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Letter: Jon Stallworthy obituary

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On reading Jon Stallworthy’s obituary, it occurred to me, as friend and literary executor of the poet Henry Reed, how much it would have amused Reed that the confusion between his name and that of the poet Herbert Read persists.

The latter was better known as an art critic and biographer, while Reed, poet and literary critic, never could complete the biography of Thomas Hardy for which he had been commissioned. This fact, along with the literary world’s confusion of names, in print and on air, led to the creation of the fictitious character Herbert Reeve who, in his endeavours to write the biography of the imaginary writer Richard Shewin, satirically enters the arts world of the 50s with the first of a sequence of brilliantly comic plays for the BBC Third Programme, beginning with A Very Great Man Indeed, and later introducing listeners to the fictitious composer Hilda Tablet.

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