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generally, are also excellent. Most of the books now to be
mentioned are intended to be read by boys and girls who have
reached the age of puberty. They refer more or less precisely to
sexual relationships, and they usually touch on masturbation.
_The Story of Life_, written by a very accomplished woman, the
late Ellice Hopkins, is somewhat vague, and introduces too many
exalted religious ideas. Arthur Trewby's _Healthy Boyhood_ is a
little book of wholesome tendency; it deals specially with
masturbation. _A Talk with Boys About Themselves_ and _A Talk
with Girls About Themselves_, both by Edward Bruce Kirk (the
latter book written in conjunction with a lady) deal with general
as well as sexual hygiene. There could be no better book to put
into the hands of a boy or girl at puberty than M.A. Warren's
_Almost Fourteen_, written by an American school teacher in 1892.
It was a most charming and delicately written book, which could
not have offended the innocence of the most sensitive maiden.
Nothing, however, is sacred to prurience, and it was easy for the
prurient to capture the law and obtain (in 1897) legal
condemnation of this book as "obscene." Anything which sexually
excites a prurient mind is, it is true, "obscene" for that mind,
for, as Mr. Theodore Schroeder remarks, obscenity is "the
contribution of the reading mind," but we need such books as this
in order to diminish the number of prurient minds, and the
condemnation of so entirely admirable a book makes, not for
morality, but for immorality. I am told that the book was
subsequently issued anew with most of its best portions omitted,
and it is stated by Schroeder (_Liberty of Speech and Press
Essential to Purity Propaganda_, p. 34) that the author was
compelled to resign his position as a public school principal.
Maria Lischnewska's _Geschlechtliche Belehrung der Kinder_
(reprinted from _Mutterschutz_, 1905, Heft 4 and 5) is a most
admirable and thorough discussion of the whole question of sexual
education, though the writer is more interested in the teacher's
share in this question than in the mother's. Suggestions to
mothers are contained in Hugo Salus, _Wo kommen die Kinder her?_,
E. Stiehl, _Eine Mutterpflicht_, and many other books. Dr. Alfred
Kind strongly recommends Ludwig Gurlitt's _Der Verkehr mit meinem
Kindern_, more especially in its combination of sexual education
with artistic education. Many similar books are referred to by
Bloch, in his _Sexual Life of Our Time_, Ch. xxvi.
I have enumerated the names of these little books because they
are frequently issued in a semi-private manner, and are seldom
easy to procure or to hear of. The propagation of such books
seems to be felt to be almost a disgraceful action, only to be
performed by stealth. And such a feeling seems not unnatural when
we see, as in the case of the author of _Almost Fourteen_, that a
nominally civilized country, instead of loading with honors a man
who has worked for its moral and physical welfare, seeks so far
as it can to ruin him.
I may add that while it would usually be very helpful to a mother
to be acquainted with a few of the booklets I have named, she
would do well, in actually talking to her children, to rely
mainly on her own knowledge and inspiration.
The sexual education which it is the mother's duty and privilege to
initiate during her child's early years cannot and ought not to be
technical. It is not of the nature of formal instruction but is a private
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