Between the Lines: Freemasonry’s Presence in Literature 

Freemasonry in Literature: An Analytical Perspective

Freemasonry, one of the oldest and most well-known fraternal organizations in the world, has long been a subject of fascination and intrigue.

With roots dating back to the medieval stonemason guilds and its development into a modern secret society with its rituals, symbols, and philosophies, Freemasonry has captured the imagination of many, including some of the greatest literary minds.

In this article, we will delve into the ways Freemasonry has been portrayed in literature, explore the significance of its presence in various works, and examine its impact on popular culture.

Freemasonry in Classic Literature

Many well-known authors and poets have been Freemasons themselves or have been influenced by the organization’s philosophies and symbols. Some examples of Freemasons in literature and their popular works include:

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The creator of the legendary detective Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, was a Freemason. In his stories, “The Adventure of the Norwood Builder” and “The Adventure of the Red Circle,” he included references to Freemasonry. In “The Norwood Builder,” a character claims to be a Mason and even uses Masonic signs to convince Holmes of his sincerity.

Robert Burns

The celebrated Scottish poet and Freemason, Robert Burns, included Masonic references in some of his most famous works. Both “Auld Lang Syne” and “For A’ That and A’ That” contain Masonic symbolism, emphasizing the themes of brotherly love and equality that are central to Freemasonry.

Washington Irving

The American author Washington Irving, best known for his short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” also included a Masonic reference in his work. The story’s main character, Ichabod Crane, finds a mysterious Masonic apron, which plays a role in the tale’s suspenseful climax.

Edgar Allan Poe

Though not a Freemason himself, Edgar Allan Poe was familiar with the organization and its symbols. In his story “The Cask of Amontillado,” he included a reference to the Masonic handshake, which serves as a subtle clue to the story’s chilling conclusion.

Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling, the author of “The Jungle Book” and a Freemason, created one of the most famous stories about Freemasonry in his novella “The Man Who Would Be King.” The story follows two Freemasons who travel to a remote part of Afghanistan and attempt to establish themselves as rulers, with disastrous consequences.

 

Freemasonry in Modern Literature

In more recent literature, Freemasonry has continued to be a source of inspiration for authors. Some popular works that include Masonic references are:

Dan Brown

The bestselling author Dan Brown has included themes of Freemasonry in two of his novels: “The Da Vinci Code” and “The Lost Symbol.” In “The Da Vinci Code,” Brown explores the idea of a hidden history and secret knowledge guarded by organizations like the Freemasons. In “The Lost Symbol,” Brown delves deeper into the world of Freemasonry, with the protagonist, Robert Langdon, uncovering Masonic secrets and symbols throughout the story.

Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas

In “The Hiram Key,” authors and Freemasons Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas present a controversial theory about the origins of Freemasonry, linking it to ancient Egyptian mystery schools and biblical figures. While the book is non-fiction, it has contributed to the popularization of Freemasonry in literature and inspired many fictional works.

 

Analyzing the Presence of Freemasonry in Literature

The presence of Freemasonry in literature can be analysed from various perspectives. One approach is to examine the role that Freemasonry plays in the narrative and how it influences the characters and plot. For example, in “The Man Who Would Be King,” Freemasonry is central to the story, with the protagonists’ Masonic ties leading them on their ill-fated adventure.

Another perspective is to consider the symbolism and allegory present in works with Masonic themes. Freemasonry is rich in symbols and allegories, which can be used to convey deeper meanings and moral lessons in literature. For instance, the Masonic apron found in “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” can be seen as a symbol of the hidden truths and mysteries that lie beneath the surface of everyday life.

Finally, one can analyse the broader cultural impact and significance of Freemasonry in literature. The inclusion of Masonic themes and references in popular works has contributed to the organization’s mystique and public fascination. It has also led to the proliferation of conspiracy theories and misconceptions about Freemasonry, as seen in books like “The Da Vinci Code” and “The Hiram Key.”

