What is the “Auto-icon”?

Thomas Reid and Jeremy Bentham Read more from
Chapter The Enlightenment Period

Jeremy Bentham founded University College in London and bequeathed to it something called the “Auto-icon,” which contains his own embalmed body. After his death in 1832, the philosopher had his remains preserved and put on display in this large cabinet. It is said that the College Council depends on Bentham to resolve tied votes, a rumor the Council denies utterly. The head on display in the Auto-icon is bogus, however, as the original head was stored more securely elsewhere after it was damaged by student pranksters.


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