Supporting your high street Find out how »
Basket Image


The Politics of Sociability : Freemasonry and German Civil Society, 1840-1918, Hardback Book

The Politics of Sociability : Freemasonry and German Civil Society, 1840-1918 Hardback

Part of the Social History, Popular Culture and Politics in Germany series


This is the first cultural and political history of German Freemasonary in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The practice of Masonic sociability, Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann shows in this ambitious and original work, reflected an enlightened belief in the political significance of moral virtue for civil society, indeed, for humanity.

Freemasons' self-image as civilizing agents, acting in good faith and with the unimpeachable idea of universal brotherhood, was contradicted not only by their heightened sense of exclusivity; Freemasons unintentionally exacerbated nineteenth century political conflicts by employing a universalist language.

Using a wealth of archival sources previously unavailable, Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann shows how Freemasonry became a social refuge for elevated and liberal-minded bourgeois men who felt attracted to its secret rituals and moral teachings.

German Freemasons sought to reform self and society, but, Hoffmann argues, ultimately failed to balance modern politics with a cosmopolitan ethos.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 424 pages, 12 b&w illustrations
  • Publisher: The University of Michigan Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Social & cultural history
  • ISBN: 9780472115730



Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops

Also by Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann