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The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham Volume 4 - October 1788 to December 1793 - cover

The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham Volume 4 - October 1788 to December 1793

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. 
In 1789 Bentham published An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, which
remains his most famous work, but which had little impact at the time, followed
in 1791 by The Panopticon: or, The
Inspection-House, in which he proposed the building of a circular
penitentiary house. Bentham’s correspondence unfolds against the backdrop of
the increasingly violent French Revolution, and shows his initial sympathy for
France turning into hostility. On a personal level, in 1791 his brother Samuel
returned from Russia, and in 1792 he inherited his father’s house in Queen’s
Square Place, Westminster together with a significant property portfolio. 
 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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