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Det slutna rummets offentlighet: Om epideiktisk frimurarretorik
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Literature, Rhetoric. (Avdelningen för retorik)
2012 (Swedish)In: Rhetorica Scandinavica, ISSN 1397-0534, no 62, 6, 75-90 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Lodge as a Public Sphere. Epideictic Aspects on Masonic Rhetorics

The question about the change of doxa is central in the postdoctoral project ”The Temple of Immortality. Moral, Mysticism and Masculinity in the Swedish Order of Freemasons 1735-1796”. The article demonstrates a ceremonial oration within the fraternity and analyzes the rhetorical strategy. It shows how the adjustment of form to content challenges the genre boundaries. The main question is how the orator deals with the strain between the presence of royalties – the political power – and the fraternal context.

The idea of a life after death played a central role when Swedish Freemasonry took shape. There are two aspects of immortality. First, it was a result of Christian beliefs incorporated and stressed in “The Swedish Rite” around the middle of the eighteenth century. In the chapter degrees, the Freemasons saw themselves as Knights Templars, true defenders of the Christian faith. In this case life beyond death represented heavenly resurrection. But, life beyond death was also a matter of collective memory in the Masonic communities; lodge members were encouraged to commemorate deceased brethren. More specifically, commemoration was actualized in those separate ceremonies held to grieve over and honour the deceased. Every lodge arranged such a Commemoration Day, using obelisks, arms, mourning crape, funeral music, candle symbolism and melodramatic speeches to create a mood of sorrow.

This article focuses one such day, especially the speech over the deceased – an “eloge” (French: éloge, panegyrical speech, praise) in the genre of genus demonstrativum. It is shown that the rhetor, baron Gustaf Adolf Reuterholm, uses biographical material to commemorate – Gustav III of Sweden, a cluster of deceased brothers – as well as honour the new king, all with the purpose to demonstrate them as positive examples of ethical behaviour. The rhetorical challenge for Reuterholm is to handle with all three panegyrical objects instead of one according to the conventions of the genre.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Helsingborg: Retorikförlaget, 2012. no 62, 6, 75-90 p.
Keyword [en]
epideictic oratory, genus demonstrativum, freemasonry, enlightenment, politics, Sweden
Keyword [sv]
eloge, panegyrik, genus demonstrativum, genre, doxa, politik, frimureri, Gustav III, Gustav IV Adolf, Karl XIII, 1700-tal, retorik, retorikhistoria
National Category
Languages and Literature
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-175722OAI: diva2:532688
Odödlighetens tempel. Moral, mystik och maskulinitet inom Svenska Frimurare Orden 1735-1796
Swedish Research Council, 2010-6675
Available from: 2012-12-03 Created: 2012-06-12 Last updated: 2013-06-19Bibliographically approved

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