At the Paris Review, H.S. Cross analyzes Ernest Raymond’s 1922 novel, Tell England. He explores the unique and charged relationships between a schoolteacher, Radley, and his students, Ray and Doe. The boys have an unexpected and, at least initially, seemingly erotic reverence for their teacher, which, Cross concludes, reflects the confusing and sacrificial relationship between man and God:
As surprising as it is to arrive at sacramental theology from Doe’s flamboyant disclosure, a metaphysical perspective provides the most coherent reading of Radley and Ray. Alluring, confusing, countercultural, counter-logical, upending the things of this world, these scenes stand enticingly against our contemporary idols of self; they oppose our ambition to make of ourselves what we will, our rejection of any authority but our own, and our interpretation of physical force as a personal annihilation.