Monk: A Romance

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Matthew Gregory Lewis, byname Monk Lewis (born July 9, 1775, London, Eng.-died May 14, 1818, at sea), English novelist and dramatist who became famous overnight after the sensational success of his Gothic novel The Monk (1796). Thereafter he was known as "Monk" Lewis.

Educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford, Lewis served as attaché to the British embassy at The Hague and was a member of Parliament from 1796 to 1802. In 1812 he inherited a fortune and large ...

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The Monk

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Overview

Matthew Gregory Lewis, byname Monk Lewis (born July 9, 1775, London, Eng.-died May 14, 1818, at sea), English novelist and dramatist who became famous overnight after the sensational success of his Gothic novel The Monk (1796). Thereafter he was known as "Monk" Lewis.

Educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford, Lewis served as attaché to the British embassy at The Hague and was a member of Parliament from 1796 to 1802. In 1812 he inherited a fortune and large properties in Jamaica. Sincerely interested in the conditions of his 500 slaves, he made two West Indian voyages, contracted yellow fever on his return from the second, and died at sea.

The Monk, written when Lewis was 19, was influenced by the leading Gothic novelist, Ann Radcliffe, and also by stronger contemporary German Gothic literature. Its emphasis on horror rather than romance, its violence, and its eroticism made it avidly read, though universally condemned. Its success was followed by a popular musical drama in the same vein, The Castle Spectre (performed 1797; published 1798), which was produced by the dramatist Richard Brinsley Sheridan. ... (Britannica)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780141191966
  • Publisher: Viking Penguin
  • Publication date: 1/28/2010

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 50 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 23, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Anti-Catholic Gothic Novel

    I read The Monk as part of the required reading for my Gothic Fictions class in college. The books in my recommended reading list are all related to the gothic theme of the class. The Broadview edition is excellent for literary study. In the introduction, the editors explain many of the influences on Lewis when he wrote The Monk, which include the French Revolution, Goethe's Faustus, Burke's Sublime and Beautiful, and--just in case you didn't get enough from other novels--there's even some Oedipus influence, as well. The criticisms and letters in the back help one to understand the outrage and censorship of the book in late 18th century Europe. It was not well received by many in power. As far as the story itself, the overall tone of the book definitely has an anti-Catholic theme. Lewis was raised a Protestant, so he supported the French Revolution, but he was also concerned with its excesses. The revolution and excesses of both Ambrosio and Agnes parallel his sentiment about the French Revolution. The weaving of the main plot and subplot made the reading at times a bit dense, although there were several good parts. Lewis did a very nice job of incorporating Burke's sublime and beautiful techniques, such as using obscurity when describing the sublime, and there were parts about the ghost of the bleeding nun that sent chills up my spine as I read it. Overall, I liked the book, but I'm not easily offended by this sort of stuff. However, if a monk breaking his vows and committing all sorts of crimes, including rape and murder, might offend you, this probably isn't the book for you.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2012

    Campy, Fun, and Generally Melodramatic

    After I got used to the old-style grammar (shot-gun commas, non-standard spelling, and Drive-By Capitalization), I really enjoyed this book. It's campy and overly melodramatic, but that just adds to its charm. If you've got a few hours to kill and don't mind a few subplots that have nodding acquaintances with each other, I recommend this. It tickles me that the author was only 19 when he wrote this and people are still reading it a couple of centuries later.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2012

    Neal to Magatron

    Sweet you are so lucky. I want to go see it. It comes out on the 23rd my birthday!!!!!!!!!

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 9, 2011

    A Great Book

    I really loved this book. I was upset that it had to end. Maybe I will read it again someday. You should get it and read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2005

    the best book I've ever read

    This novel is both intriguing and disturbing at the same time. Ambrosio's character is one to be pitied and learned from. His one fatal flaw-hubris-ultimately led to his downfall. Following his descention into hell is a most disturbing experience for the reader.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2003

    A classic

    'The Monk' has all the elements of a good adventure, including good twists and the ability to shock and surprise, which I did not expect for a book written in 1796. Highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2002

    A Gothic Novel that will keep your attention!

    'The Monk' starts out slow, but once you get into it it takes you on a whirlwind of vanity, piousness, deception and the failings of humanity while at the same time leaves you with faith for the greater good.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2000

    Outstanding

    This book was great. The beginning is a little slow, but once the plot falls into place the ending will shock you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2000

    very predictable

    this was an interesting book, however by reading simply the back cover all was to predictable, except for Matilda.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted August 31, 2011

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