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the experience of reading in Britain, from 1450 to 1945...

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Cesare Marquis of Beccaria-Bonesana


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Cesare Marquis of Beccaria-Bonesana  : Dei Delitti e Delle Pene (On Crimes and Punishments)

Robert Southey to Horace Walpole Bedford, 12-15 December 1793: 'Lucan & Beccaria dei delitti & delle pene are my pocket companions. the republican Bard & the philosopher of humanity. Lucan pleases me more than any author in despite of his numerous faults. his ninth book is wonderful & when I say that he has not fallen short of Cato in his character of that illustrious stoic panegyric can go no farther. the character of Erictho is wonderfully imagined. how would Lucan have excelled himself in the death of Cato & of Caesar! I will venture to assert that had he finishd his Pharsalia it would have been the noblest monument of human genius. Mays supplement disappointed me. I expected more from his abilities forgetting that the sycophant of a Stuart was ill qualified to handle the pen of Lucan. Beccaria pleases me much. I had long been self-convinced that the punishment of death was as improper as inhuman. Godwin carries this idea farther. so far I agree with him that society makes the crime & then punishes it.'

Century: 1700-1799     Reader/Listener/Group: Robert Southey      Print: Book


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