Herbert Read

20th Century British writer

Herbert Read

Herbert Read

Herbert Read (1893–1968) was a British poet, editor, publisher, essayist, and critic. He attended the University of Leeds and served in the British Army during World War I. He went on to act as editor for Burlington Magazine and lecturer at Liverpool University and at Harvard University. He passed away in 1968.

cover image of the book The Green Child

The Green Child

by Herbert Read

Translated by Adam Phillips

With a contribution by Eliot Weinberger and Kenneth Rexroth

The Green Child is the only novel by Herbert Read — the famous English poet, anarchist, and literary critic. First published by New Directions in 1948, it remains a singular work of bewildering imagination and radiance. The author considered it a philosophical fable akin to Plato’s cave.

Olivero, the former dictator of a South American country, has returned to his native England after faking his own assassination. On a walk he sees, through a cottage window, a green-skinned young girl tied to a chair. He watches in horror as a man forces the girl to drink lamb’s blood from a cup. Olivero rescues the child, and she leads him into unknown realms.

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cover image of the book Can These Bones Live

Can These Bones Live

by Edward Dahlberg

With a contribution by Herbert Read

“There is no contemporary prose work from which I have got so much pleasure and profit,” Sir Herbert Read writes in his preface to this book. “The pleasure comes from the texture––a prose style which, in an age that has forsaken the art of prose, gleams with such expressive beauty… It is the crystalline vein of the English Bible, of Shakespeare and Sir Thomas Browne, running through the torpid substance of modern life… and is as relevant to our present condition as any book of wisdom… “It is a work of criticism and exposition. Shakespeare, Dostoevski, Cervantes, Thoreau, Melville, Whitman, Rilke, Randolph Bourne… these are the prophets to be expounded, related, excoriated (stripped of accretions of platitude and misunderstanding). But behind them are the original prophets, the great Hebrew prophets, and the greatest prophet of them all, the Galilean. Turning and returning to these Hebraic forebears, Dahlberg taps some source of collective energy, some fire-laden force of anger and denunciation, some heaven-lit clarity of vision.”

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