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



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.




Weblogs, etc.

Posts from August 2007

Reeding Lessons: the Henry Reed research blog


Words and Music

Last Sunday, BBC Radio Three's Words and Music featured an episode with the theme of "Authority," including the "authority of armies and the law":

'The March to The Scaffold from Berlioz' 'Symphony Fantastique' is played in Liszt's piano transcription, over a reading from George Luis Borges amazing short story of a man, on the point of being executed, given the gift of a year of frozen time from God. Armies feature next, starting with Benjamin Britten's imperious War Requiem where the quiet, cruel words of Wilfred Owen are set against a grand and deliberately overbearing setting of the Latin Mass. Henry Reed's Second World War poem, 'Naming of Parts' follows, and we hear the final movement of Respighi's 'Pines of Rome', the Apennine Way, where scores of Roman Legions can be heard marching back to the Eternal City. From Joseph Heller's Catch 22 we move on to political power, with 'poems' by Donald Rumsfeld, and satire from Swift. Margaret Thatcher is the narrator in Copland's Lincoln Portrait, and we witness JS Bach encountering Frederick The Great of Prussia, offering a fawning dedication to him at the start of his 'Musical Offering' but slyly presenting the Emperor with fiendishly difficult music.

"Naming of Parts" is read enthusiastically by the actor Henry Goodman, and appears at about 19:54 (as I listen: YMMV. The playlist has it at 22:46). If you should care to Listen Again (RealPlayer), the August 19th, 2007 program should be available through next weekend.

«  NamingOfParts Radio  0  »

1525. "Reed, Henry," Publishers Weekly, 152, no. 15 (11 October 1947), 1945.
On the publication of the American edition of Reed's A Map of Verona: 'Some of these poems by a young English writer are concerned with the war but most of them deal with figures from the legendary past or from literature.'

Duelling Accents

Here's a linguistic experiment conceived by our friend and counterpart, the Webrarian. It's Reed's "Naming of Parts" being read as a duet of sorts. The parts in the voice of the Sergeant-Instructor have been re-recorded in an Essex accent, while the voice of the Private is the original recording, read by Reed himself:

«  NamingOfParts Audio  1  »

1524. Reed, Henry. Letters to Graham Greene, 1947-1948. Graham Greene Papers, 1807-1999. Boston College, John J. Burns Library, Archives and Manuscripts Department, MS.1995.003. Chestnut Hill, MA.
Letters from Reed to Graham Greene, including one from December, 1947 Reed included in an inscribed copy of A Map of Verona (1947).

Authorial Adjectives

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then to have been imitated enough to warrant having your name turned into an adjective must be an embarrassment of riches.

I came across this article this evening, "Adjectives and the Work of Modernism in an Age of Celebrity" (Project Muse) by Aaron Jaffe, which contains a partial list of authors whose names have been adjectivified, and entered popular use. To these, I would add the term "Reedsh", coined by Kingsley Amis in 1949 to apologize for sounding too much like Henry Reed.

Let's create a full list. What are some other authorial adjectives? (Must be in the O.E.D. to qualify!)
  • Aeschylean
  • Æsopic
  • Aristophanic
  • Arnoldian
  • Audenesque
  • Austenian
  • Balzacian
  • Baudelairean (or Baudelairian)
  • Blakean
  • Borrovian
  • Brechtian
  • Brontëan
  • Browningesque
  • Bunyanesque
  • Burnsian
  • Byronic
  • Carrollese (or Carrollian, or Carrolline)
  • Cervantic
  • Chattertonian
  • Chaucerian
  • Chestertonian
  • Chekhovian
  • Coleridgian
  • Conradian
  • Dickensian
  • Drydenian
  • Eliotian
  • Emersonian
  • Euripidean
  • Faulknerian
  • Firbankian
  • Flaubertian
  • Galsworthian
  • Gibbonian
  • Hardyan (or Hardian)
  • Hemingwayan (or Hemingwayesque)
  • Homeric
  • Huxleyan
  • Ibsenian (or Ibsenite)
  • Jamesian
  • Johnsonian
  • Joycean
  • Kafkaesque
  • Keatsian
  • Kiplingesque (or Kiplingish, or Kiplingite)
  • Larkinite
  • Lawrentian
  • Leavisian
  • Leveresque (or Leverish)
  • Lucianesque (also Lucianic, or Lucianical)
  • Malorian
  • Marlovian
  • Maughamesque
  • Melvillean
  • Menckenian
  • Meredithian
  • Miltonic
  • Molièresque
  • Montaignesque (or Montaignian)
  • Murdochian
  • Nabokovian
  • Orwellian
  • Paterian
  • Petrarchan
  • Pindaric
  • Popean
  • Poundian
  • Proustian
  • Ruskinian
  • Sapphic
  • Shakespearean
  • Shavian
  • Shelleyan
  • Sitwellian
  • Spenserian
  • Swiftian
  • Twainian
  • Waughian
  • Wellsian
  • Wildean
  • Woolfian
  • Wordsworthian
  • Yeatsian
Ibsenite could be some dim, carbon-like mineral, I imagine. A Firbankian is obviously a resident of Firbanks, AK. BrontŽan reminds me of some extinct race of malformed giants. Lawrentian: the name of some unplumbed undersea abyss.

(Special thanks to I Witness, for adjecting!)

«  Authors Dictionary  1  »

1523. Reed, Henry. "Simenon's Saga." Review of Pedigree by Georges Simenon, translated by Robert Baldick. Sunday Telegraph (London), 12 August 1962, 7.
Reed calls Pedigree a work for the "very serious Simenon student only," and disagrees with the translator's choice to put the novel into the past tense.

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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