moby Dick. Fond of films, theatre and opera, and of playing the piano badly and for long stretches of time. One verse book: A Map of Verona (1946).
[p. 239]

Peschmann was, for a time in the 1940s, a lecturer in English literature for the Adult Education Department of Goldsmith College, University of London, known as a critic and for his correspondence with Dylan Thomas and others.

This anthology was published in 1950, so Reed's BBC radio adaptation of Moby Dick (January, 1947), Pytheas: A Dramatic Speculation (May, 1947), and The Unblest: A Study of the Italian Poet Giacomo Leopardi (May, 1949) would have been his only features thus far. Reed's love of theatre (and actors), opera, and film are well-documented in his letters and book reviews, and he often lamented his meticulous, plodding writing process, but the fact that he played the piano, however poorly, is actually news to me.

This tiny tidbit is so heartbreakingly personal—paraphrased from a letter or questionnaire or phone call to Reed—it's tempting to try and track down a copy of the book.


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Notation for "The Voice of Poetry":
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What is Henry Reed's first name?

1532. Vallette, Jacques. "Grand-Bretagne," Mercure de France, no. 1001 (1 January 1947): 157-158.
A contemporary French language review of Reed's A Map of Verona.



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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