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James Henry Lawrence

(1773—1840) writer


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(1773–1840), author of a feminist and freelove theory which exercised considerable influence on both literary intellectuals and working-class radicals. Born of Jamaican colonist stock and educated at Eton and in Germany, Lawrence came to literary notice in Britain in 1811 when he published a four-volume romance, The Empire of the Nairs, which illustrated and advocated the matriarchal and freelove practices of the Nair people of the Malabar coast in Kerala. A noble caste of Hindus, the Nairs had come under the rulership of the East India Company in 1792: their matrilineal and matrilocal practices inspired Lawrence to publish in the following year an essay in German for Wieland advocating the Nair system. Schiller, too, was intrigued by Lawrence's suggestions.

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From An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945).


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