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The Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis - lyzard tutoring SqueakyChu

75 Books Challenge for 2012

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1lyzard
Edited: Sep 27, 2012, 2:39am Top



Welcome, all! This time around I will be tutoring Madeline (SqueakyChu) in Matthew Gregory Lewis’s The Monk, from 1796.

For those of you who are planning on lurking, but who are not familiar with this novel, I feel that I should start by offering a general warning about its contents: this is a novel featuring sex and violence and horror, including several scenes that are fairly shocking and offensive even by modern standards.

So – all care taken, no responsibility accepted!

The Monk was published when Matthew Lewis was only nineteen years old and is very much a young man’s enthusiastic and rather reckless work. Lewis set out to write the “ultimate” Gothic novel, and he certainly succeeded. The Monk was a runaway best-seller, but it was also savagely attacked as obscene and blasphemous – not least because, at the time of his novel’s publication, Lewis was a Member of Parliament. (The most famous attack upon him was by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in The Critical Review: “The author is a man of rank and fortune. Yes! the author of the Monk signs himself a LEGISLATOR! We stare and tremble.”) Lewis seems to have been surprised and hurt by the intensity of the criticism, and he progressively edited the later editions of his novel to remove the more contentious material.

Most modern editions go back to the original text, however, and rightly so.

Lewis was a voracious reader, and a great fan of the English Gothic novel. He had earlier started (although never completed) a inspired by The Castle Of Otranto, and he was wildly enthusiastic about Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries Of Udolpho, published in 1795. However, Lewis was equally a fan of the German literature of the time. During the late 18th century, the Germans were really the only people to be writing out-and-out horror stories, in contrast to the English habit of “explaining away” the supernatural. Crime fiction was also very popular in Germany, with many stories focusing upon marauding bandits, often presenting them as anti-heroes. (Occasionally these themes overlapped, with stories of bandits being haunted by the ghosts of their victims.)

The Monk is full of references to Lewis’s reading, and in fact is one of the first novels to offer the kind of inter-textuality that is so common today: again and again he refers to other authors and other writings, and frequently lifts scenes or passages and re-works them into his own context. At the time this was considered a fairly scandalous thing to do and there were accusations of plagiarism, although some critics did defend his use of the borrowed material.

The Monk also sits comfortably (or uncomfortably, to modern sensibilities) in the English tradition of anti-Catholicism – although like many English anti-Catholic novels, it makes any number of mistakes about Catholic practice and terminology.

There are other important influences upon the creation of The Monk. Lewis wrote it while he held a position of attaché to the British embassy at The Hague, where most of the time he had nothing to do and was desperately bored. The boredom was punctuated by the influx of refugees from the French Revolution, who told stories of horror, while on several occasions Lewis journeyed into France and saw some of it for himself. These experiences are thought to have inspired a climactic scene of mob violence in The Monk.

Another important detail is that Lewis was homosexual, and at a time when English homophobia was at its rabid worst, which is generally considered to impact the novel in two important ways: firstly, in its cynical depiction of heterosexual love (or at least, sex); and secondly, in its understanding of what it is like to have to pretend to be someone that you are not – to have to wear a mask in public.

It is probably easiest today if we read The Monk as a horror story, rather than the morality tale that Lewis tried to claim it was. It is certainly a story in which, in spite of the faith and piety of the good characters, what lingers is their helplessness in the face of evil.

2souloftherose
Sep 27, 2012, 6:55am Top

I'm here and will be lurking. I read The Monk earlier this year and enjoyed it.

3SqueakyChu
Edited: Sep 27, 2012, 10:38am Top

Questions before I begin...

1. I always am amazed when young people are good writers. Matthew Lewis was only 19 at the time this book was published. What factors contributed to his being published and being a successful writer at such a young age?

