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The Monk

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  16,337 Ratings  ·  1,171 Reviews
Supernatural events, women in distress, and a corrupt clergy were popular themes in the Gothic novels of the 19th century. All of those elements, along with murder, incest, and the excesses of the Spanish Inquisition, are present in The Monk (1796), one of the era's bestselling and most influential novels.
Set in a sinister Capuchin monastery in Madrid, the ever-more horrif
Paperback, Dover Thrift Edition, 291 pages
Published December 12th 2003 by Dover Publications (first published 1796)
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Bill  Kerwin

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 a calculated 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
Helen Stavraki
Feb 29, 2016 Helen Stavraki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best

Αυτό το "γοτθικό" κλασικό βιβλίο με οδήγησε στην Ισπανία του μεσαίωνα σε ένα κλίμα δεισιδαιμονίας θρησκευτικής αποχαύνωσης και διαστροφής.

Τοποθετημένο σε ένα μεσαιωνικό μοναστήρι με έναν χαρισματικά και αγγελικά διεστραμμένο καλόγερο που μαγεύει τα πλήθη, αρχίζει να περιπλέκεται μια υπόθεση σκοτεινή και μακάβρια με ιστορίες, γεγονότα και αφηγήσεις να γεννιούνται συνεχώς μέσα απο άλλες ιστορίες και να περιπλέκονται με εξαιρετική μαεστρία και σπονδυλωτή πλοκή.

Απλοί θεοφοβούμεν
Petra Eggs
This is such a great fun book to read. It's really not like anything else at all, it's so extreme in every way. It was written in the era of the great classics, but this one is never going to be taught in schools.

The book out-Gothics all the Gothic novels you ever read, Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey isn't even related to the raw perversion and criminality of this madcap horror ride through the forbidden where taboos fall one by one as the The Monk, unable to live up to his vows gives in to ever
Jeffrey Keeten
May 13, 2013 Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic, book-to-film
”Lucifer stood before him a second time. He borrowed the Seraph’s form to deceive Ambrosio. He appeared in all that ugliness, which since his fall from heaven had been his portion: His blasted limbs still bore marks of the Almighty’s thunder: A swarthy darkness spread itself over his gigantic form: His hands and feet were armed with long Talons: Fury glared in his eyes, which might have struck the bravest heart with terror: Over his huge shoulders waved two enormous sable wings; and his hair was ...more
Paul Bryant
Sep 25, 2007 Paul Bryant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spooky-ookums, novels
Calling all Gothic Novel fans : you have to read The Monk - this is the Texas Chainsaw Massacre of Gothic novels which will unjade the most jaded. Here you will find much fun to be had with nuns, priests with uncontrollable underwear, more nuns, pregnant nuns, nuns with minimal clothing, nuns giving birth in frankly unsanitory conditions attended only by untrained inappropriate monks, heaving bosoms, unspeakable acts, souls in the process of being damned for all eternity, mostly ghostly ectoplas ...more
Henry Avila
Jun 07, 2013 Henry Avila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ambrosio, the abbot, is the perfect monk, head of an abbey in Madrid, and the idol of the city, a young, handsome, charismatic man, with a spellbinding voice, that thrills the congregation at his church. All the people flock to it, to hear his sermons, five minutes after the bells ring, the church is overflowing, and the noble families are there, silently the assembly listens, a living saint, they witness, the proud people are ecstatic, in this modern age (the 1700's), God has sent them Ambrosio ...more
Bookdragon Sean
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 08, 2015 Kirstine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“What? live to plunge myself in infamy? to become an agent of hell? to work the destruction in both you and myself?”

Alright, this book is hilarious.

However, there are a few spoilers in this review. If you think you’ll read The Monk someday (and you should, seriously), maybe come back to this another time. Or don’t, who knows, maybe it won’t be so bad? Maybe this is the best, most spoiler free review you’ll ever read in your life? (see, I’m tempting you, because it’s the theme of the book!).

Jun 10, 2016 Nikoleta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, ghostly
Προκλητικό, ιερόσυλο και βλάσφημο για την εποχή του βιβλίο (το αγαπώ), το οποίο γράφτηκε το 1796. Παρόλα αυτά, ο Καλόγερος καταφέρνει μέχρι και σήμερα να προκαλεί ανατριχίλες ή ακόμα και να σοκάρει τις μικρότερες ηλικίες αναγνωστών. Στις σελίδες του παρελαύνουν οι πάντες και τα πάντα! Ματωμένα φαντάσματα, μάγισσες, απαγωγές, βιασμοί, αποτρόπαιοι θάνατοι, διαφθορά, ο ίδιος ο σατανάς αυτοπροσώπως και στο κέντρο των πάντων ο συμβολισμός του προπατορικού αμαρτήματος και φυσικά ο μέγας πειρασμός.
Dan Porter
I think Wilkie Collins has spoiled me when it comes to this type of Victorian/Gothic/Thriller because it's so hard to match his writing and storytelling skills. That being said, I'll add that The Monk was a fun read. While it's clearly an attack on organized religion - the Catholic church in particular - a close reading makes it also clear that Lewis found a significant difference between organized religion and a personal relationship with a Supreme Being. While he provides several interesting t ...more
Evripidis Gousiaris
Στα τέλη του 18ου αιώνα, κάποιος 19χρονος έγραψε ένα μακροσκελές μαγικό ξόρκι με σκοπό να καθηλώσει και να ακινητοποιήσει τον οποιοδήποτε αναγνώστη.

