Bentham Project



Now available from UCL Press: 

The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham, Volume 13: July 1828 to June 1832, edited by Philip Schofield, Tim Causer, and Chris Riley

Correspondence, xiii
Available in hardback, paperback, and open access .pdf: https://uclpress.co.uk/bentham13

The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham, Volume 13 contains authoritative and fully annotated texts of all known and publishable letters sent both to and from Bentham between 1 July 1828 and his death on 6 June 1832. In addition to 474 letters, the volume contains three memorandums concerning Bentham’s health shortly before this death, his Last Will and Testament, and extracts from both the Autobiography and the manuscript diaries of Bentham’s nephew George. Of the letters that have already been published, most are drawn from the edition of The Works of Jeremy Bentham, prepared under the superintendence of Bentham’s literary executor John Bowring. A small number of letters have been reproduced from newspapers and periodicals. This volume publishes for the first time all the extant correspondence between Bentham and Daniel O’Connell, the Irish Liberator. Other new acquaintances included Charles Sinclair Cullen, barrister and law reformer, and John Tyrrell, the Real Property Commissioner. Throughout the period, Bentham maintained regular contact with old friends and connections, but he also entered into sporadic correspondence with such leading figures in government as the Duke of Wellington, Robert Peel and Henry Brougham. Further afield, Bentham corresponded, amongst others, with the Marquis de La Fayette in France, Edward Livingston in the United States of America and José Del Valle in Guatemala.

Save 20% on print copies when you use the code UCL24MC211L at www.uclpress.co.uk. Code expires 30 October 2024. Excludes purchases from/deliveries to North America. North American customers, please visit press.uchicago.edu.

We are excited to share that the UCL Press Open Access Journal, the Journal of Bentham Studies has launched on a new platform; providing a more intuitive, improved navigation experience for its global readers. Access the journal here: https://journals.uclpress.co.uk/jbs/

The Journal of Bentham Studies (JBS) is a peer reviewed, open-access journal, dedicated to the life and writings of the utilitarian philosopher, and spiritual founder of UCL, Jeremy Bentham. First published in 1997, the journal aims to provide a forum for debate and discussion on all aspects of Bentham studies and utilitarianism.

In additional to scholarly articles, the journal also includes book reviews, accounts of on-going research projects and short articles.

JBS publishes on a continuous basis, as articles are accepted for publication and submissions are opened all year to provide an inclusive, fully non-commercial, open access publishing process. There is no cost to authors at point of submission or publication, and no cost to readers. Articles are published on the new journal site and accessed via a number of subject specific indexes, repositories, and search databases to maximise readership. Learn more about the history, publishing process, and how to submit.

Journal of Bentham Studies

The Bentham Project has been awarded a grant of almost £400,000 by the Arts and Humanities Research Council to produce a critical edition of 'A Picture of the Treasury' for the authoritative edition of The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham.

Hitherto unpublished and virtually unknown, 'A Picture of the Treasury', is one of Bentham’s most remarkable and personal works, and was written during 1801 and 1802 in a period of intense disillusionment and personal crisis. It consists of Bentham's intimate account of his ultimately fruitless negotiations with Treasury and Home Office officials between 1798 and 1802 to build a panopticon penitentiary. Bentham came to the view that the government wished to abandon the panopticon scheme, despite Parliamentary approval and several years of negotiations, planning, and expenditure of public money, and suspected that officials were conspiring to ruin him financially or even drive him to suicide.

Commenting on the award, Professor Philip Schofield, Director of the Bentham Project and General Editor of the Collected Works, said: 'Publication of 'A Picture of the Treasury' for the first time will be landmark in our understanding of the genesis and failure of Bentham's panopticon penitentiary scheme, which is now iconic across many disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. In addition, the intensity of Bentham's anger and distress in 'A Picture of the Treasury' gives credence to the view that the failure of the panopticon scheme was key element in Bentham's transition to democratic republicanism.'

'A Picture of the Treasury' is a major work of some 200,000 words, structured around transcripts of official and unofficial letters, introduced and interpreted by Bentham's own, often sardonic, commentary, together with accounts of meetings and verbatim reports of conversations. The story is told by Bentham with grim, occasionally vicious, humour, revealing Bentham as a masterful satirist. 'A Picture of the Treasury', moreover, gives an unexampled insight into the inner workings of the Home Office and the Treasury at the turn of the nineteenth century. As a major work of autobiography the work will arguably become to be regarded as important as Rousseau's Confessions and John Stuart Mill's Autobiography.

