Dan Porter's Reviews > The Monk

The Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis
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Sep 29, 2016

bookshelves: ghosts-demons
Read in August, 2010 , read count: 1

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 twists, his inexperience - at age 19 - at storytelling is evident as he inserts seemingly innocuous scenes early for the purpose of explaining his twists later. That's as annoying in an 18th century book as it is in a current TV crime drama. It's also possible to tell when a twist is coming by the increase in his verbosity as he tries to build tension and suspense. His best twist is saved for last but is presented in such an "Oh, by the way" manner in his rush to finish the story that it loses most of its shock value. Despite these shortcomings, this is a good book for any fan of Gothic literature or for a stormy weekend curled up in your favorite reading spot.
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Reading Progress

04/04 marked as: read
08/22 marked as: my-english-major
08/23 marked as: read
09/04 marked as: classics-project
09/04 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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Harrington Oh can't wait to see what u think of THE MONK! I loved it for so many reasons...one just for the date is was written... And I had trouble with it for so many other reason! But I won't get into it mow I will wait for your thoughts!


Judith I, too, will want to read what you think.
Have this one on my TBR shelf.


Judith Thanks for the review, Dan. Tells me just what I wanted to know!


message 4: by Angela (new) - added it

Angela Thanks Dan...sounds like I really should keep this on my "I want to read it" list :-)


Richard Along with The Mysteries of Udolpho, this is one of the classics of early Gothic literature. If you haven't read Northanger Abbey, try that too. It is a satiric look at the genre.


message 6: by Dan (new) - added it

Dan Porter Thanks, Richard. I have both of those on my "To Read" list. I think Northanger Abbey is next up on my "Read Through All Jane Austen's Novels" goal, and I recently downloaded The Mysteries of Udolpho to my e-reader along with several other classic horror stories.


message 7: by Allen (new)

Allen I feel as though the story starts off unnecessarily slowly. It's not until toward the middle of the novel that it gets interesting.


Cristina Completely agree that Wilkie Collins ruined the gothic novel thing for everybody else, I devoured The Woman In White a couple of years ago and nothing I've read since has compared to the experience. The Monk has its faults but overall I really enjoyed it. I tend to get to the end of a book and regret reading it so fast as its (almost) always hard for me to read 'the end', this book, however, despite all my expectations failed to produce said affect. I had so much fun racing through this but I have to admit the last couple of chapters were a bit of a disappointment, not entirely, but..yeah. Also, I couldnt help thinking "come on matt, we've all read Romeo and Juliet!!". I'm a whore for the classics so I'm used to finding similarities here and there but really? Shakespeare??! A tad too much. Still though, 4 star! Not too shabby!


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