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.




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«  Posts from 26 January 2006  »

Reeding Lessons: the Henry Reed research blog


And the winner is... David Jones, ladies and gentlemen!

It was two years ago this month that I first wrote the code which enabled me to display the Reed bibliography on the web. The code is a heinous mish-mosh of ifelse loops, created to display records in some semblance of order by author, title and date. As it has grown, the database has become less and less useful, at least to those unschooled in the esoteric skill of Ctrl>F or Edit>Find in This Page.

Tonight, I am celebrating the input of the 1,000th record into the bibliography. Entries from the bibliography, you may have observed, are framed in gray boxes between posts in this blog. If you watch closely, you'll be able to see them roll over from nine hundred ninety-nine to one thousand, just like watching an odometer. I'm celebrating this achievement with a lovely red wine from the vineyards of Spain, and after two glasses I am absolutely in no shape for data entry.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that, while this is the 1,000th entry, it is not the 1,000th record. I have deleted about fifty-odd duplications or books which eventually turned out to not actually mention Reed. So it's really the 947th record.)

This evening, I went to a lecture on ancient libraries, given by Professor George W. Houston. The lecture room was standing-room only: apparently, the Roman Civilizations professor was offering extra credit for attending. So, squashed between row upon row of sophomores, I sat and listened about Herculaneum's Villa of the Papyri, Oxyrhynchus' town dump, and the library in the Temple of Trajan.

Professor Houston's presentation was billed as "A User's Guide" to libraries in the Roman world. He has been attempting to discover how private and public libraries functioned in regard to their users in the ancient world, through scant evidence left in fragments of papyrus scrolls and codices. On the handout provided, Houston provided a translation of an inscription found in the Agora of Athens, pertaining to the Library of Pantainos (2nd-century, A.D.):
No book shall be taken out, for we have sworn an oath. Open from the first hour to the sixth.
Those, the Professor stressed, are the only official library regulations surviving from the ancient world.

After the lecture, I actually popped over to the library, since they had emailed me earlier that the book I had requested from offsite storage was ready and waiting. The book was Epoch and Artist: Selected Writings by David Jones (Grisewood, ed., 1959). It seems all the books I need are in offsite storage, these days. I opened it with no expectation of finding anything related to Reed, and after glancing at the title page and copyright, turned to the index. There it was: an entry for "Reed, Henry, 278-79." The indicated pages turned out to be a reprint of a letter to the editor Jones wrote to The Listener in 1953, in response to Reed's essay, "If and Perhaps and But."

"If and Perhaps and But" is a review of T.S. Eliot's critical prose in which Reed argues that, sometime between the early 1920s and 1950s, "something happened whereby it is now possible for the poet to implement a 'formal artistic discipline derived from the outside'" (Jones quoting Reed). Mr. Jones goes on for three paragraphs requesting an elaboration because, apparently, he cannot for the life of him figure out what "something" Reed is talking about.

Neither can I, for that matter, as I have yet to track down a copy of that particular Listener. Regardless, David Jones has the distinction of being the 1,000th record entered into the bibliography. And the 1,001st, too, since thoroughness dictates that I must cite the original letter as well as the reprint! Thank you, Mr. Jones!

Add Notation:


Notation for "One Thousandth Entry":
Allowed: <a> <em> <strong>
What is Henry Reed's first name?

1530. Radio Times. Billing for "The Book of My Childhood." 19 January 1951, 32.
Scheduled on BBC Midland from 8:15-8:30, an autobiographical(?) programme from Henry Reed.

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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