In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

HUMANITIES 411 away: a reworking of Beattie's 'Where twilight loves to linger for a while' (p 126). Even the failure of the Romantic poets to admit that they resembled Edwin is proof of his influence: 'one may assume that their silence indicates a deep-rooted preoccupation with Edwin as the personification of the largely unspoken fears and hopes of their own early poetic lives' (p 129). It is regrettable that this part of the book should have been thus vitiated, for the question of Beattie's influence on the next literary generation was one eminently worth pursuing. It still is. (JOHN D. BAIRD) Douglas G. Long. Bentham 011 Liberty:Jeremy Bentham's Idea of Liberty in Relation to His Utilitarianism University of Toronto Press. xvi, 294. $22.50 To those who go to do battle with Jeremy Bentham's manuscripts is due, at the least, resounding applause; to those, no matter how scarred, who return with valuable interpretations, obeisance seems appropriate. So it is with Douglas Long, who in Bentham on Liberty gives us the results of his investigation of a theme, political and social liberty, which is, in its easy form, important perhaps more to Benthamites than to Bentham. Like all else in Bentham, the theme cannot be studied or exposited in isolation from his view of utility, and Long gives a full and adequate justification of his subtitle. What he also deserves great credit for is placing Bentham firmly in the eighteenth century. Most recent writings on Bentham - and the challenging and splendidly begun Collected Works will reinforce the tendency have helped to correct the imbalance caused by earlier writers interested more in Bentham's nineteenth-century (and twentieth-century) heirs. None the less, especially in the current historical debate about the growth in Britain of administration and bureaucracy, many contextual comments imply that not just the application but the generation of Bentham's ideas began after the sage's sixtieth year - or even after his death in 1832. Those who read Long will surely avoid this danger, for here Bentham is portrayed as an English philosophe, wide-ranging and confident in his projects and inventions, universal in his interests and hopes, with a healthy regard for realities, even if his personal experience was limited. With reference to Long's· central theme, what emerges from this background (which includes brief but sensible accounts of influences) is that 'security' is paramount over 'liberty: or, indeed, that liberty properly understood is a branch of true security, and therefore depends on what provides security, the coercion oflaw in the interest of happiness. It is quite impossible in short compass to do justice to Long's argument, but one may safely recommend, for those too impatient to dwell in the 412 LETTERS IN CANADA 1977 sauna of Benthamic exposition, the short concluding chapter (which is slightly marred by the admittedly anachronistic comparison of Bentham to B.F. Skinner). Some flaws must be mentioned. It is simply a fact that no one emerges from the Bentham manuscripts unscarred, including Long, who has laboured more than anyone else on what he designates the 'Preparatory Manuscripts: which crop up like King Charles's Head throughout the book. (Without, alas, any guidance as to the proper reading of the phrenological bumps, the editorial apparatus of brackets and slashes being unexplained. And see also the unhelpful description of the changes in the passage printed on pp 84-5.) The fault is most certainly excusable, especially in default of a reliable published canon (Long attempts an apology for Bentham on that account [see p 691 and nearly brings it off - but then Bentham never quite brought it off), but some readers will find the road mired. The proofreading was not of the high quality of the research, and the VIP setting makes one regret some aspects of technological change. But the design of the jacketless cover is a change of the right kind. Virtues, however, triumph: it has been all too easy to see Bentham steadily; Long helps us towards seeing him whole. (JOHN M. ROBSON) Ronald B. Hatch. Crabbe's Arabesque: Social Drama in thePoetry ofGeorge Crabbe McGill-Queen's University Press 1976. xvi, 284. $14...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 411-412
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.