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BENTHAM, Jeremy.

Panopticon; or, The Inspection House: Containing The Idea of a New Principle of Construction applicable to any Sort of Establishment, in which Persons of any Description are to be kept under Inspection: and in particular to Penitentiary-Houses, Prisons, M

[With:] Panopticon: Postscript; Part I: containing further particulars and alterations relative to the plan of construction originally proposed; Principally adapted to the Purpose of a Panopticon Penitentiary-House. [And:] Panopticon: Postscript; Part II: containing a plan of management for a Panopticon Penitentiary-House.

Dublin printed, London reprinted, & London: T. Payne, 1791 Stock Code: 120454
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First London edition of all three parts of Bentham's famous but abortive Panopticon Penitentiary Scheme. Both the second Postscript and the plates were delayed in being printed and "very few copies of either the London or the Dublin editions have all the engravings According to Bentham, most of the plates were destroyed in a fire at the printer's before publication and the book appeared without them The large folding table designed as an index to the work was not printed until the end of August, three months after the publication of the London edition" (Chuo). It is present here, at the end of part II of the Postscript. The curious imprint to the first volume, "Dublin printed, London reprinted", refers to what Bentham called an "imperfect state" of the book apparently printed for distribution among members of the Irish Government, also in 1791.

The idea was of a building so planned that every part of it could be under the surveillance of a central inspection tower - hence the name Panopticon. Although primarily intended for prisoners, the plan was extended to embrace the management of workhouses, factories and schools. Muirhead writes of this edition, already in 1946: "All three sections of the work are very uncommon at the present time, the second postscript being the scarcest."

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3 parts in 2 volumes, octavo (156 x 98 mm). Contemporary sprinkled calf, neatly rebacked preserving the original flat gilt-ruled spines, red and green morocco labels. Housed in a brown quarter morocco solander box by the Chelsea Bindery.


With folded plate to Postscript part I facing p. 161 and large folding table, "Table to Panopticon", to Postscript part II. Engraved armorial bookplate of Corbet Corbet and Richard Corbet to front pastedown of each volume. Corners professionally restored, small section torn from front free endpaper of vol. II. Complete with the 8-page preface to the first vol., but without the 3 engraved plates as usual; overall a very good set, attractively bound.


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