 

Conclusion

Freemasonry in literature is a fascinating subject that offers insights into the organization’s influence on some of the world’s greatest literary minds. From classic works by authors like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Rudyard Kipling to modern bestsellers by Dan Brown, Freemasonry has left an indelible mark on the literary landscape.

Analysing the presence of Freemasonry in literature allows us to explore the organization’s impact on culture, art, and society, and sheds light on the enduring allure of secret societies and hidden knowledge.

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Never again will a Freemason be caught out by a last-minute request to make a response. - Taken by Surprise by Yasha Beresiner

Book review - The Tracing Boards of the First Degree

The Tracing Board is a picture that encloses the quintessence of the ritual of the Degree and transmits it through symbols and images. By Enrico Marcia

Book Review - The Other Brotherhood: When Freemasonry Crossed the English Channel

An excellent book, being perfect for Freemasons and non-Freemasons alike who want to explore the origins of Freemasonry and to examine how it influenced French thought in the eighteenth century

book review - Whence Come You

The message of the book is essentially one of Freemasonry being unequivocally esoteric – spiritual – and that is something that many Masons may balk at but it is a topic that needs discussing rationally.

Book Review - Becoming a Craftsman -The Masonic Tutor's Handbooks: Volume 3

Becoming a Craftsman -The Masonic Tutor's Handbooks: Volume 3 - The relationship between a Fellowcraft and their Master is how the traditional wisdom of our Craft is passed on.

Book Review - Freemasonry in London from 1785

This book is a well-researched study by a competent masonic scholar who has welded links from the changing scenes that arose in an era in which the most important step forward in organised Freemasonry was taken…

Book Review - The Masonry of the «Moderns»: History and Rituality

The Masonic ritual world dates back to the 18th century, both from England and from France, which is still our most valuable reference.

Book Review - Meditations of a Flawed Ashlar

Many readers will probably be familiar with Bill Hosler – he is a much-respected and veteran American Freemason and a regular contributor to the Midnight Freemasons blog.

Book Review - Three Stages of Initiatic Spirituality - Angel Millar

Angel Millar is a well-known lecturer on Freemasonry, initiation, and esotericism as well as an artist and student of the martial arts. The author of several books.

Book Review - The Rite of Seven Degrees

This book examines the deeply esoteric eighteenth-century Rite of Seven Degrees.

Book Review - The Green Book of the Elus Coens

The Green Book of the Élus Coëns is the most fascinating insight yet into the secrets and mysteries of the eighteenth century’s most esoteric of masonic societies – The Order of Knight-Mason Elect-Cohens of the Universe.

Book Review - Freemasonry for the Heart and Mind

Freemasonry for the Heart and Mind: A glance at Freemasonry during the Enlightenment and the American and French revolutions.

Book Review - The Masonic Pageant

The Masonic Pageant is published by Cornerstone Book Publishers and features a nice foreword by Chris Hodapp, 33°.

DVD Review - A Mighty Good Man

A drama-documentary of the life of Elias Ashmole including a reconstruction of the first personally recorded Free Masonic Initiation into a Lodge anywhere in the world.

Book Review - Invisibles

It is reasonable to suggest that when published, Invisibles was the most comprehensive, comparative study, to date, of the Rosicrucian mega-meme.

Book Review - Mnemonic Methods

Within this book 'Mnemonic Methods by Robert Fludd', translator Paul Ferguson introduces us to the English translation of two of Fludd's short treatises on memory

Book Review - English Illuminati

This book gives us a deep look into the European occult revival of the late nineteenth century and some of its key figures…

Book Review - Emulation: A Ritual to Remember

How does one begin to review a masonic classic which has faithfully served generations? Perhaps starting with the title Emulation: A Ritual to Remember.

Book Review - The Rosslyn Hoax

Robert Cooper asks, would you like to know the truth about Rosslyn Chapel ?

Book Review - Mastering Masonic Ritual

Mastering Masonic Ritual is focused on preparing for a successful and fulfilling journey around the floor to the Chair.

