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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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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.


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«  Posts from 25 June 2005  »

Reeding Lessons: the Henry Reed research blog

18.12.2017


I have a 1964 Roget's Thesaurus which I treasure above most of my wordly possessions. If the apartment were on fire, I'd toss the cat out the screendoor, and stuff the Roget's down my pants before I started grabbing valuables. ("Is that a thesaurus in your pants, or are you just happy to see me?") When I was in high school, the book gravitated toward my room, ending up there whenever I was hammering out a term paper the night before it was due, and it was one of the "house books" I took with me when I moved out (along with the complete Encyclopaedia Britannica, and the Durant's Story of Civilization). I claimed ownership by right of eminent domain. Sometimes, the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many. Besides, the bookplate in the front of the Roget's is in my father's name: after the divorce, I had every right to claim it in his name.

I've looked at the new-fangled thesauri they hawk in bookstores these days. None can compete with this 40-year-old concordance for thoroughness, ease of use, or vocabulary. At 552 pages, I don't even need to keep a dictionary handy: almost everything is right here, at my fingertips (unless Scrabble is being played, which requires the big Random House, unabridged). As a matter of fact, I use the Roget's as a sort of portable writing desk when I'm writing on the couch. But for looking up definitions of uncommon and infrequently-seen words, I'd have to go with the Oxford Dictionary of Difficult Words. But then, I'm a bit of a wordsnob (I still lose at Scrabble, though).

As far as dictionaries are concerned, I have a simple rule of thumb I apply when shopping: the callipygous porphyry test. If a dictionary isn't large enough or complete enough to contain the words callypygous and porphyry, then it isn't worth its weight.


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Notation for "Books, and Eminent Domain":
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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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