A course of severe and arduous trials: Bacon, Beckett and spurious freemasonry in early twentieth-century Ireland
The artist Francis Bacon (1909-1992) and the writer Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) both convey in their work a sense of foreboding and confinement in bleak, ritualistic spaces. This book identifies many similarities between the spaces and activities they evoke and the initiatory practices of fraternal orders and secret societies that were an integral part of the social landscape of the Ireland experienced by both men during childhood. Many of these Irish societies modelled their ritual structures and symbolism on the Masonic Order. Freemasons use the term 'spurious Freemasonry' to designate those rituals not sanctioned by the Grand Lodge. The Masonic author Albert Mackey argues that the spurious forms were those derived from the various cult practices of the classical world and describes these initiatory practices as 'a course of severe and arduous trials'. This reading of Bacon's and Beckett's work draws on theories of trauma to suggest that there may be a disturbing link between Bacon's stark imagery, Beckett's obscure performances and the unofficial use of Masonic rites.
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accessed 10 August ancient Anthony Cronin appears artist associated Bacon's images Bair Beckett Trilogy Beckett's plays blindfolded Bonwick Brigid candidate centre Chapter character child childhood Chulainn Clov Complete Dramatic confusion contemporary context Crucifixion Cryer cult dark David Sylvester Deirdre Bair depicts describes dissociation Druidic Druids Dublin Eighteenth Degree elements Endgame entrapment Estragon experience Faber feeling figure Francis Bacon fraternal Freemasonry Freemasons Gnostic Hamm Hiram Abiff initiate's initiatory practices initiatory process initiatory space Ireland Irish Irish mythology Knowlson Lady Pedal London lSBN Lucky Malone Masonic rites Masonic ritual memory loss Molloy murder mystical notes novel Orange Order ordeal Peppiatt Portrait Pozzo Press psyche psychological reference ritual abuse role Royal Arch Purple Royal Arch rites Samuel Beckett says secret societies sense similar story suggests terrifying terror Thames & Hudson theme tion torture tradition traumatic Triptych Unnamable the narrator Veils victim Victor Turner Vladimir Waiting for Godot Waitingfor Godot warrior