Book Review - Companions of Christian Rosenkreutz

A review of Companions of Christian Rosenkreutz - Collected Papers 2008-2016

Book Review - Freemasonry: Material Moral and Mystical

A review of Freemasonry: Material, Moral, and Mystical by Tony Baker

Book Review - The Masonic Tutor's Handbook 2

A review of The Masonic Tutor's Handbooks: Vol 2 - Freemasonry - After Covid 19 by Robert Lomas

Book Review - Three Distinct Knocks - John Meeks

"Why don't these new guys come back?" This is the question I often hear; and it is this same question that pushed me to write this book. - John Meek

Book Review - Soldier and Mason

Soldier and Mason: The Life of Charles Warren Napier-Clavering

Book Review - Bohemian Masonic Glass

A completely unique narrative publication mapping the phenomenon of glass production for the needs of Masonic lodges

Book Review - This Chequered Existence

Gerald Reilly reviews this new book covering the near-modern history of Freemasonry in England and Wales during the 20th-century.

Book Review - The EA, FC, MM Handbooks

Essential reading for every Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason - these seminal books by J.S.M Ward are what every Mason needs!

Book Review - The Freemasons who won America's War for Independence

Find out who were the Freemasons who won America's War for Independence

Book Review - Black Freemasonry: From Prince Hall to the Giants of Jazz

A book review of Black Freemasonry: From Prince Hall to the Giants of Jazz by Cécile Révauger

Book Review - Crime and the Craft

Crime and the Craft reveals that the Freemasons have been involved in treason, murder, conspiracy, fraud, and scandal from the time of the English Civil War to the 1980s.

Book Review - Focus on Ric Berman

Focus on Ric Berman a British historian who writes about the intersection of freemasonry, politics and society.

Book Review - The Temple That Never Sleeps

Freemasons and E-Masonry Toward a New Paradigm

Book Review - The Secret School of Wisdom

The Authentic Rituals and Doctrines of the Illuminati is a pioneering text

Book Review - Charles Warren: Royal Engineer in the Age of Empire

Sir Charles Warren, the Police Commissioner who failed to catch 'Jack the Ripper'

Book Review - Freemasonry and the Press in the Twentieth Century

During the latter part of the twentieth century, the Press and Freemasonry had a tense relationship.

Book Review - Who was Hiram Abiff?

Every Freemason must have at some point asked himself the above question.

The Masonic Book Club (MBC)

The new MBC will have a different business model than the old.

Book Review - Jesse James and the Lost Templar Treasure

Lost Templar Treasure: Secret Diaries, Coded Maps, and the Knights of the Golden Circle

Book Review - The Enigma of the Royal Arch

Royal Arch What's it all about

Book Review - The Craft

Review of the new book The Craft by John Dickie, Professor of Italian Studies at University College London

Book Review - For Hills and Valleys

For Hills and Valleys, Mobile Schools and Republicanism in the Zêzere Valley By Aires Henriques

DVD Review - 33 and Beyond: The Royal Art of Freemasonry

33 & Beyond: The Royal Art of Freemasonry, is perhaps the most fascinating and important documentary ever made on the on the subject matter of Freemasonry.

Book Review - History of Freemasonry in Bessarabia

Book review by guest reviewer Gheorghe Bichicean on the History of Freemasonry in Bessarabia by Alexandru Rufanda

Game Review - On The Square

A new Board Game based on The Freemasons

Book Review - The Lost Keys of Freemasonry

Introduction to The Lost Keys of Freemasonry by Manly P. Hall

Prestonian Lecture 2020

A system of morality – Aristotle and the making of the ritual by Professor G.R. Boys-Stones

Book Review - History of the Grand Orient of Italy

In depth book review in to the History of the Grand Orient of Italy by the author

Book Review – Freemasonry It's Hidden Meaning

Youtube Book review by Baruti KMT-Sisouvong

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