Brotherly Love: Freemasonry and Male Friendship in Enlightenment France by Kenneth LoiselleBrotherly Love: Freemasonry and Male Friendship in Enlightenment France by Kenneth Loiselle

Brotherly Love: Freemasonry and Male Friendship in Enlightenment France

byKenneth Loiselle

Hardcover | August 5, 2014

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Friendship, an acquired relationship primarily based on choice rather than birth, lay at the heart of Enlightenment preoccupations with sociability and the formation of the private sphere. In Brotherly Love, Kenneth Loiselle argues that Freemasonry is an ideal arena in which to explore the changing nature of male friendship in Enlightenment France. Freemasonry was the largest and most diverse voluntary organization in the decades before the French Revolution. At least fifty thousand Frenchmen joined lodges, the memberships of which ranged across the social spectrum from skilled artisans to the highest ranks of the nobility. Loiselle argues that men were attracted to Freemasonry because it enabled them to cultivate enduring friendships that were egalitarian and grounded in emotion.

Drawing on scores of archives, including private letters, rituals, the minutes of lodge meetings, and the speeches of many Freemasons, Loiselle reveals the thought processes of the visionaries who founded this movement, the ways in which its members maintained friendships both within and beyond the lodge, and the seemingly paradoxical place women occupied within this friendship community. Masonic friendship endured into the tumultuous revolutionary era, although the revolutionary leadership suppressed most of the lodges by 1794. Loiselle not only examines the place of friendship in eighteenth-century society and culture but also contributes to the history of emotions and masculinity, and the essential debate over the relationship between the Enlightenment and the French Revolution.

Kenneth Loiselle is Associate Professor of History at Trinity University. He is coeditor of Diffusions et circulations des pratiques maçonniques, XVIIIe-XXe siècles.
Title:Brotherly Love: Freemasonry and Male Friendship in Enlightenment FranceFormat:HardcoverDimensions:9.25 × 6.13 × 0.39 inPublished:August 5, 2014Publisher:CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESSLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801452430

ISBN - 13:9780801452437

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Table of Contents


1. The Masonic Utopia of Friendship

2. Friendship in Ritual

3. Confronting the Specter of Sodomy

4. "New but True Friends": The Friendship Network of Philippe-Valentin Bertin du Rocheret

5. Friendship in the Age of Sensibility

6. Friendship under Fire: Freemasonry in the French Revolution



Editorial Reviews

"Freemasonry constituted the largest secular voluntary associative network in eighteenth-century France. As Kenneth Loiselle shows in this absorbing, penetrating colorfully textured study, the Masonic lodge also offered a kind of Enlightenment laboratory for experimentation in personal subjectivity and relations of male friendship. Impressively researched and elegantly written, Brotherly Love offers a compelling vision of what it felt like to feel as well as to think in the French Enlightenment."—Colin Jones, Queen Mary, University of London, author of The Great Nation: France from Louis XV to Napoleon​