(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.
From An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945).