Giuseppe Perelli

Genealogy of Secret Societies. Between Inquiry and Fiction in a Tuscan Manuscript, 1800-1819

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The essay investigates a Tuscan manuscript dedicated to unraveling the intricate genealogy of secret societies in the Italian states during the first twenty years of the XIX century. Authored by an unknown writer, believed to be a spy of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the political discourse of the manuscript strategically places itself at the core of discussions surrounding internal security and covert political associations. The unnamed author creatively reshapes cultural references and stereotypes extracted from informants and European reactionary literature about conspiracy. What sets this narrative apart is the adept use of knowledge about clandestine organizations to construct a cohesive storyline that not only describes but also actively justifies police repression against these secretive groups. The manuscript unfolds as a dynamic exploration of how ideas and ideologies infiltrate societal consciousness through the written words. It stands as a testament to the anonymous author’s ability to blend seemingly disparate elements — cultural references, stereotypes, and informed insights into clandestine organizations — into a political statement. In fact, the essay underscores the author’s capacity not only to contribute to the ongoing discourse on internal security but also to actively shape it by framing the narrative in a way that justifies authoritative actions.


  • Secret Societies
  • Conspiracy
  • Espionage


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