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Published in 1764, On Crimes and Punishments by Cesare Beccaria (1738?1794) courted both success and controversy in Europe and North America. Enlightenment luminaries and enlightened monarchs alike lauded the text and looked to it for ideas that might help guide the various reform projects of the day. The equality of every citizen before the law, the right to a fair trial, the abolition of the death penalty, the elimination of the use of torture in criminal interrogations?these are but a few of the vital arguments articulated by Beccaria.
This volume offers a new English translation of On Crimes and Punishment alongside writings by a number of Beccaria?s contemporaries. Of particular interest is Voltaire?s commentary on the text, which is included in its entirety. The supplementary materials testify not only to the power and significance of Beccaria?s ideas, but to the controversial reception of his book. At the same time that philosophes proclaimed that it contained principles of enduring importance to any society grappling with matters of political and criminal justice, allies of the ancien régime roundly denounced it, fearing that the book?s attack on feudal privileges and its call to separate law from religion (and thus crime from sin) would undermine their longstanding privileges and powers.
Long appreciated as a foundational text in criminology, Beccaria?s arguments have become central in debates over capital punishment. This new edition presents Beccaria?s On Crimes and Punishments as an important and influential work of Enlightenment political theory.
|Publisher:||University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division|
|Series:||Lorenzo Da Ponte Italian Library|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||2 MB|
About the Author
Aaron Thomas is a doctoral candidate specializing in Political Theory and Italian Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Jeremy Parzen earned his Ph.D. in Italian Literature at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is an independent scholar living in New York City.
Table of Contents
Foreword Bryan Stevenson ix
Preface Aaron Thomas xv
Introduction: Between Law and Politics - The Idea of Equality in On Crimes and Punishments Alberto Burgio xxxiii
Part I On Crimes and Punishments 1
Part II Contemporary Reactions to On Crimes and Punishments 87
Ferdinando Facchinei, from Notes and Observations on the Book Entitled 'On Crimes and Punishments' (1765) 89
Pietro and Alessandro Verri, from Response to a Writing Entitled 'Notes and Observations on the Book "On Crimes and Punishments"' (1765) 102
Voltaire, Commentary on the Book On Crimes and Punishments, by a Provincial Lawyer (1766) 113
Part III Revisiting the Death Penalty 00
Opinion of the Undersigned Members of the Committee Charged with the Reform of the Criminal System in Austrian Lombardy for Matters Pertaining to Capital Punishment (1792) 153
Note on the Texts 161