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Eder, M.D. (1926). The Young Delinquent: By Cyril Burt, M.A., D.Sc., London. (University of London Press, Ltd. Pp. xx + 643. Price 17 s. 6 d. net.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 7:112-115.

(1926). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 7:112-115

The Young Delinquent: By Cyril Burt, M.A., D.Sc., London. (University of London Press, Ltd. Pp. xx + 643. Price 17 s. 6 d. net.)

Review by:
M. D. Eder

The theoretical or theological assumptions for the savageries practised upon the criminal were tending to be undermined by the humanitarian impulses that led up to the French Revolution and the legalists were becoming profoundly discouraged when to their aid came certain biological theories which, by the invention of the 'born criminal', permitted the more inhumane impulses of society represented by its judges and magistrates to maintain old cruelties, provided punishment was carried out in the name of Science; the difference to the criminal being that there disappeared the occasional charity meted out to him, at any rate in the more Catholic countries of Europe, since this was itself frowned upon by Science.

In full reaction from this scientific invention comes Dr. Burt, who after studying the young criminal at first hand for a number of years regards criminality as nothing but 'an outstanding sample—dangerous perhaps and extreme—of common childish naughtiness'.

This conclusion would be in accord with the psycho-analytic finding of there being no strict line of demarcation between the neurotic and the non-neurotic individual. To some extent Dr. Burt makes out his case by a comparison between delinquent and non-delinquent children; the comparative tables on hereditary and environmental conditions and upon psychological conditions, including 'complexes' and morbid emotional states, are suggestive, but the author himself is the first to recognize that these statistical measurements must not be regarded 'as anything more than simply compendious ways of summarizing our rough data'.

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