Artists' Impressions

Literature was an important conduit for the notion of secret societies. From the last quarter of the eighteenth century on, good and bad writers alike introduced such organizations in widely read books, amid bands of robbers, brotherhoods, and similar groupings. The English Gothic novel often painted religious orders, and above all the Inquisition, in the colours of conspiracy, although it did not reject secret societies as such. In the German lands the societies became so fashionable in literature that some scholars treat the Geheimbundroman as a genre in its own right. And when some of the organizations became more well known, their names increasingly found their way into literary works. Many of these can now be found on the Internet. Here are twelve from various external sites.