Analisi degli Elementi di Diritto Criminale.

Modena, con approvazione, 1788.

8vo, pp. 86; very occasional slight spotting, but generally clean and crisp; in later magenta wrappers; extremities faded and with slight foxing, and one-inch tear to lower wrapper.


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First edition thus, very rare. The writer of the preface discloses that this ‘picciol’ volume of Renazzi’s work was needed to make the concepts of his Elementa accessible to the layman, so that anyone could comfortably approach a complete and distinct idea of the work. It deserved being translated into Italian, he says, in order to make it ‘piú piana, piú utile, e piú adattata a commune vantaggio, ed a miglior istruzione degli Studiosi della Scienza del Diritto Criminale’ (p. 4).

‘Perhaps the first [work] in that age to reduce the material of crimes and punishment to a scientific system’, Renazzi’s Elementa expanded on his belief that what was needed was a purification of the criminal law which had become, as he found it, impeded by its own weight; he ‘commended Beccaria and, like him, called for greater attention to the prevention of evil than to sharpening punishments’, and was ‘clearly seen in his work as one who understood his age, […] marked by good judgment and dignity’ (Rome in the Age of Enlightenment, 1990, p. 219). Renazzi, professor at the Sapienza, was a conservative Roman jurist who is best known for his writings against Rousseau’s Contrat Social. A renowned thinker in eighteenth-century Italy, Renazzi wrote on a range of topics, from jurisprudence, criminal procedure and public morality, to poetry, magic and witchcraft. He published his celebrated work on criminal law, the Elementa juris criminalis, in four volumes (Rome, 1773-81), a collection which became influential in the Italian states and went through several editions in both Latin and Italian into the nineteenth century. ‘D’un nuovo metodo’ of criminal science, Renazzi intended his work to follow in the footsteps of Grotius, Pufendorf and Montesqueiu.

This edition not found on COPAC or in any US institution. Worldcat records just one copy, in Heidelberg.

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