Sex, Seduction and Secret Societies; Byron, Freemasonry and the Carbonari
I have presented the following paper a number of times over the years; the first time was at the International University of Venice during the summer of 2007 at the Byron conference. Recently I have developed the paper for publication after presenting it to the Ars Maconica Lodge in Brussels, Belgium in May and at the International Masonic Workshop in Athens in August. It has been published in the Ars Maconica Transactions and the Proceedings of the Summer 2017 International Masonic Workshop by the Philotecton Society. It is now available here for free at the academia.edu
The Romantic poet Lord Byron was known for his epic verse such as ‘Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage’ and ‘Don Juan’, but he was equally famous for his scandalous lifestyle and his revolutionary activities in Italy and Greece. Byron became a member of the Carbonari while in Italy and referred to Freemasonry in ‘Don Juan’, the poet perhaps being familiar with his great-uncle’s Masonic activities and that of his friends John William Polidori and Col. Thomas Wildman. This paper will examine Byron’s links to Freemasonry and the Carbonari and discuss how the poet may have been influenced by the themes and the ethos of these secret societies.