Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Who is John F McLennan? :: Essays Papers

Who is John F McLennan? John Ferguson McLennan was born on October 14, 1827. Although his life centered on a legal career he always had the desire to enter the academic world. McLennan studied law in Edinburgh, Scotland. He practiced under the Scottish bar until 1870. However, he was not a successful advocate of this profession because instead of studying and supporting the law he chose to argue over its conventions. This is shown by the fact that in 1868, he became the secretary of the Scottish Society for the amendment of the Law (Rivià ¨re). Primitive Marriage was published in 1865 and according to J.B. Tylor was a type of law book that had â€Å"the natural and immediate effect of losing him half his briefs (Rivià ¨re)." McLennan’s dissatisfaction for his chosen profession prompted him to apply for a professorship at Cambridge. His interest did not stop there and McLennan continued to interacted with those in the science community. His house became an informal meeting place of the academic co mmunity that discussed literary and scientific findings. Interestingly enough McLennan was not apart of the Ethnological Society of London which included notable figures of the time including Sir John Lubbock and E.B. Tylor. The main objective of the society was to inquire â€Å"into the distinguishing characteristics, physical and moral, of the varieties of mankind which inhabit or have inhabited the Earth; and to ascertain the causes of such characteristics (Burrows, 122).† McLennan’s feud with Lewis Henry Morgan became a topic of controversy in the 19th century. They meet in London in 1871 and initially became quite good friends. In fact Morgan knew of McLennan’s desire to enter the academic world and wrote to President of White of Cornell University encouraging him to give McLennan an academic appointment. Their relationship took a turn because of their disagreement over â€Å"the validity of their respective evolutionary frameworks, the nature of relationship terminologies, and the true meaning of exogamy and endogamy (Rivià ¨re).† McLennan’s dispute with Morgan masked the main adversary to his work, Sir Henry Maine. Maine’s Ancient Law promoted McLennan to place his own ideals in an evolutionary framework and at the same time disputed Maine’s patriarchal theory. Although Primitive Marriage is not an apparent attack on Maine’s theory, McLennan’s disagreement appears more strongly in his later works. McLennan used the comparative method as well as the universal belief of human nature to try to answer the question of marriage by capture.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.