2. Since Matthew Lewis was a Member of Parliament, wasn't he afraid that the content of the book (sex, blasphemy) would have adverse effects on his political career? Was this the first time such a book (graphic sex, blasphemy) was published to full public acceptance? (ETA: Reading further down your notes, I see that it was not fully accepted by the public...yet it was published unedited at first)

This past weekend, I visited the National Book Festival on the mall in Washington, DC. There all authors seemed to agree that the most interesting books for readers are those that set readers on edge, that present something that is different from what is run-of-the-mill. Here I filmed Junot Diaz, Pulitzer Prize winner, explaining this to an audience member.

3. Do you think that The Mysteries of Udolpho would be "too much for me? You know me! :)

4. I'm curious of lurkers (feel free to jump in here with comments and identify yourselves before we start our book) as to how they feel/feel about reading blasphemous books and erotic or very sexy books.

Over the years, I've gotten used to books with graphic sex and even graphic novels with sex scenes. Most of the time, I'm okay with this, but there was the time I was reading the Allison Bechdel graphic novel Fun Home at lunch in a restaurant. It had a picture of two women having sex. I looked around and read that page quite quickly - before anyone could look over my shoulder to see what was this old lady was reading! :)

I don't usually read blasphemous book, but one book left me feeling very uneasy. That book was Foreskin's Lament by Shalom Auslander. I was left queasy because the it was precisely the Jewish deity that was being attacked. That hit very close to home. After reading the whole book and learning more about the author, I came to understand his feelings and felt that he did justice to his own feelings by putting his thoughts into words.

5. At the time that The Monk was published, were there laws in effect against plagiarism? If not, did Lewis first seek permission to reprint the works of others within his own book?

6. although like many English anti-Catholic novels, it makes any number of mistakes about Catholic practice and terminology.

Please fill me in during our read as I might miss these. I like to learn, though I often forget, about the differences between various Christian religions and how they are practiced. I probably know more about Catholicism than I do about the other Christian religions simply because that religion was more prevalent in the area in which I grew up than other religion. My mom drew the line at me going to church with my best friend. It was Hebrew school and synagogue attendence for me! :)

7. held a position of attaché to the British embassy at The Hague

I have a very good friend who is from The Hague. :)

8. Another important detail is that Lewis was homosexual, and at a time when English homophobia was at its rabid worst

Ooooh! Now that's interesting.

Conclusion

...I'm off and running into this novel with great eagerness.

ETA: Thanks, Liz, for such a fabulous and helpful introduction!

4CDVicarage
Sep 27, 2012, 10:46am Top

I have a copy and shall be reading and lurking along with you.

5SqueakyChu
Sep 27, 2012, 10:46am Top

FYI: I invited my Bookcrossing friends to lurk on this thread. I hope some of them take advantage of your excellent tutoring, Liz, and hop on board.

6SqueakyChu
Sep 27, 2012, 10:47am Top

> 2, 4

Welcome, Heather and Kerry!

7SqueakyChu
Edited: Sep 27, 2012, 1:48pm Top

The Monk: Preface

I am supposing that this was a poem that Lewis wrote to capture the facts about him and his novel - that he was a British subject in the Hague when he wrote it, that he was young, and that he wasn't sure how the public would receive it.

What more am I supposed to get out of this poem?

8SqueakyChu
Edited: Sep 27, 2012, 7:26pm Top

The Monk: Volume 1- Chapter 1 - Part 1

1. Church of the Capuchins thronged with Auditors

Who are the Capuchins?
What are Auditors?

2. attracted the notice of two Cavaliers

Who or what are Cavaliers?

3. The capitalization of some nouns is interesting. not all nouns are capitalized. What determines which nouns are capitalized? Why were some (other than proper nouns) even capitalized?

4. replied the old Woman's companion

When this narrative says an "old woman", what age woman are we supposed to imagine?

5. It was light and airy as that of a Hamadryad.

What is a Hamadryad?

6. A chaplet of large grains hung upon her arm.

What is a chaplet?

7. My family has some interest at Court.

What exactly does that mean? Does it mean that Lorenzo's family is highly bred or in the Spanish government?

