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Birkbeck College

    Naturevolume 113pages670671 (1924) | Download Citation

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    THIS book is a centenary record of the fortunes of Birkbeck College from its foundation in 1823. For its purpose it is excellently done, well planned and well turned out. From a mass of rather intractable material Mr. Burns has picked what he found to be the essential things, among them a few personalia which gleam in the drab heap of administrative detail. But, while not failing in his duty as chronicler of constitu tional changes, he has succeeded in the more difficult task of painting the portrait of an institution. It is the portrait of a sturdy English enterprise-one of the English reactions to Scottish stimulus-which began with a vague yet wholesome mixture of public spirit, philanthropy, and political instinct, and was fundament ally collegiate from the first, though for a long time incapable of putting into words the real purpose which bound its members into a society. Its lot fell in an age of opportunity, which was also what Mr. Wells calls an age of confusion. The countenance of Birkbeck College is consequently like that of a man of vigorous character and benevolent nature who has been worried by many intrusive conflicts of principle and has been forced into a good deal of honest opportunism in the long search for a clear expression of his instinctive purpose.

    A Short History of Birkbeck College (University of London).

    By C. Delisle Burns. Pp. 170 + 8 plates. (London: University of London Press, Ltd., 1924.) 5s. net.

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    https://doi.org/10.1038/113670a0

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