La franc-maçonnerie et les femmes au temps des Lumières : Angleterre, France et territoires allemands

Abstract : Freemasonry spread throughout Europe in the eighteenth century. Although the Constitutions of Anderson barred women from membership right from the beginning, women were initiated in France and Germany. The present research starts from the observation that we are confronted to a double phenomenon. On the one hand the formal exclusion from male lodges according to the regulations of the Grand Lodges. On the other hand the proved existence of the initiation of women in masonic lodges. The organization of these lodges suggests other remarks and several issues have arisen. What are the precise reasons of this exclusion and what are its origins? Are women defined in the same way in England, France and Germany? If we can identify the reasons of this exclusion, are they intrinsic to freemasonry itself or rather linked to the definition of the public and private spheres? How can we explain that these rules of exclusion could be overcome and that a model of integration be invented? In the first part of this study the research is based on the mentalities existing in the three different societies with regard to the freemasons’ opinions on women. The second part is analysing the arguments brought forward to justify women’s exclusion from freemasonry. The third part deals with women's lodges and particular attention is given to the speeches delivered in these lodges as well as to the rituals in use. The documentation consists mostly in primary sources, such as books published in the eighteenth century, press articles, but also masonic songs and poems.
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Marie-Anne Mersch. La franc-maçonnerie et les femmes au temps des Lumières : Angleterre, France et territoires allemands. Littératures. Université Michel de Montaigne - Bordeaux III, 2016. Français. ⟨NNT : 2016BOR30055⟩. ⟨tel-02170501v2⟩

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