The Centre was established in 2001, with Professor Andrew Prescott as its founding director. This lecture will be Dr. Önnerfors' first as the Centre's new director.
The establishment of freemasonry in Great Britain and Europe runs parallel to the development of Enlightenment culture. As many historians have pointed out, this period is characterised by the emerge of new forms of sociability and social space. Reinhart Koselleck speaks about 'the secret' and 'the public' as a 'twin pair' of Enlightenment. The secret in the sense of a new private space (where freemasonry and other fraternal organisations have a given place) and the public (especially the press) have been analysed as two fields with few interrelations. But when it comes to the analysis of freemasonry, this distinction is
blurred. Not only is freemasonry vastly treated in the very special and popular genre of exposures, it emerged also as a standard topic of 18th century journals, magazines and newspapers both in the centres and peripheries of European enlightenment. How private was the secret and how secret was the public? At the end of the 18th century there is even the development towards the first purely masonic journals in Europe with 'Journal für Freymaurer' (Vienna, 1784-1787) as the pioneer and 'Freemason?s Magazine'(London, 1793-1797) as the second example. This lecture will for the first time ever explore the content of these two major journals in a comparative perspective. Despite of the differences in time, language and place of their edition, these two journals have many features in common. They are also an interesting source for the analysis of European thought at the dawn of the French revolution and in its direct aftermath. Freemasonry as a topic in 18th-Century journals is on the interface between the private and the public.
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