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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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Reeding Lessons: the Henry Reed research blog

11.12.2017


Buzzati's Bears

"Once upon a time, in the ancient mountains of Sicily, two hunters captured the bear-cub Tony, son of Leander, King of the Bears."
Book cover

Dino Buzzati was an Italian journalist and painter, who wrote fantastic, experimental stories, plays, and novels of magical realism (Buzzati's Wikipedia entry). While looking for information on the artist, I came across a children's book Buzzati wrote and illustrated in 1945, La famosa invasione degli orsi in Sicilia: The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily (publisher's webpage). Lemony Snicket, author of A Series of Unfortunate Events, has written an introduction for the current edition:

The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily is one of the noblest books I know. At once a philosophical history and tragic inquiry, the tale also contains a magic wand, a haunted castle, and a giant sea serpent, which automatically make any story much more interesting. Little wonder that it is not only my favorite book, but Daniel Handler's as well.

Lemony Snicket is, of course, Daniel Handler's nom de plume. Here's a two-page spread of Buzzati's story and illustrations, or you can take a peek "Inside the Book" at Amazon.com. Buzzati's illustrating style is sleek and modern, and it looks great, reminiscent of both H. A. Rey and the Curious George books, and Keith Haring.

So, why all this interest in Buzzati? In November of 1961, the BBC Third Programme broadcast Henry Reed's translation of Buzzati's play, A Hospital Case, featuring the actors Tom Watson, John Graham, and Mary O'Farrell.

Reed would later translate Buzzati's novel, Il Grande Ritratto, as Larger Than Life (London: Secker & Warburg, 1962, and New York: Walker, 1967). The novel is about the creation of an artificial intelligence, a super-computer endowed with both human senses and personality, a classic of science fiction. Reed adapted his translation for radio in 1965, as the play Zone 36.

«  Buzzati Children SciFi  0  »


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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