John McIntyre, whom James Wolcott calls "the Dave Brubeck of the art and craft of copy editing," writes on language, editing, journalism, and random topics. Identifying his errors relieves him of the burden of omniscience. Write to jemcintyre@gmail.com, befriend at Facebook, or follow at Twitter: @johnemcintyre. The original site, http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/mcintyre/blog/, at www.baltimoresun.com/news/language-blog/, and now at https://www.baltimoresun.com/opinion/columnists/mcintyre/

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The philosopher's mummy

On this date in 1832, the Utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham died at the age of 44. Pursuant to his instructions, his body was preserved; it now sits, dressed, in a glass case in University College London. (Image.)

If your interest extends beyond the sensational — the drive-by stare — to the historico-socio-politico-medico-theologico elements of the philosopher’s mummy, an essay by James E. Crimmins on Bentham’s will and the pamphlet “Auto-Icon” offers a considerable fund of information.