The project team consists of Professor Philip Schofield (Principal Investigator), Dr Tim Causer (Co-Investigator), and Dr Chris Riley (Research Fellow). Work will begin on the project, which last for 30 months, on 1 July 2023. The critical edition of 'A Picture of the Treasury' will be published in open-access by UCL Press. Other outputs of the project will include a conference which will explore the implications of the new text, which will be brought together in an edited collection of essays, also published by UCL Press.

The Bentham Project is delighted to announce that it has received a very generous private donation to bring to completion the outstanding two volumes of the Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham. The Correspondence is part of The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham, and the first twelve volumes were published between 1968 and 2006.

Volume 13 will cover the last years of Bentham's life, from July 1828 until his death at his home at Queen's Square Place, Westminster, on 6 June 1832, and will shed new light on his twilight years. Of wide international renown by the final period of his life, the volume includes correspondents ranging from Daniel O'Connell, who helped in 1829 to secure Catholic emancipation, to the Marquis de Lafayette, and from the Guatemalan politician José del Valle to Andrew Jackson, then President of the United States. Domestically, the correspondence details Bentham's engagement with, and involvement in, British radical and reforming causes, such as the Law Reform Association and the Parliamentary Candidates Society. Rich in biographical detail, the correspondence sheds light on Bentham's personal relationships with friends such as James Mill, Francis Place, George and Harriet Grote, and John Bowring, as well as his family, particularly his brother Samuel and nephew George, later a renowned botanist and president of the Linnaean Society of London. Finally, the correspondence includes details of Bentham's management of his final affairs, including arrangements for the production of an edition of his writings and, after his death, for the dissection and subsequent preservation of his remains as an 'auto-icon'.

Volume 14 will include over 150 letters which have subsequently come to light after the publication of volumes 1–12, as well as a comprehensive series index.
We are incredibly grateful for this donation, which will allow the Bentham Project to complete the edition of Bentham's Correspondence, a landmark in historical, philosophical, biographical, and legal studies. 

  • ISUS 2024 will take place at University College London on 18–20 June 2024. For further information, and the call for papers, please visit the ISUS Conferences page.

  • Published in February 2024: British Modern International Thought in the Making: Politics and Economy from Hobbes to Bentham, edited by Benjamin Bourcier and Mikko Jakonen.

  • Call for Papers: Special Issue of Revue d’études benthamiennes on Queer Utilitarianism.

  • Jeremy Bentham and Australia: Convicts, Utility, and Empire, a collection of essays edited by Professor Philip Schofield, Professor Margot Finn (UCL History), and Dr Tim Causer, was published by UCL Press in open access on 28 April 2022. The essays explore Bentham's writings on Australia, recently published in Panopticon versus New South WalesJeremy Bentham and Australia can be downloaded as a free PDF, or purchased in paperback (£30) or hardback (£45) formats.

  • Panopticon versus New South Wales and other writings on Australia, edited by Dr Tim Causer and Professor Philip Schofield, was published on 24 February 2022. This is the first volume in The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham to be published in open-access and a free PDF can be downloaded from the UCL Press website. The volume can also be purchased in paperback (£25), hardback (£45), and ePub (£0.99) formats.

  • Dr Claire Wrobel's (Université Panthéon-Assas) monograph, Roman noir, réforme et surveillance en Angleterre (1764–1842): Gothique et panoptique, will be published on 30 March 2022. Through a joing reading of the works of Bentham and Ann Radcliffe, Dr Wrobel explores the cultural moment in which they were written as well as the dialectical relationship between penal reform and the Gothic novel. For more information on the book, including how to order it, please download a flyer.

  • At midnight GMT on 27 January, Philip Schofield, Emmanuelle de Champs, and Jeff Kaplan will feature on The Forum on the BBC World Service, discussing the philosophy of Jeremy Bentham. The programme can also be listened to at any time on BBC Sounds using the following link.

  • Register for the online launch on 30 November 2021 of Bentham (Polity Books) by Dr Michael Quinn (Philipps-University, Marburg). The event, which takes place at 16.30–17.30 GMT (17.30–18.30 CET), will be chaired by Dr Angela Marciniak (Justus-Liebig-University, Gießen) and feature commentaries by Professor Regina Kreide (Justus-Liebig-University, Gießen) and Professor Stephen Engelmann (Illinois). To register, please download the event flyer or email sfb138-books@uni-marburg.de, and you will receive an automatic reply with details of how to access the event.

  • Out now from UCL Press: 'Bentham on Police: The Unknown Story and What it Means for Criminology', edited by Scott Jacques and Philip Schofield. To order your copy or download a free open-access .pdf version, please visit the following link.