Ο 19χρονος είναι ο Matthew Lewis και το μακροσκελές μαγικό ξόρκι που ακινητοποιεί και κρατάει το βλέμμα καρφωμένο στις σελίδες του είναι φυσικά ο Καλόγερος!

Ένα αριστουργηματικό γοτθικό μυθιστόρημα γεμάτο ανατριχιαστικές σκηνές όπου η πραγματικότητα και οι δεισιδαιμονίες γίνονται ένα, σκοτεινά μοναστήρια όπου το πάθος και η φιληδονία έχουν ηγετικό ρό
Христо Блажев
Монахът може да има вечността, но избира да има всичко сега:

След “Дракула” на Брам Стокър, която от миналата година се радва на постоянен читателски интерес (а около Хелоуин имаше и страхотен пик), видях колко смисъл има да се правят класически романи в достойно оформление – с въвеждащи предговори, с подробни бележки и разяснения. Тази възможност до голяма степен се дължи, че се “намерихме” със Слави Ганев, истински ерудит в областта на готическата литера
3.5 stars

Dreams, magic terrors, spells of mighty power, Witches, and ghosts who rove at midnight hour.

I read this for the Classic Horror Halloween Bingo square.
It's said this was written by a 19/20 yr old and within 10 weeks, which if true, is amazing. The format of having a main character, Ambrosio (the monk), and then having secondary characters branch off from him and tangentially going astray and telling their stories, only to have them all come together in the end, was extremely compellin
O Father Ambrosio, stop Monking around!

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
Jan 06, 2017 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has long been on my TBR but I really didn't know that much about it. I have to say I was completely hooked from the beginning. Yes, the language is dated and there are parts that are a bit tedious. I think better editing would have done wonders. There were some really good twists at the end that while I thought they were great I would have liked more backstory on them. There were a couple of very disturbing scenes (one rape scene in particular was just haunting). This is a must read fo ...more
Oct 21, 2011 William1 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, uk, 18-ce
This novel is all about Christian, specifically Catholic, sexual hysteria. Sex seems to determine everyone's motivation in the first volume. This makes sense when you consider that it was written by a nineteen year old for whom these obsessions were no doubt a daily occurence. Fortunately for us, he has managed to sublimate them into the form of a novel. (Which puts me in mind of E.M. Forster, who, when touched on the ass by an admirer at a tender age, promptly went home and wrote Maurice.)

A du
Feb 17, 2017 Yanper rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Διαβάζεται σαν παραμύθι, αλλά παραμύθι γεμάτο από θρησκευτικό φανατισμό, μαύρη μαγεία, διαστροφή, ανθρώπινα πάθη και αέναη πάλη του καλού με το κακό. Σε σοκάρει και σε μαγεύει ταυτόχρονα, σε κάνει να εκπλήσεσαι γιατί είναι το πρώτο έργο ενός 19άχρονου γραμμένο το μακρινό 1796. Απορώ πως επιβίωσε το βιβλίο μέσα σ’ ένα κόσμο που επικρατούσε ο αγγλικανικός πουριτανισμός και τα συγχωροχάρτια του καθολικισμού
Jul 10, 2007 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Now that I've finished this fabulous piece, I remember I read it several years ago. However, this time around I enjoyed it so much more. Be it because of age, wisdom, life knocking me around a bit more, don't know the reason why only that I absolutely couldn't shut up talking about it with my husband all night last night.

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
Shala Howell
Rendered nearly senseless by the impact of reading words so breathlessly written, she nonetheless persisted in reviewing a book whose attractions she could not have resisted, had her mind not been steeled by the remembrance of a 1000 other works more artfully written.

If you like that sort of writing, go read this book. It's got lots and lots of pages of it.
Γραμμένο πριν 220 χρόνια περίπου από έναν 20χρονο!
Με συνάρπασε! Σκοτεινό και υποβλητικό, σε μεταφέρει σε υγρά δωμάτια και μουχλιασμένες ρωγμές για να σου συστήσει τους ήρωες του που παραδέρνουν σε μια συνεχή μάχη με το Κακό αλλά με τον εαυτό τους.
Δεν ανήκει στα βιβλία που τα διάβασα χωρίς ανάσα.
Ανήκει στα βιβλία που τα διάβασα αργά και με απόλαυση!
Ένα κόσμημα άλλης εποχής και ύφους!
Feb 19, 2017 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the language of this one. It had a deliciously creepy old school vibe to it. Probably on the account that is was originally penned in 1796.

