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Neill, A.S. (1925). A Slip of the Needle. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 6:458-458.
  

(1925). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 6:458-458

A Slip of the Needle

A. S. Neill

A few weeks ago Dr. Wilhelm Stekel sent me his latest book, Sadismus und Masochismus. On page 729 I found the following reference to myself:—

Mein Freund A. E. Neill, der bekannte englische Pädagog und Schriftsteller, Verfasser zahlreicher anregender Bücher aus dem Leben der Schule und der Schüler, hat ein neues System geschaffen, in dem die Kinder machen können, was sie wollen. In einzelnen Fällen hat er bemerkungswerte Resultate erzielt. Und doch scheint es, dass er von einem Extrem ins andere verfällt, weil er von der These augseht: Das Kind ist von Haus aus gut und wird durch falsche Erziehung schlecht gemacht. Wir verfügen über andere Beobachtungen. Das Kind ist weder gut, noch schlecht, es steht jenseits von gut und böse. …

(My friend, A. E. Neill, the well-known English pedagogue and writer, author of many stimulating books about school and scholars, has created a new system in which the children can do what they like. In certain cases he has had remarkable results. And yet it appears to me that he flies from one extreme to the other, for he sets out from the theory that the child is born good and is only made bad by wrong education. We are of another opinion. The child is neither good nor bad; it is beyond good and evil. …)

Reading the above words gave me mixed emotions. I was flattered at being called a friend by so well-known a man as Stekel, but on the other hand I had grounds for annoyance. My initials are not A. E. I am not an English pedagogue: I am a Scot. I did not like to be set up so that I might be knocked down again.

The book was in paper covers, and I began to bind it. Binding a book is a laborious process: one must sew many sections together. Each section has its own number, so that the binder watches the numbers of sections and not the numbers of pages. I bound the book and then opened it. A page fell out. My name was on it.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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