  • A new issue of the Journal of Bentham Studies is now available, featuring articles by Hend Hanafy (Cambridge) on Bentham, punishment, and the utilitarian use of persons as means; Peter Lythe (UCL) on Bentham on organised religion; and a review of Bentham and the Arts by Dr Claire Wrobel (Université Panthéon-Assas)

  • 'La figure de Saint Paul dans les œuvres de Bentham sur la religion', ed. Jean-Pierre Cléro—a collection of essays on Bentham's writings on religion and St Paul—is now available online. Featuring work by Peter Lythe, Ph.D. student at the Bentham Project.

  • A report on the Bentham Project's recent involvement in a collaborative initiative with members of the University of Toronto to create a HTR model in Transkribus for use on medieval Latin manuscripts featuring a high proportion of abbreviations is now available to read online on the Transcribe Bentham blog. Click here to read more.

  • We are disappointed to announce that the 16th conference of the International Society for Utilitarian Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, which was scheduled to take place on 29–31 July 2021, has now been cancelled. The next ISUS conference will therefore take place in Rome in 2022. Please subscribe to https://tinyletter.com/ISUS for future updates.

  • A recording of Professor Schofield and Dr Tim Causer's online talk of 4 November 2020 to the British Computer Society (Hertfordshire branch) on the work of the Bentham Project is now available on YouTube.

  • The READ project, in which the Bentham Project was a partner and which sought to transform access to the world's archival knowledge through artificial intelligence and machine learning, has been awarded European Commission's Horizon Impact Award for 2020. The award, which received 225 nominations across all disciplines, recognises and celebrates EU-funded research projects whose results have created significant societal impact across Europe and beyond. Read more about the award.

  • Professor Schofield's latest article, entitled 'Jeremy Bentham on Freedom of the Press, Public Opinion, and Good Government', published by Scandinavica, is now available to download or read online.

  • Professor Schofield's article, 'Jeremy Bentham: Nothing but pleasure and pain', has been published online by the Times Literary Supplement.

  • Bentham and the Arts, a collection of essays edited by Professor Anthony Julius (UCL), Professor Malcolm Quinn (UAL), and Professor Philip Schofield (UCL) has been published by UCL Press. The book can be downloaded as a free PDF, or purchased in paperback (£25) or hardback (£45) from the UCL Press website.

  • Read a report about from the successful and well-attended conference on Bentham's Political Economy, convened by Dr Michael Quinn, which took place at Bentham House on 16 and 17 December 2019. A wide range of papers were delivered by scholars from around the world, before an interested and international audience. The programme can be viewed on the conference Eventbrite page.

  • The Bentham Project is delighted to announce that pre-publication versions of Writings on Political Economy, Volume III: Preventive Police, Writings on Political Economy, Volume IV - Circulating Annuities and other writings on National Debt, and Writings on Political Economy, Volume V - Wealth, Money, and Prices, forthcoming volumes of The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham, edited by Dr Michael Quinn, can now be downloaded for free. Volume I and Volume II are available from Oxford University Press.

  • Thanks to a collaboration with the PRHLT research centre at the Universitat Politècnica de València as part of the READ project, a new and more sophisticated tool for the full text searching of over 90,000 images of Bentham's manuscripts is now available. Thanks to PRHLT's processing of these images using cutting-edge handwritten text recognition and probabilistic word indexing technologies, it is possible to search even pages which have not been transcribed.

  • Dr Michael Quinn's paper, 'Bentham on Preventive Police: The Calendar of Delinquency in Evaluation of Policy and the Police Gazette in Manipulation of Opinion', has been published in the International Criminal Justice Review.

  • Writings on Political Economy, Volume II, edited by Dr Michael Quinn, the latest volume of The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham, has been published by Oxford University Press. The volume contains 'Supply without Burthen' and 'Proposals relative to divers modes of Supply', which Bentham drafted in 1794, during an intense period of activity in which he set out systematically to review possible sources of public revenue.

  • You can now follow the International Society for Utilitarian Studies on Twitter and Facebook.

  • An open-access pre-publication version of a volume of The Collected Works of Jeremy BenthamWritings on Political Economy, vol. III: Preventive Police, edited by Dr Michael Quinn, is now available to download from UCL Discovery.

  • The central collection of Bentham's manuscripts, held at UCL Special Collections and The British Library, have now been completely digitised. Read more about the achievement on UCL news or the Transcribe Bentham blog.

  • Read a new article in the Journal of Legal History, by the Bentham Project's Chris Riley, entitled 'Jeremy Bentham and Equity: The Court of Chancery, Lord Eldon, and the Dispatch Court Plan'.

  • Transcribe Bentham is starting a newsletter. Sign up now to hear how we are progressing in the mammoth task of transcribing Bentham's papers. Expect discoveries made by volunteers and Bentham-related news and events.

See previous news and events in our archive.