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An Adventure in Working Class Education. Being
the btory ot the Workers' Educational Association, i^03 — D.
by /Aiuert Mansbridge, rion. M.A. (Oxon founder
Lateral Secretary, l?UJ — 15. Longmans, Green 6c Co. b/
froiessor Oraham Wailas, one or tne shrewdest and most
penetrating critics or moaern liie and politics, once reiened to
the author ot this little book as one ot the greatest social
inventors of our time. While others, he said, were creating
tne aeroplane and the wireless telegraph, Mr. Mansbridge had
been making a new way ot education, drawing together tne
workers, with their vast, chaouc yearning for knowledge and
light, and the scholars who had the knowledge but who lacked
contact with the realities life and ot industry.
i ne union ot these two torces produced as its finest flower
the university tutorial class, which, at its best, and where its
ideals are most rally realised, is one ot the most pertect educa-
tional instruments ever created. i he story ot the twelve
crowded years ot this inventive process is told in the sixty-six
pages ot this modest booic, and the tuture historian of Laoour
or ot Education in those taietui years will be unable to tell his
tale without consulting it.
i he story is told with little detail, and perhaps not with much
art, and it might have been better told by one who had not
been its central figure, strive though he may to conceal the tact.
But, even though blurred on times, there bursts through the
vivid picture ot a man who is at once a visionary and a keen
business man, who saw in his youth the great vision of a people
set tree by education, and who has laboured through ail his
days to realise that vision. The thing he had dreamed was so
near to the hearts of all men and women ot good will, that in
a tew years he drew round him many ot the noblest men and
women ot his time, and the creation ot the Workers' Educational
Association and the University Tutorial Class system reads like
a fairy tale. They are successful and established institutions
now, and to some etxent the glory of their early life has faded
into the light of common day, but because the gitts they ottered
were essentially of the spirit, because they called men and
women from the toil of the workshop and the stnte ot politics
and industry to a great fellowship in the search for knowledge,
the response was overwhelming, and the W.E.A. spirit
was known everywhere as something that arew together the most
diverse men and women in the bonds of fellowship, and that
set them to tasks of unheard-of self-sacrifice both in seeking
knowledge for themselves and in spreading the good news to
others. The story, as it is told here, naturally does not reveal
the many-sided and even perplexing personality of the man who,
more than any other, began the great movement of working-class
education of these last years. But even those who do not know
him and his work must guess at the strange union of visionary
and mystic who tells us that in the affairs of life no man has
really lived until he has for a reasonable purpose risked the loss
of all that he desires, of diplomat who watched and took his
chances with the powers behind Universities, Education Autho-
rities, and Trade Unions, gaining here a point and there a point,
until his structure was built; and a business man, who, to
finance his adventure," which even in its second year of work
had an income of only £ 100 a year, would pounce upon the
unsuspecting visitor and mulct him of a subscription to the
W.E.A. or the price of a book before he knew what was
Underlying the whole book is the conception of education as
the liberating influence which sets men free to do the work for
which God made them, whether it be making a chair or directing
a University. The equipment of those who would adventure
is a belief in the power of everyone to perform his or her true
service. The community is like a living mosaic. It has a
pattern, and the impulse and motion or men is towards their
rightful place in it.
The most powerful attraction of the W.E.A. has always
been that it has drawn together in the most hearty and intimate
comradeship people of widely varying outlook and experience,
who were able to sink all their deep-rooted differences in the
common search for knowledge. Like all things worth doing,
this catholicity had its own difficulties, but it was the essential
core of the gospel of the founders of the Association. One
divines a little anxiety lest in these later days of power and
success it should come to be too definitely associated with any
particular school of thought or party in politics. On no
account, writes Mr. Mansbridge, no matter how great the
temptation even though lite itselt seems to be at stake, should it
oow tne knee in the house of those who promise support and
power uaureamed ot, it it will chant their songs and utter their
1 he book tells of the spread of the W.E.A. in Australia,
New Zealand, South Alrica, and Canada, and there are namas
ot the pioneers in all these fields, and records of their work.
But the Welsh reader will search in vain for the name of a
Welsh uranch or a Welsh class-not because there are none
tor the W.E.A. has existed in Wales from its early days.
i^er.iapj it is because its origin and genius was English, and we,
who have our own educational enthusiasms and adventures, have
never quite taken it to our hearts. It will be to our lasting loss
however, if we learn nothing of its spirit, and if we tail to
translate into our own national life the lessons which this story
can teach us.
Trie Group Mind. A sketch of the Principles of Collective
rsyc.ioiogy, with some attempt to apply them to the interpretation
or national lite and character By William McDougall, F.R.S.
-PP-. Cambridge University Press. 21/- net.
This is an excellent book, and is a sequel to the author's
previous work, An Introduction to Social Psychology," which
appeared in 1908, and which has enjoyed considerable success.
More than one critic of the earlier book pointed out that though
the words Social Psychology occurred in the title, the book
itself was very little social, indeed, much less so than the
majority of books on Psychology. This omission is explained
in the Preface and Introduction of the present volume, in which
the relation of the two books to each other is clearly defined.
The earlier and smaller book was an attempt to provide an
account of the fundamentals of human nature." There was
no intention of dealing with Social Psychology at all, but merely
of preparing the ground, and laying the foundations for it. The
present volume, the substance of which, we are told, was written
before the Great War, is part of the superstructure. It deals
with Collective or Group Psychology, which is a branch or
department of the wider Science of Social Psychology.
The book is divided into three parts. In Part I., which deals
with general principles, the conception of a group or collective
mind is explained, illustrated, and defended against hostile
criticism. The discussion is acute and interesting, particularly
its handling of R. M. Maciver, the author of a notable work on
Sociology. But somehow it leaves the reader with a feeling of
the need of further elucidation. Perhaps a more satisfactory
result would have been reached if the author, while vindicating
the reality of the group mind," had thought it well to bring
out more fully the points in which it differs from the individual
In Part 11 that special form of the group mind which we call
Nationalism is dealt with, and in the concluding Part the
evolution of national mind and character through the long
course of ages is traced.
The chapters on What is a Nation? and The Mind of
a Nation are exceptionally valuable. Prof. McDougall holds
with Prof. Ramsay Muir, that nationhood is essentially a psycho-
logical conception, but he differs from him in his view as to the
psychological determining condition or factor. The essence of
nationality is not a sentiment; neither is it a belief on the part
of a community that it is a nation. It is organisation, not
material organisation, but such mental organisation as will render
the group capable of effective group life, of collective delibera-
tion, and collective volition."
The volume is a very important contribution to the literature
of the subject, and it is throughout characterised by lucidity,
freshness, and balance. And the discussion has the great merit
of being almost entirely free of technical terms which would be
unintelligible to the general reader. As Nationalism has
come to be regarded as the most important factor in modem
history the appearance of this work at this time is most opportune,
and we can confidently recommend it not only to students, but
to all intelligent readers who are interested in the problem of
nationality. The author, we understand, is about to take up
the duties of an American professorship. Though his departure
may not involve any loss to science, we cannot help regretting
that Oxford will be deprived of a singularly impressive and
luminous teacher W. Jenkyn Jones.
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