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
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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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«  As I Was Walking Down Bristol Street  »

Reeding Lessons: the Henry Reed research blog


As I Was Walking Down Bristol Street

At long last — and long sought-after — David Lodge's 1983 documentary on Birmingham writers in the 1930s, "As I Was Walking Down Bristol Street," is available online, in its entirety. Lodge, an author and critic, was Professor of English Literature at the University of Birmingham from 1976 until 1987.

The film gives a short history of the authors who made up the Birmingham Group, primarily Walter Allen, Walter Brierley, Leslie Halward, John Hampson, Reggie Smith, and by association, Louis MacNeice and W.H. Auden. Allen and Smith, both old school chums of Henry Reed from Edward VI Grammar School, Aston (and later at university) give interviews for the film.

A highlight is the story how of Auden would introduce his heterosexual friend: "This is Reggie Smith. He's not one of us, my dear, but we have hopes for him."

Henry Reed is mentioned by Smith at around the 23-minute mark, in a famous anecdote regarding Louis MacNeice's farewell party, when he was leaving Birmingham University for Bedford College, in 1936. Smith recalls:

"That was where Henry Reed nearly had his arse burnt off because somebody — well it wasn't somebody, it was the director from the Group Theater [Rupert Doone] — who got himself into a great state of anguish because he'd just done — he was talking to professor Dodds, this big man was explaining to him that he always saw it as a "fountain of blood, you see an idea: I see it as a fountain of blood" [for a production of MacNeice's Agamemnon] and Dodds said 'you'd find that a bit difficult perhaps to put on the stage' and he got very hurt at that suggestion and said 'I don't care' and threw his vodka into the fire which leapt out, like a flame, and burnt the backside of Henry Reed, who was minding his own business at the fireside. But it's a party that went on for days and days."

The film has Lodge in MacNeice's former flat above the coach house at Highfield, Selly Park, where the legendary party took place.

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Notation for "As I Was Walking Down Bristol Street":
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What is Henry Reed's first name?

1537. Radio Times, "Full Frontal Pioneer," Radio Times People, 20 April 1972, 5.
A brief article before a new production of Reed's translation of Montherlant, mentioning a possible second collection of poems.

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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