Freemasonry & the Enlightenment. Architecture, Symbols, & Influences

James Curl

    Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


    This wide-ranging, thorough and superbly illustrated study of Freemasonry's influence on Western culture, especially in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, follows Professor Curl's previous book, The Art and Architecture of Freemasonry (1991), which was hailed at the time not only as "an immensely useful, and sane, introduction to a field often fraught with speculative sensationalism", but as "a mine of information", and one of the most "original and important" contributions towards a greater understanding of the Enlightenment published in recent times. It won the coveted Sir Banister Fletcher Award as Best Book of the Year in 1992. Now, building on his earlier work, Curl has hugely expanded his investigations, showing how aspects of Masonic ideas have permeated the design of buildings, parks, gardens, and cemeteries, as well as much else. His Glossary outlines some of the complex ideas and iconography of the Craft (notably the symbolic and moral significance of the Architect's and Mason's instruments and tools), and the extensive Bibliography contains an enormous amount of material to stimulate further research, not least into the curious phenomenon of antipathy towards Freemasonry by authoritarian closed minds and totalitarian bigots. The illustrations are exceptional, and are accompanied by detailed captions (themselves as illustrated history of elements found in Freemasonry). It is a curious fact that many historians have avoided Freemasonry through prejudice and timidity, but in this work Professor Curl has grasped the nettle, and shows there is a hugh wealth of material available (much unaccountably hidden from view or deliberately ignored for reasons that defy analysis), some of which will whet the most jaded of appetites.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherHistorical Publications Ltd
    Number of pages1
    ISBN (Print)978-1-905286-45-4
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2011


    • Architecture
    • Freemasonry
    • Enlightenment
    • Art History.


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