BENTHAM, Jeremy (1748-1832)
Chrestomathia: being a Collection of Papers, explanatory of the Design of an Institution, proposed to be set on Foot, under the name of the Chrestomathic Day School
London: J. M'Creery, 1816-17. 8vo, 2 parts in 1 volume. (8 1/2 x 5 1/4 inches). Half-title, duplicate half-title after p. [xxii], advertisement leaf, section-title to 'Chrestomathic Tables,Table II', corrigenda leaf to part 2, 5 folding tables.
Contemporary tan calf
Provenance: Richard Davey (bookplate)
The first collected edition, including a second edition of the first part (originally published privately the year before) and first edition of the second part, of Bentham's educational reform ideas for a radical new day school centered on utilitarianism.
Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) was an English philosopher and jurist who was especially known for his principle of utilitarianism and contributions to political and moral philosophy. He influenced many subsequent thinkers including John Stuart Mill, the legal philosopher John Austin, and Robert Owen, one of the founders of utopian socialism. His ideas also influenced prison, education, and governmental reform. Bentham's initial interest in writing Chrestomathia came when his friend, the philosopher James Mill, complained about the lack of an effective education for his children in English schools. Bentham set about making the plans for a school which would serve the middle classes which turned into Chrestomathia, a radical new day school that would emphasize utilitarianism in all aspects. At this Chrestomathic school, the curriculum was comprehensive, including natural history, sciences, grammar, history, mathematics, and more. One of Bentham's reform ideas was for a model prison, the "Panopticon," which Bentham also thought was applicable to factories, hospitals and schools, including Chrestomathia which would have the panopticon as its architectural organizing design to keep students under constant inspection. The school would also use Bell's monitorial system, hiring an immense number of teaching assistants to educate as many children at one time as possible. In the end, the Chrestomathic school was never built either due to lack of funds or managerial differences between Bentham and others, though Bentham's plans for it are very reflective of the educational trends of his time and future educational reforms.
Itzkin 303; Goldsmiths 21357; Everett p. 528.