This book examines how ordinary men conceived of and lived friendship in eighteenth-century France using Freemasonry as a prism. It argues that male friendship within Freemasonry was grounded in great mutual affection and emotional investment by showing how men—through the conviviality of lodge activities, letter writing, or personal visits—created a set of private spaces where an egalitarian and affective ethos reigned. Focusing on the period from the appearance of the fraternity early in the reign of Louis XV to the Reign of Terror seventy years later, the book considers not only the normative ideals and actual behavior that reinforce masonic friendship but also the dynamic interplay and tensions between them. It explores the link between Freemasonry and the French Revolution as well as ways that brethren inside and outside lodges appropriated—and sometimes actively reshaped—Enlightenment thought.
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