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Pailthorpe, G.W. (1929). Autolycus or the Future for Miscreant Youth: By R. G. Gordon, M.D. (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., Ltd., London. Pp. 94. Price 2s. 6d.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 10:116.

(1929). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 10:116

Autolycus or the Future for Miscreant Youth: By R. G. Gordon, M.D. (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., Ltd., London. Pp. 94. Price 2s. 6d.)

Review by:
G. W. Pailthorpe

This is an admirable summary of the scientific outlook to-day on all problems connected with the young delinquent.

After emphasizing the fact that the conception of what constitutes crime varies in different countries and at different times, the author discusses the various motives which lie behind the present methods of dealing with criminals by punishment. From this he passes on to a consideration of the delinquent personality, which he defines as a person in whom there is 'a conflict between the ego and the environment'. The inability to adjust to the social order is the essential feature for study, and the 'underlying instability', which is responsible for this, even when exhaustively studied, will be eliminated only 'by the slow process of eugenic education'.

Sociological, educational, psychological and medical conditions, as factors, secondary or otherwise, causing crime, are then dealt with. He accepts the Adlerian theory that a child's sense of inferiority from physical defect or mental retardation brings about a compensatory will to power and holds that delinquent behaviour is often a manifestation of this over-compensation. Very careful grading of the backward child is necessary. 'Wise psychotherapy may do much for such children, and psycho-analysis claims a great deal, but it is much too early to be sure of the good or ill effects of this procedure'. He tells briefly what is being done and what he hopes will be done, making many practical suggestions for environmental and educative changes. He tends here to be over-optimistic in thinking that lasting psychological changes in the individual delinquent can be brought about by reconditioning the external world.

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