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Low, B. (1927). Why Do they Like it: By E. L. Black. With a Foreword by Dorothy M. Richardson. (Shakespeare & Co., Paris, February, 1927. Pp. 199. Price 6 s.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 8:442-444.

(1927). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 8:442-444

Why Do they Like it: By E. L. Black. With a Foreword by Dorothy M. Richardson. (Shakespeare & Co., Paris, February, 1927. Pp. 199. Price 6 s.)

Review by:
Barbara Low

The foreword by Miss Dorothy Richardson, the well-known novelist, and the brief 'Note' signed 'Bryher' ushering in this record of school life claim rather too much novelty for it. The 'Note' says: 'Why Do They Like It? is the first book to be written about it (the public school system) by a boy, from a boy's point of view and with a boy's use of language'. The fact is that this volume is one in a series of such attempts, a series which was ushered in with some sensationalism by Alec Waugh, who dealt with his public school and his experiences therein at the age of seventeen. Such records have their value, not so much from the point of view that they are new revelations of facts (there is little in this volume that any adult with some small knowledge and experience of public schools up and down this country does not already know), but from the added insight they may afford of the adolescent's own psychology, and for the possible quality, one which Miss Richardson ranks high in this instance, of literary value. In her 'Foreword' she says: 'Among the … several impressions left, after a year's interval, from my reading of E. L. Black's story of his school life, by far the strongest is that of the quality of his book as a piece of writing'.

But for those whose predominant interest is not the literary one, the boy's own reactions to the public school life and the genuine emotions which it creates and develops in him, the lines along which he travels in absorbing his varied experiences, and the mirror his mind holds up (allowing that in many aspects it is a distorting mirror) to the objects which surround him—the masters and other boys with their ideals and conventions, the 'system' itself—these records are the ones of value.

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