Books: Old School Noose

BORSTAL BOY (372 pp.)—Brendan Behan—Knopf ($4.50).

An Oedipus complex about Alma Mater has long nourished English letters. From the days of Thomas Hughes (Tom Brown's Schooldays), almost the first things heard out of an English writer are usually the half-strangulated noises of one noosed in an old school tie. As an obsessive theme the Old School has no counterpart in U.S. fiction, unless it is the Home Town and the shouts of the boys who cry Wolfe.

The latest addition to the Eton-Harrow-Rugby tradition deals with Borstal,*an equally exclusive institution reserved for young English criminals. Brendan Behan, a Borstal Old Boy, has written...

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