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The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham Volume 1 - 1752 to 1776 - cover

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The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham Volume 1 - 1752 to 1776

Jeremy Bentham

Publisher: UCL Press

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Summary

The first five volumes of the Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham contain over 1,300 letters written
both to and from Bentham over a 50-year period, beginning in 1752 (aged three) with
his earliest surviving letter to his grandmother, and ending in 1797 with
correspondence concerning his attempts to set up a national scheme for the
provision of poor relief. Against the background of the debates on the American
Revolution of 1776 and the French Revolution of 1789, to which he made
significant contributions, Bentham worked first on producing a complete penal
code, which involved him in detailed explorations of fundamental legal ideas,
and then on his panopticon prison scheme. Despite developing a host of original
and ground-breaking ideas, contained in a mass of manuscripts, he published
little during these years, and remained, at the close of this period, a
relatively obscure individual. Nevertheless, these volumes reveal how the
foundations were laid for the remarkable rise of Benthamite utilitarianism in
the early nineteenth century. 
Bentham’s early life is marked by his extraordinary
precociousness, but also family tragedy: by the age of 10 he had lost five infant
siblings and his mother. The letters in this volume document his difficult
relationship with his father and his increasing attachment to his surviving
younger brother Samuel, his education, his interest in chemistry and botany,
and his committing himself to a life of philosophy and legal reform. 
Praise for the Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham, volumes 1-5 
‘These volumes provide significant additions to our understanding of Bentham’s work in the first half of his life up to 1797. The insights they offer into Bentham’s activities, ideas and method cast light on his philosophical and political positions in a seminal period in British and European history.’British Journal for the History of Philosophy

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