One of the most extravagantly dark works of Gothic fiction ever written in English, admired by the likes of Lord Byron and the Marquis de Sade, The Monk drew a firestorm of criticism when it was published in 1796. Contemporaries condemned it as "lewd," "libidinous and impious." "Lust, murder, incest, and every atrocity that can disgrace human nature," one critic cried, "br...more
This book was quite a surprise. Yes, there are all sorts of hypocritical Monk-y debauchery and lustful, euphemism-filled scenes. But there are also two romantic subplots that filled with action, swashbuckling heroes, damsels in distress and deceit. All three stories end up intertwining in unexpected ways.
Did more people in olden times have prosopagnosia, or what? Why was it so damn easy to disguise yourself?
I had all sorts of naughty fun reading even more f...more
For being only 19 when he wrote it and during the particular time period, he was very astute at the cultural swing that was occuring at the time. There is even a note of awarene...more
When I was younger, I avoided this book because the literary snob in me--a much more insistent voice back then than now--had decided, on the basis of ”informed opinion,” that “The Monk” was merely an exercise in sensationalism, a device for producing horrific thrills through the deliberate, exploitative use of cheap effects and anti-Catholic stereotypes.
Now that I have read it, I see that the literary snob in me had a point. “The Monk” is all of these things. But it is also more.
I think the you...more
The author, who was only 20 at the time, let his fevered imagination run as wild as it wanted to and then whipped it on a bit further. What makes the book so outstanding, and why it has neve...more
"An author, whether good or bad, or between both, is an animal whom everybody is privileged to attack; For though all are not able to write books, all conceive themselves able to judge them."
Matthew Lewis, even at the age of 19 when he wrote this classic Gothic romance in 1796, was able to accurately predict the reaction to his first novel. It was both praised and reviled by the critics. It was certainly controversial...more
The main story is about a man's fall from the highest of grace and rank t...more
Sprinkle in a young female novice who dabbles in the dark arts, some good ole rape and incest, the Grand Inquisition, and appearances by a few ghosts and yes, even the Devil... and you have yourself one helluva storyline!
Based on plot and development alone, the book would warrent 5 stars. Three seemingly separate stories slowly intertwine to create...more
And, as usual, it’s through these so criticized new ideas that the novel gained its celebrity and its place of reference among Gothic works, considering that even its most famous critic, Coleridge, couldn’t go past the prejudices of his time w...more
One of the earliest gothic and sensation fictions, this book is at its best when dealing with hypocrisy in the Catholic church. The primary villain is Ambrosio, a conceited monk who falls prey to every...more
Stephen King highly praises this Gothic writer, so in beginning the novel I braced myself for some horrific scenes. The Monk is about the downfall and demise of Ambrosia who is put on a pedestal for his spiritual godliness. He starts out as a highly respected friar and sells his soul to Lucifer in the end.
A mild sin at first, lusting after an image of the Madonna, manifests itself when a a young novitiate, a woman in disguise, seduces him. I won't spoil the book with too many details, but be pre...more
If you like that sort of writing, go read this book. It's got lots and lots of pages of it.
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Matthew Gregory Lewis was the firstborn child of Matthew and Frances Maria Sewell Lewis. His father, Matthew Lewis was the son of William Lewis and Jane Gregory. He was born in Jamaica in 1750. He attended Westminster School before proceeding...more