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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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«  Conscripts  »

Reeding Lessons: the Henry Reed research blog

27.10.2021


Conscripts

Almost a year ago, I mentioned a quote I couldn't place. In Shire's British Poetry of the Second World War, the chapter "Where Are the War Poets?" opens with the epigraph, 'To fight without hope is to fight without grace.' The quote is attributed to Henry Reed, but I haven't (yet) found where he may have written the line. I'm beginning to suspect it may lie in one of the two "Poetry in War Time" articles Reed wrote for the Listener in 1945, and which I haven't seen. (Then there's this strange anomoly.)

I do, however, know the origin of the phrase. If the words are truly Reed's, they were a response to his epony-nemesis, Herbert Read. Read's most famous poem of World War II is "To a Conscript of 1940," in which a veteran of the First World War addresses a new recruit:
'... There are heroes who have heard the rally and have seen
The glitter of garland round their head.

Theirs is the hollow victory. They are deceived.
But you my brother and my ghost, if you can go
Knowing that there is no reward, no certain use
In all your sacrifice, then honour is reprieved.

To fight without hope is to fight with grace,
The self reconstructed, the false heart repaired.'
This is not exactly the sentiment of Rupert Brooke, but Reed (as a conscript of 1941) would still have certainly been in some disagreement, even though the war, for him, was little more than a terrible personal inconvenience.

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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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