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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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«  Blue Circles  »

Reeding Lessons: the Henry Reed research blog

20.6.2021


Blue Circles

Henry Reed died December 8th, 1986, in St. Charles Hospital, London. This December marks the twentieth anniversary of his death.

This landmark makes Reed eligible for one of English Heritage's famous Blue Plaques, which adorn London landmarks once inhabited by eminent contibutors to the arts or industry.

Blue Plaque

Some notable contemporaries of Reed's who have been awarded plaques include: Sir John Betjeman (31 Highgate West Hill), Sir Arthur Bliss (1 East Heath Road), Benjamin Britten, O.M. (173 Cromwell Road), C. Day-Lewis (6 Crooms Hill), T.S. Eliot, O.M. (3 Kensington Court Gardens), Louis MacNeice (52 Canonbury Park South), Dame Edith Sitwell (Greenhill, Hampstead High Street, Flat 42), and Dylan Thomas (54 Delancey Street).

Among other requirements, to be eligible for a Blue Plaque a person must:
  • Be considered eminent by a majority of members of their own profession or calling
  • Have made an important positive contribution to human welfare or happiness
  • Be recognisable to the well-informed passer-by
  • Deserve national recognition
  • Have resided in a locality for a significant period, in time or importance, within their life and work
Is the name "Henry Reed" recognizable by well-informed passers-by? Perhaps not, but certainly most people would recognize the title "Naming of Parts," or the name Hilda Tablet. Besides the argument that Reed's contributions make him eligible, there is also the difficulty of whether or not his old London flat still exists:
  • Plaques can only be erected on the actual building inhabited by the nominated figure, not the site where the building once stood. However, consideration may be given in cases where reconstructed buildings present an exact facsimile frontage on the identical site
Reed lived on Upper Montagu Street, Marylebone, from 1950 until his death. To complete an application to propose a plaque, a photograph of the location is preferred. Any London shutterbugs out there want to earn a few PayPal pounds? Flickr? Anyone?

There is good news, however. The Birmingham Civic Society already has plans to erect a Blue Plaque dedicated to Reed in their city during the centenary of his birth, in the year 2014 (see future plaques). W.H. Auden already has one (see this gallery of Blue Plaques in Birmingham). Also scheduled to receive plaques in Birmingham are Walter Allen (in 2011), and Louis MacNeice (2013).

At any rate, on Friday, December 8th I'll be stopping down at the local pub after work, to honor Mr. Reed's memory with one his favorite pastimes: having a few drinks. I'm buying!


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Notation for "Blue Circles":
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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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