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Law in a Gaelic Utopia: Perceptions of Brehon Law in Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Ireland
Mohr, Thomas
It is well known that the term “utopia” was invented by a lawyer. The word was used by Sir Thomas More as the title of his famous work describing an ideal commonwealth situated on a fictitious island in the New World. “Utopia” literally means “nowhere” or “no place” in Latin but since the publication of More’s book in 1516 the word has acquired a different meaning in the English language. It is now generally understood to mean “good place” or “ideal place” with connotations of impracticality and unattainability. Yet, in a broad sense the word “utopia” can mean much more than an imaginary idyllic land. In many ways a utopia represents an expression of desire on the part of its author. Following this reasoning, one might say that utopia is little more than a means of expressing ideal dreams of human happiness. Taken in this context, a utopia need not be a place at all. Alternatively, a utopia can be defined in terms of time. For many people this means an ideal future. Much of the genre of science fiction is dependent on utopias of this sort. For other people utopia lies in the past, in the idea of the Golden Age, a concept that is probably common to most cultures.
Keyword(s): Utopia; Expression of desire; Gaelic utopia; Nineteenth century; Twentieth century; Ireland; Irish law
Publication Date:
Type: Book chapter
Peer-Reviewed: Unknown
Language(s): English
Institution: University College Dublin
Publisher(s): Martin Meidenbauer
First Indexed: 2019-05-25 06:15:14 Last Updated: 2019-05-25 06:15:14