8. Permit me to remove it.

Wasn't that rather brazen of Lorenzo to try to remove a strange young woman's veil in church?

9. Here is a fuss and bustle about a chit's face.

What is a chit?

10. Dear Aunt, it is not the custom in Murcia.

Where is Murcia?

------------------

Note to myself: page 11
Ending with "Murcia, indeed! Holy St. Barbara..."

9rebeccanyc
Sep 27, 2012, 2:03pm Top

I have this book on the TBR. If I don't move it up to read it with you, I'll star this thread so I can read it when I do read the book.

10SqueakyChu
Sep 27, 2012, 2:08pm Top

Hi Rebecca!

*nudges Rebecca gently to move this book up on her Read it Now! list*

11lyzard
Sep 27, 2012, 6:31pm Top

Hi, Madeline! As you would have gathered, I had an unexpected break in my schedule almost immediately after I PM'ed you. :)

Welcome, Heather, Kerry and Rebecca! Great to have you here!

12SqueakyChu
Sep 27, 2012, 6:45pm Top

As you probably know, I am in no hurry to finish my read of the Monk - even though I just started it. You participation should be at your convenience and under no pressure for speed. :)

13lyzard
Edited: Sep 27, 2012, 6:59pm Top

>>#3

1. Lewis's success at such a young age was partly a lucky break. During most of the 18th century non-fiction writing - religion, politics, history, geography, science - was overwhelmingly the main form of general literature, but towards the end of the century the novel EXPLODED as the most popular form of entertainment - mostly because of the combination of the evolution of novel-writing and rising literacy rates, particularly among women. Publishers were desperate for material to meet demand, and it was probably never easier to get published.

Consequently, a lot of very bad novels got published at this time! - but along with the growth in novel-writing, this was the time when critical analysis of literature became serious business (magazines were founded just to be literary reviews), and there were plenty of people out there sorting the sheep from the goats.

With respect to The Monk, there was general agreement that it was a good novel - a well-written novel - but a lot of people objected strenuously to its subject matter. Even so, this was generally a time of looser standards and morals, which tightened up fairly quickly over the next couple of decades. A few years later, The Monk wouldn't have found a publisher.

Lewis did publish various other works during his life, but none of them were the same sort of success, and it is likely that the experience of The Monk left him a little gun-shy.

2. The thing was, Lewis became an MP after The Monk was written and submitted to the publishers - but before it was published. :)

This was a time of very corrupt politics, when seats in Parliament were essentially bought and sold, and it is likely that Lewis's family arranged for his "election" rather than Lewis campaigning for it himself. Certainly the kerfuffle over the book was all the greater for him being an MP. In any case, he had a very inglorious political career and resigned from it fairly quickly.

3. I think you might find The Mysteries Of Udolpho a bit of a struggle. It is very long, and it does devote a lot of pages to poetry, travelogue descriptions, and lengthy rhapsodies over nature - along with all "the good stuff" - and there is a lot of good stuff too, to be fair.

Heather has read it more recently than I have - Heather, what were your feelings about Udolpho?

4. The odd thing to me about The Monk is that the things it was most strongly criticised for (one thing in particular, which I will point out to you when we get to it) seem fairly innocuous these days, while the scenes that I find most shocking / offensive were not much noticed by critics of the time.

5. They did not have the same sorts of plagiarism laws that we do now, nor was it generally recognised as an issue in the same way.

I think Lewis meant his re-workings more as a tribute to his favourite works, rather than it being a case of him stealing and expecting to get away with it - on the contrary, I think he expected his readers to "get" all of his literary references.

I'll try to point out the different passages as we go through.

6. I'm no expert on Catholicism but I'll do my best!

14lyzard
Edited: Sep 27, 2012, 7:03pm Top

>>#7

Lewis's poem is written in imitation of the classic poet Horace - this is the first of his many literary references and certainly one he would have expected his (male) readers to recognise.

