22 FEBRUARY 1930, Page 22

We have always felt the need for a- succinct and

readable account of the peculiarities of English University life for the benefit of the enquiring foreigner. Degenerate Oxford ? by Terence Greenidge (Chapman and Hall, 7s. 6d.) just about fills the bill—if the earnest author will only add a glossary in subsequent editions. There is a useful analysis of the activities outside the academic curriculum which make Oxford a" store- house of treasures, mental and physical " ; there- are some pertinent criticisms of the casualness of Dons and the caprices of University authorities, both these phenomena being, it appears, particularly distasteful to the author, a Socialist with a sneaking likeness for efficiency. The last chapter, instancing some of the more stupid anachronisms of the university—such as banning the projected Repertory Theatre, until the Chan- cellor stepped in and overrode the Oxford authorities—is, perhaps, justified. For the rest, those of us who have " attended " Oxford or Cambridge, as Mr. Greenidge puts it, will prefer that this book should not have been written ; not least, the author when he grows up. To begin with, only a surfeit of newspaper reading could have evoked a query as to whether Oxford had gained or lost by the incidental changes of Time ; only a callow undergraduate could imagine " the great British public interested " in the quips and fancies of undergraduate youth. For all its charm and candour, that age should surely remain a secret to the outside world ; it does not bear analysis. No normal healthy person wilt subscribe to the wild generalization that undergraduates as a class are resentful and unhappy 1 The ingenuous Mr. Greenidge will one day realize that the world, even this image of the mighty world which is Oxford, is not composed of " the conventional and the shallow " and " people who possess artistic enthusiasms " ; that this community composed of an athletic upper class, whose members have the attributes of Bulldog Drummond, and aesthetes, whose strong suit is an intellectual anarchism, is nothing but a picture of arrested development.