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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.

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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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«  Return Journeys  »

Reeding Lessons: the Henry Reed research blog

16.12.2017


Return Journeys

Did you know Henry Reed's play, Return to Naples, was part of the same radio series that produced Dylan Thomas's Return Journey to Swansea?

According to Peter Lewis, in his chapter on Dylan Thomas in British Radio Drama (Drakakis, ed., 1981), "The Radio Road to Llareggub," the feature series Return Journey consisted of twenty-four episodes broadcast on the Home Service and Third Programme between 1945 and 1951 (p. 92). In The Growth of Milk Wood (1961), Douglas Cleverdon says the series was originally devised by the BBC Features Department

in order to lure writers of distinction into the radio field; they were commissioned to return to their native town, or to some other place that had powerful associations for them, and to write a programme about it, in the form of a semi-autobiographical talk interspersed by dramatized flashbacks, extracts from journals, actual recordings—anything, in fact, that might illuminate the theme.
[p. 15]

Scanning the broadcasting schedules in The Times for those years finds these episodes:
  • Eric Linklater to the Orkneys (October 31, 1945)
  • John and Rosamond Lehmann on the Isle of Wight (April 13, 1946)
  • Palace Court, Bayswater, revisted by Sir Francis Meynell and Viola Meynell (September 2, 1946)
  • V.S. Pritchett, Return to the Fells (October 13, 1946)
  • Edward Sackville-West to Knole (April 9, 1947)
  • Dylan Thomas to Swansea (June 15, 1947)
  • Stevie Smith to Syler's Green (August 5, 1947)
  • Rayner Heppenstall to Strasbourg (September 16, 1948)
  • Sean O'Faoláin to Cork (November 20, 1948)
  • Christopher Sykes to Berlin (February 19, 1949)
  • Henry Reed, Return to Naples (August 17, 1950)
W.R. Rodgers apparently also wrote for Return Journey, though I can't find the title. Mountpottinger, Belfast, perhaps? Several programs were produced by Stephen Potter, and the series was originally conceived by R.D. "Reggie" Smith.

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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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