Masons in Literature

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Masonic references in literature are quite common. Some works revolve around Masonic characters or rituals while other works simply use the occasional Masonic symbol. Some Masonic literature is written by Masons while in other cases non-Masons research and introduce Masonry into their own works.

Contemporary novels with Masonic elements

Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code is a bestselling novel. There are many references to Masons and secret fraternities throughout the book. It is implied that the central character’s grandfather is a Master Mason and the Rosslyn Chapel is referred to as a Masonic temple.

John le Carré’s The Mission Song makes a passing reference to Freemasonry, erroneously referring to Freemasonry as a “religious affiliation.” Thomas M. Disch’s book, The Prisoner, makes brief references to a Masonic ring and to Masonic geometry. Alex Marcoux’s A Matter of Degree has Freemasonry as a major plot device. In the book, novelist Jessie Mercer meets Rachel Addison a reporter investigating secret societies and politicians. Rachel is warned to stay away from the story and is threatened when she continues. Her brother is killed and the death covered up as a suicide. To find out more and to help Rachel, Jessie goes undercover to infiltrate the Masons, where she finds conspiracy and murder perpetrated by the Masons.

Literature of the 1700s and 1800s

Marquis de Sade’s work, Juliette, or Vice amply rewarded, involves a secret society that is anti-Catholic and anti-royalist Lodge founded by Templars. A. C. L. Arnold’s The Signet of King Solomon, or the Freemason’s Daughter has a plot that is deeply concerned with Freemasonry. In the Introduction to the book, Arnold writes: In the following pages the writer has endeavored, through the medium of fiction, to illustrate the principles of the institution of Freemasonry, or rather to reveal its high and glorious ideal. THE KNIGHT OF THE TEMPLE is an embodiment of this ideal, which may be said, indeed, to inspire all noble and elevated souls; and exemplifies it in his aspirations, charitable ambitions, and benevolent deeds; and especially in his unwavering faith in the triumph of truth and goodness, which 110 obstacles could tire, and no discouragements could shake.

The author has also wished to illustrate another great truth, viz. : that sin will sooner or latter meet with its certain recompense, and can be atoned for only by labor, and its effects destroyed by works of charity and love.

Believing that the Ideal of Freemasonry will yet descend into the life of the world, with a harmonizing and ennobling influence, he has desired to impress upon the minds of the brotherhood the importance of working constantly and zealously to this effect.

Cuthbert Bede’s The Adventures of Mr. Verdant Green is a fictional work that includes the chapter “Mr. Verdant Green is Made a Mason.” Verdant Green is an Oxford student who is eventually initiated into the Order of Cemented Bricks

Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White makes Count Fosco, one of the villains, a Mason. Fosco defined himself as "Perpetual Arch-Master of the Rosicrucian Masons of Mesopotamia." In Edgar Allan Poe’s story, The Cask of Amontillado, a pun revolving around Masonry allows one character to lure another to his death.

Charles Dickens’s Barnaby Rudge : a tale of the riots of 'eighty gently pokes fun at Masonic ritual when the rituals of the Society of Prentice Knights (or the United Bull-Dogs, as they are later known) is exposed in its silliness. Charles Dickens in fact refers in passing to Masons in a number of his work. His "Public Dinners" was printed by The Royal Masonic Institution for Girls Year Book 1954. “Public Dinners” is a funny description of a banquet held by the Freemasons for the "Indigent Orphans' Friends Benevolent Institution" in Great Queen Street.

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