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Sharpe, E.F. (1938). Early One Morning: By Walter de la Mare. (Faber & Faber, London. Pp. 605. Price 21 s. net.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 19:260-262.

(1938). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 19:260-262

Early One Morning: By Walter de la Mare. (Faber & Faber, London. Pp. 605. Price 21 s. net.)

Review by:
Ella Freeman Sharpe

Walter de la Mare has brought to the making of this book the veritable cream of memories, sayings, stories and verses of childhood gathered from literature extending from the third century to the present time. The range of personalities is remarkable; the children whom he cites grew up to be distinguished people in adult life. To illustrate any specific theme the author brings in bewildering succession quotations from the records of children, not only widely separated by years or centuries but by nature and gifts. Mathematician and theologian, poet and man of arms, saint and sinner, recluse and publicist are found in this compendium of recorded experiences of childhood.

The author divides his material into three parts which he calls (1) Early Life, (2) Early Memories, (3) Early Writings. In the first part Walter de la Mare while disclaiming any expert psychological knowledge nevertheless quotes at some length statistics and opinions gained from the works of psychologists. These are valuable as far as they go. But they are incongruous when one considers the true nature of this book, a record of individual children's experiences, the fascination of which is individuality.

The second part comprises a wonderful collection of children's recorded sayings and writings on such immensely vital interests as clothes, dolls, toys, play, food, woes, night-fears, school, bullies and 'the hidden' (i.e. the sexual).

De la Mare's own unobstructed imagination has made it possible for him to garner this particular harvest and to see these occupations and pre-occupations of a child's mind with something of the same serious import as they are by children themselves.

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