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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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«  Posts from 20 July 2010  »

Reeding Lessons: the Henry Reed research blog

23.10.2021


When I was looking up sources for my previous post on the breaking of Japanese naval codes at Bletchley Park, I stumbled upon an excerpt from a poem by Patrick Wilkinson (1907-1985), a Vice-Provost of King's College and Horace scholar, who had been part of the Italian Naval Section at Bletchley.

In the book Diplomacy and Intelligence During the Second World War: Essays in Honour of F.H. Hinsley (Langhorne, ed. Cambridge University Press, 2004), Christopher Andrew quotes a poem by Wilkinson, "The Other Side," which he describes as an "epic wartime poem" in which the denizens of Bletchley Park are "transformed into the heavenly host." The book is a collection of essays in honor of Harry Hinsley, who studied traffic analysis of German intercepts at Bletchley, was instrumental in the Allied effort to capture Enigma codebooks from enemy weather ships, and later became an historian of British wartime intelligence. Wilkinson wrote:
Wings of all colours from their shoulders grew
From ADCOCK-pink to heavenly LUCAS-blue,
A dazzling sight. On Mrs. EDWARDS' head
There beamed a halo of unearthly red;
STRACHEY'S was black and of stupendous size,
But for extension HINSLEY'S took the prize.
A footnote explains that "[Frank] Adcock had a very pink face; F.L. Lucas, another King's classicist, always wore a sky-blue jackets. Oliver Strachey, brother of Lytton and a founder member of GC & CS, wore a broad-brimmed black hat." (Apologies for the profusion of Wikipedia links in this post. I assure you, they are solely for my benefit, not yours!) "Mrs. Edwards" may be Professor Eve Edwards, in charge of the Japanese courses at the School of Oriental and African Studies during the war.

Aside from this one stanza, the only additional mention of the poem I can find is in a review of Hinsley and Stripp's Codebreakers (Oxford University Press, 1993), in which Noel Annan complains, "Why was not Patrick Wilkinson's droll account of the gaiety, the jokes, the scorn for the 'Other Side' — ie, the spy-masters — published?" Why indeed, when it would seem to be such a unique and colorful perspective of the staff and inner-workings of Bletchley?

I'm still looking for the "Ode to Colossus" mentioned in the General Report on Tunny, too.


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What is Henry Reed's first name?

1532. Vallette, Jacques. "Grand-Bretagne," Mercure de France, no. 1001 (1 January 1947): 157-158.
A contemporary French language review of Reed's A Map of Verona.



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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