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The Bentham Brothers and Russia: The Imperial Russian Constitution and the St Petersburg Panopticon
by Roger Bartlett
University College London, 2022
Cloth: 978-1-80008-239-7 | Paper: 978-1-80008-238-0

A full account of the St Petersburg Panopticon, the only panopticon built by the Bentham brothers themselves.

The jurist and philosopher, Jeremy Bentham, and his lesser-known brother, Samuel, a talented naval architect, engineer, and inventor, had a long love affair with Russia. Jeremy hoped to assist Empress Catherine II with her legislative projects. Samuel went to St Petersburg to seek his fortune in 1780 and came back with the rank of Brigadier-General and the idea, famously publicized by Jeremy, of the Panopticon. The Bentham Brothers and Russia chronicles the brothers’ later involvement with the Russian Empire when Jeremy focused his legislative hopes on Catherine’s grandson Emperor Alexander I and Samuel found a unique opportunity to build a Panopticon in St Petersburg—the only one ever built by the Benthams themselves. Setting the Benthams’ projects within an in-depth portrayal of the Russian context, Roger Bartlett illuminates an important facet of their later careers and offers insight into their worldview and thought. He also contributes to the history of legal codification in Russia and the demythologizing of the Panopticon, made notorious by Michel Foucault.

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