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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Reeding Lessons: the Henry Reed research blog


Rare, But Not So Old

I had a dentist appointment yesterday, for a checkup and cleaning. I've discovered that the more I hate the dentist's office, the better I take care of my teeth. I was in and out, thankfully. I had a couple of hours afterward before Special Collections at the main library closed at 5:45 pm.

There was a reference to Reed in an old issue of the New Review (Google Book Search) that I was hoping would pan into something. The problem with snippet views in Google is that, while you may have a page number, you often don't know which issue of a periodical that page is in. Or the year. All I knew from the link above was that it was during 1976-77.

The New Review is apparently rare enough to warrant being stored in Special Collections' Rare Books. Rare, but not that old. Hardly new, though. I filled out my callslip for both years. Turns out, New Review was a monthly magazine, so I've got almost twenty-four issues to hunt through. Finally, at nearly five o'clock, I found it: June, 1976.

New Review

Reed appears in a book review of Scannell's Not Without Glory and Banerjee's Spirit Above Wars, by Andrew Motion, "Bard's Army." It was a long hour for a short paragraph:

Sexual deprivation also produced a persistent, nagging eroticism in military life Henry Reed captures its wearying innuendo perfectly in 'Naming of Parts', not only in the title, but in the training process it describes:
And this you can see is the bolt. The purpose of this
Is to open the breech, as you see. We can slide it
Rapidly backwards and forwards: we call this
Easing the spring.
Fuller similarly speaks with the voice of Everysoldier when he says 'The photographs of girls are on the wall', and the desolation which lies behind his remark is echoed throughout the work of Lewis. It is a far cry from the war poetry that they were brought up on, and a scrupulous account of the replacement of the admonitory patriot by the disaffected conscript.

Special Collections even made the photocopies for me.

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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