Cesare Beccaria's On Crime and Punishments and Eighteenth-Century Britain: Law, History, Philosophy, Literature. A Two-Way Perspective

Closing date for submissions: 
15 January, 2017
Event dates: 
13.09.2017 - 15.09.2017

 In 1767 Beccaria’s treatise appeared in English for the first time, under the title of An Essay on Crimes and Punishments. On the 250th anniversary of this translation, the conference intends to draw attention to the early reception of Beccaria’s text in the English-speaking countries and to his possible debt and contribution to contemporary British thought. Unlike the relations between Beccaria and the French world, which over the centuries have stimulated a considerable number of studies, the presence of England in Beccaria’s works and his own impact on British philosophy, politics and culture has, in general, been comparatively under-researched. We aim to start filling this gap.

This conference is calling for papers in order to help to map the cultural, philosophical, literary and political network linking the British and Anglo-American worlds with the Milanese group to which Beccaria and the Verri brothers belonged. We welcome papers focused on exchanges between English-speaking countries and northern Italy and vice versa.

Possible subjects related to the theme of the conference might, for instance, include:
Addison’s The Spectator and the works of the Milanese group; the presence of Italian intellectuals in the British academies of the time, and vice versa; the role of contemporary Italian expatriates in Britain and of British expatriates and travellers in Italy; newspapers and periodicals; pamphlets; the book-market; parliamentary debates, etc. From a philosophical perspective, possible topics might also include the textual presentation of the law, the debates relating to justice, torture, the death penalty, and science and happiness. So the choice and methods of approach are set wide, in the hope of stimulating research across as broad a spectrum of intellectual activity as possible.

In addition to the impact of Beccaria’s ideas on America’s Founding Fathers, on English penal theory and practice, and on Jeremy Bentham, a number of other possible subjects suggest themselves. These include Beccaria and various figures of the Scottish Enlightenment, poetry as well as novels (such as Goldsmith’s The Vicar of Wakefield, Godwin’s Caleb Williams, Radcliffe’s The Italian, and Holcroft’s Memoirs of Brian Perdue).

The opening plenary speaker will be Gianni Francioni, who is the editor of the National Edition of On Crimes and Punishments and the General Editor of the National Edition of all Beccaria’s works.
Proposals are invited for 20-minute papers.

Abstracts in Italian, English or French, of 200 words maximum, should be sent to John Dunkley ( ) and Rosamaria Loretelli ( ), headed ANGLO-ITALIAN CONFERENCE, by January 15, 2017. The registration fee, which will cover a reception and two lunches, will be 70 euros, to be transferred to the bank account of Sapienza Università di Roma, IBAN IT 71 I 02008 05227 000400014148, BIC SWIFT code: UNCRITM1153, under the heading of “DIPARTIMENTO 316, ANGLO-ITALIAN CONFERENCE”, specifying the name of the payer in case it is not the bank account holder. Please, under the same heading also send a scanned receipt for the payment to the Executive Secretariat:

Organizing Committee: Rosamaria Loretelli, John Dunkley, Riccardo Capoferro.

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