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



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.
Cold Comfort Farm: Sensible Flora Poste moves in with her eccentric country relatives.




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  »

1508. Birmingham Post, Obituary for Henry Reed. 10 December 1986.
Reed's obituary in the Birmingham Post.

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  »

1507. Daily Telegraph, Obituary for Henry Reed. 10 December 1986.
Reed's obituary in the Telegraph.

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. Brontëan 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  »

1506. MacGregor-Hastie, Roy. "The Poet in His Workshop: No 4—The Great Unclassified." Arena 48 (March 1958): 10-13 [12-13].
MacGregor-Hastie shows great respect for Reed in this series on the state of poetry (but little regard for the poets of the 'Thirties).

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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