Truly a classic and holds up remarkably well.
Cassandra Lê
OMGGGGGGG.... I totally CANNOT believe that the author of this book was 19 YEARS OLD when he wrote this, and he wrote it under 10 WEEKS . This is a masterpiece!! A 18TH CENTURY GOTHIC GODDAMN MASTERPIECE!!! Seriously high school kids would have loved the hell out of this and seek to read more classics were they not confined to snoring tomes like... idk, A scarlet letter? (Sorry, Hawthorne I have never gotten used to you ). "The Monk" retells the stories of a monk who abandons his virtues to be ...more
Horace Derwent
Diable est réel
Apr 03, 2008 Stanka rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are curious to find out in what circumstances a young novice at the convent cries out: "Father, I am a woman!" and then puts a sharp knife to her "beauteous orb," which -- by the way -- is gleaming in the moonlight, and threatens to kill herself, then read this novel (it's like Don Quixote, composed of many stories). The strangest book: if you think your 21st century has taught you all there is to know about sensual sexual unfulfilled yet on the brink, think again! Here is a story of abso ...more
This must be one of the most difficult novels to grade, so far. I have no idea how many stars to give it, four or five. It's so strange and unique that I'm incapable of comparing it to any other literature. I know it inspired Ann Radcliffe's The Italian, but I can't see many significant similarities between the two. The story is so dark, I can't think of another novel in the same way. Most gothic fiction fade in comparison.

The main story is about a man's fall from the highest of grace and rank t
Jul 08, 2011 Marvin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
In the middle of The Monk: A Romance is hidden this interesting comment...
"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
Петър Панчев
От благочестието до изкушението
(Цялото ревю е тук:

Рядко ми се случва да чета книги на повече от век, а „Монахът“ („Deja Book“, 2016, с превод на Слави Ганев и Радостина Горанова) е написана преди повече от два. Ясно е, че това не е исторически роман, а самата История от плът и кръв, така да се каже – един литературен пра-прадядо на куп жанрове и вестител на цяла плеяда класически произведения, които все още се четат с наслаждение и любопитство от съврем
Mar 10, 2017 Latasha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WOW! this book is fantastic, shocking and scandalous! it continued to go to dark places and kept surprising me over & over. I highly recommend this book. read it. it's free.
Written at the end of the 18th century, in full Romantic period, by an author who wasn’t yet 20, The Monk is a surprisingly modern novel, that synthetizes some Gothic characteristics while introducing some new and disturbing (for his contemporaries) ideas.
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
Well that was absolute chaos. I'm very tempted to give it 4 stars but... can't quite. This is so over the top. Its a complete melodrama, but it also goes to places so much more extreme than i expected. It's is also a complete mess. The author tends to follow a character until he hits a wall, then backup and head off in another direction. A lot of it feels very pulpy, its clear that a lot of it was not planned out from the start, despite the annoying foreshadowing we get. It stops every so often ...more
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Horror Aficionados : The Monk and The Demon of Sicily 49 105 Mar 20, 2017 06:43PM  
Shelfari 1001 group: The Monk Matthew Lewis 1 4 Jan 05, 2017 12:06PM  
Never too Late to...: Buddy Read : The Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis 15 27 Nov 14, 2016 01:56PM  
Literary Exploration: Final Thoughts *Spoilers* 6 46 Jul 18, 2014 01:15PM  
Literary Exploration: First Impressions *No Spoilers* 7 40 Jul 16, 2014 04:11PM  
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Matthew Gregory Lewis was an English novelist and dramatist, often referred to as "Monk" Lewis, because of the success of his classic Gothic novel, The Monk.

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 about Matthew Lewis...

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“Man was born for society. However little He may be attached to the World, He never can wholly forget it, or bear to be wholly forgotten by it. Disgusted at the guilt or absurdity of Mankind, the Misanthrope flies from it: He resolves to become an Hermit, and buries himself in the Cavern of some gloomy Rock. While Hate inflames his bosom, possibly He may feel contented with his situation: But when his passions begin to cool; when Time has mellowed his sorrows, and healed those wounds which He bore with him to his solitude, think you that Content becomes his Companion? Ah! no, Rosario. No longer sustained by the violence of his passions, He feels all the monotony of his way of living, and his heart becomes the prey of Ennui and weariness. He looks round, and finds himself alone in the Universe: The love of society revives in his bosom, and He pants to return to that world which He has abandoned. Nature loses all her charms in his eyes: No one is near him to point out her beauties, or share in his admiration of her excellence and variety. Propped upon the fragment of some Rock, He gazes upon the tumbling waterfall with a vacant eye, He views without emotion the glory of the setting Sun. Slowly He returns to his Cell at Evening, for no one there is anxious for his arrival; He has no comfort in his solitary unsavoury meal: He throws himself upon his couch of Moss despondent and dissatisfied, and wakes only to pass a day as joyless, as monotonous as the former.” 171 likes
“An author, whether good or bad, or between both, is an animal whom every body is privileged to attack: for though all are not able to write books, all conceive themselves able to judge them.” 66 likes
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