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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Thurs. April 26: Book Talk by John Bessler

The Celebrated Marquis: An Italian Noble and the Making of the Modern World

When:  April 26, 2018 - 5:00-7:00 p.m., Room 50
A reception will follow in the Law School’s Lindquist and Vennum Conference Room.

John Bessler will give a book talk on his new book, The Celebrated Marquis: An Italian Noble and the Making of the Modern World (2018), a fascinating account of Cesare Beccaria and his landmark book that castigated judicial torture, the death penalty, and religious intolerance. Beccaria's Dei delitti e delle pene (1764) was translated quickly into French and English (as An Essay on Crimes and Punishments) and despite its controversial and prohibited ideas became a runaway bestseller. Beccaria and his book provided the spur to 18th-century penal law reform and modern criminology, and deeply influenced the likes of Jeremy Bentham, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. 

A leading scholar on Beccaria, Bessler will discuss the importance of Beccaria's views in a trans-Atlantic context in which ideas flowed freely through France and Italy, England and America, and back again. Beccaria's ringing calls against torture and the death penalty, and his utilitarian views on punishment, resonated throughout Europe and proceeded to shape constitutions and laws around the globe. 

In addition, the talk will highlight several copies of Beccaria's key work in the Law Library and Riesenfeld Center's collections, as well as works that influenced and were influenced by the Essay on Crimes and Punishments.

John Bessler is a Professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law and a Visiting Researcher at the Law School's Human Rights Center.  

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