George Bentham: Autobiography, 1800-1834
Published: January 1997© 1997
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Page Count: 728 Pages
Dimensions: 6.00 x 9.00
728 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
Ebook - PDF
In this autobiography of his early life (1800-1834), George Bentham, nephew of the great Utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham, offers a lively depiction of the times, both in England and on the Continent, particularly of post-Napoleonic France, where he lived with his family for twelve years. Returning to London as his uncle Jeremy's assistant, he recounts his experiences in this role and his encounters with many of the leading, and the rising, figures of the day, such as Alexander von Humboldt and John Stuart Mill.
An emerging figure himself in the field of botany - where he would prove to be one of the great taxonomists of the century - George Bentham worked creatively for the scientific societies he joined, activity that culminated in his becoming an unofficial ambassodor-at-large at scientific congresses in Europe in the 1830s, which he describes in enthusiastic detail.
The text of the manuscript, preserved in the Archives of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, is published here for the first time, with an introduction providing historical context, explanatory notes, and indexes of plant names and of persons and works mentioned. A fascinating story in itself, this autobiography provides a new resource for Utilitarian studies and for historians of science.