Cesare Beccaria

(224 words)
  • Editors

Beccaria was born into the lesser aristocracy of Milan and educated in a repressive Jesuit academy which he detested. He then studied law at the University of Pavia, graduating in 1758. He became friends with Count Pietro Verri, with whom he set up a literary society which became a meeting point for Enlightenment intellectuals. In 1764 he published his widely-influential Dei delitti e delle pene [Of Crimes and Punishments] in which he advocated the abolition of torture, the death penalty and secret trials, and advocated penalties proportionate to the crime which would reform the individual and prepare them to resume a normal social life. His work was particularly taken up by the philosophes in France, …

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Editors. "Cesare Beccaria". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 15 September 2002
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=320, accessed 05 July 2015.]