About:

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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Reeding:

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.


Elsewhere:

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All posts for "Ginzburg"

Reeding Lessons: the Henry Reed research blog

26.11.2021


London Playbills

Playbill

Playbill facsimile for the 1968 National Theatre production of Ginzburg's The Advertisement, translated from the Italian by Henry Reed, directed by Donald MacKechnie and Laurence Olivier. From Who's Who in the Theatre (1972), in the HathiTrust digital library.



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.


Signed, From Henry

So, I had my credit card info stolen this week. That was fun. You should have heard the conversation I had with customer service when I called to cancel the card: Amazon.com? No, that charge is legitimate. Barnes & Noble? Yeah, that was me, too. Abebooks.com? Okay, if it was for books, then it was probably me. A new card should come this week.

This month's extravagence was a signed copy of Natalia Ginzburg's The Advertisement (L'Inserzione), published in 1969 by Faber and Faber, and translated from the original Italian by our very own Henry Reed. I don't usually bother with first editions or signed copies, but I felt like I deserved a treat.

Book cover

Now, I must admit, I have only a passing interest in Reed's translations. What I'm really after is completeness, an inclusive collection. Even the items I'm least interested in may turn out to contain an overlooked fact or hidden clue to some larger mystery, rounding out Reed's bio-bibliography (biblio-biography?). This edition of Ginzburg's play, for instance, has a brief "Translator's Note" written by Reed, the details of the first stage performances in London, and a jacket blurb from a Daily Telegraph review: 'From the moment this very interesting play takes shape, it is clear that a tour de force is necessary from the actress playing Teresa; and Joan Plowright rises to the challenge quite superbly.'

And then there is the inscription to my newly-acquired copy:

Inscription
For Eleanor Summerfield
with esteem + gratitude
from Henry Reed

May 29 1971
(but also with memories of,
I am afraid, as long ago
as 1952, was it?)
Ms. Summerfield (BBC obituary), I was delighted to discover, was an accomplished actress, with a litany of film (Internet Movie Database) and radio (BBC Programme Catalogue) credits to her name. She was married to the actor Leonard Sachs for 40 years (though she could claim Sir Richard Burton among the paramours of her youth.) I imagine Reed was introduced to Summerfield while he was writing for the Third Programme. How they became reacquainted in 1971, I have no idea. At the BBC, again?

To see more on this book and and others by Reed, take a peek at my bookshelf on LibraryThing.



1531. Henderson, Philip. "English Poetry Since 1946." British Book News 117 (May 1950), 295.
Reed's A Map of Verona is mentioned in a survey of the previous five years of English poetry.


Advertisement Advertisements

Diehard fans of Joan Plowright (or Natalia Ginzburg) may be interested in these posters offered by the National Theatre Archive. They're from the 1968-69 run of Ginzburg's play, The Advertisement, translated and adapted by Reed. The production was directed by Donald MacKechnie and Sir Laurence Olivier, and starred (besides Dame Joan) Suzanne Vassey, Louise Purnell, Edward Petherbridge, Anna Carteret, and Sir Derek Jacobi.

Theatre poster

The National Theatre also has an extensive, searchable catalog of performances and items in their archives.



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.


Strawberry Ice

I managed to break free of the apartment's gravity this afternoon, and drop into the University's main library for a few hours, to do some work without the Herculean distractions of cable television and an attention-starved cat. Currently, we're in the reading period which preceeds exams, the carrels are full, and the only sounds are the squeak of ungreased office chairs, the opening click and closing clack of serials binders being filed into, and the clearing of anxious throats.

I left the house without white index cards.

I'm actually fairly high-tech, filing citations into an online bibliography, but a laptop is still a bit clunky for walking up and down the stacks, looking for as-yet-unseen volumes. So I write everything down on index cards, first: white for the things I have a copy of, colors for wants and needs. When I find an item on a green or red or blue card, it gets tossed and a new, white, card gets written out with a description, and the database gets updated to an "Own?" Yes. Ridiculous, right? This is the system I came up with.

Plus, I throw away the sickly, yellow cards that come in the pack.

Last night I was trying to nail down a concrete date when Reed stopped working for the BBC Features Department: his last translation was broadcast in 1978 (Sorrows of Love, by Giuseppe Giacosa). But there was a nagging doubt that I had, somewhere in my pile of cites from the London Times, seen mention of a play I hadn't found anywhere else, which may have been later than '78.

Today, due to my lack of having white cards to fill out, I was catching up on plugging new entries into the database, instead. And, bam! There it was: The Strawberry Ice, by Natalia Ginzburg. Translated by Henry Reed for the BBC, and broadcast on January 24th, 1973.

It was a Wednesday afternoon.

«  Ginzburg Plays  0  »


1529. Sackville-West, Vita. "Seething Brain." Observer (London), 5 May 1946, 3.
Vita Sackville-West speaks admirably of Reed's poetry, and was personally 'taken with the poem called "Lives," which seemed to express so admirably Mr. Reed's sense of the elusiveness as well as the continuity of life.'



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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