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Lawrence, James

Entry updated 12 August 2018. Tagged: Author.

(1773-1840) UK utopian thinker and author, mostly resident in the Continent, who had for several years been expounding the proto-Feminist arguments of his Utopia, The Empire of the Nairs: Or, the Rights of Women: An Utopian Romance in Twelve Books (1811 4vols), beginning with an essay (German title not known) on "The Nair System of Gallantry and Inheritance" (1793 Deutsche Merkur). A version of the novel (considerably different from the separately composed English version) was published as Das Reich der Nairen, oder das Paradies der Liebe (1801 Journal der Romane as "Das Paradies der Liebe"; 1809). In both versions a description of the Nairs of Malabar (in the south of India) percolates through a long romantic narrative. The Nairs enjoy a matrilineal society with no marriage, and their indignation at the state of the world beyond their domain – specifically directed towards lands whose women are subjected to Muslim precepts – generates much martial conflict. [JC]

James Henry Lawrence

born Fairfield estate, Jamaica: 1773

died London: 26 September 1840



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