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.




Weblogs, etc.

«  Letter to George  »

Reeding Lessons: the Henry Reed research blog


Letter to George

In November of 1947, Henry Reed wrote a letter to George Barnes, Controller for the BBC's Third Programme (picture of Barnes, later the Director of BBC Television). The letter was ostensibly about a radio adaptation of The Dynasts, Thomas Hardy's epic verse drama of the Napoleonic Wars. Reed, however, took the time to expound on the art of broadcasting, specifically rejecting the idea that the dramatist's main role is to maintain the illusion for the listener. An excerpt from this letter appears in John Drakakis' Introduction to British Radio Drama:

It is a myth that Radio has any capacity for inducing in the mind of the listener anything in the nature of particularized visualization. You might, once in an evening persuade him to see one of those great stage directions; but not, I think, more than one. For when radio had to suggest a scene to the listener, it does best to give only a brief powerful hint from which, with the help of specially written dialogue designed to an end, the listener can without effort and perhaps only half-consciously, construct a scene from the innumerable landscapes or roomscapes (!) bundled away in his own memory.
(p. 22-23)

Apparently, having had a total of two full-length plays broadcast in 1947 (Moby Dick, and Pytheas), Reed felt confident enough to tell the Controller how radio works, and how their listeners listen. Reed's six-part adaptation of Hardy's Dynasts was broadcast on consecutive evenings in June of 1951. The original letter resides in the BBC Written Archives.

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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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