What I find interesting is the last verse - do you remember at the end of Clermont Regina Roche suddenly put in that short passage begging the critics to be kind to her, because she was just a woman? It was much more common for women to do that sort of thing than men, but here we find Lewis pulling the same stunt at the outset - pleading his age rather than his sex:

Your faults, no doubt, will make it clear,
I scarce have seen my twentieth year...

15SqueakyChu
Sep 27, 2012, 7:25pm Top

do you remember at the end of Clermont

I do remember that. So Lewis was really asking for his readers to be gentle with him? I'd like to see contemporary authors try to get away with that! :)

16SqueakyChu
Sep 27, 2012, 7:28pm Top

I want to add here the cover of the copy that I'm reading! :)



17lyzard
Edited: Sep 27, 2012, 7:50pm Top

Right!!

The Monk: Volume 1- Chapter 1 - Part 1

I'm going to start out of order here with your third point:

3. Most editions of The Monk retain Lewis's original spelling and punctuation, which is why you get words like "Auditors" - it isn't a proper name for something. Nouns are capitalised in the Germanic languages, and since we know that Lewis had been reading a lot of German literature he may have carried the habit into his English writing. (The "rules" of English writing were very erratic at this time, not really set in stone.)

1. The Capuchins - correctly, The Order of Friars Minor Capuchin - are an offshoot of the Order of St Francis of Assisi, or the Franciscans. The order was formed when its founder decided that the Franciscans had drifted too far away from St Francis's teachings and were not sufficiently devoted to order and discipline and self-sacrifice. The Capuchins are therefore one of the very strict religious orders, with much of their time spent in solitary fasting and prayer and penitence, which is important to the story.

"Capuchin" refers to the fact that the monks of this order wear a hooded robe, or cappuchio.

The "Auditors" (or "auditors") are just the people who have gone to the cathedral to hear the sermon.

Lewis makes some errors here at the outset - the terms "monk" and "friar" are not interchangeable, and the head of a Franciscan chapter should be called the "guardian" not the "abbot".

2. Young men of noble birth.

4. Heh! She's probably forty. (You will find both the "young" women and the "old" women much younger than we might be accustomed to.)

5. Hamadryads are spirits from Greek mythology, a kind of nymph associated with trees. They are often depicted in art as very slender and very beautiful.

6. A chaplet is a rosary with a specific number of beads, which is used in a particular type of prayer - which is also called a "chaplet".

(I think a chaplet has fifty beads, or "five decades" - i.e. they are used to say five lots of ten "Hail Marys" - but don't quote me on that!)

7. Yes, it means that Lorenzo's family is noble enough to have influence with royalty; the story is set in Madrid, where the Palacio Real de Madrid, the royal palace, is situated.

8. Yes!

One of the novel's more unpleasant themes is the powerlessness of good people, particularly good women, and even this is a minor example of it.

9. A young girl, particularly an insignificant young girl; Leonella is not pleased that Antonia is getting more masculine attention than she is.

10. Murcia is a region in south-east Spain; it's is also the name of the main city in this region. (Like "New York City, New York State".)

18lyzard
Sep 27, 2012, 7:55pm Top

This is my actual copy:

19SqueakyChu
Sep 27, 2012, 8:03pm Top

What building is that? Does your book say?

20SqueakyChu
Sep 27, 2012, 8:05pm Top

I was in Madrid many years ago, but the only places I specifically remember visiting were the Prado museum and a discotheque! :)

I also remember that the streets there were very slippery in the rain. :D

...which, of course, has nothing to do with this book (...unless someone falls in the rain).

21lyzard
Edited: Sep 27, 2012, 8:08pm Top

>>#19

It doesn't really, though it's not the book's fault: it's a photograph from 1860 called "Cathedral Doorway", but there's no hint of what cathedral! :)

I will say, though, that's a very good example of Gothic architecture - the pointed archways and the long vertical lines and the elaborate carving.

>>#20

:)

22SqueakyChu
Edited: Sep 28, 2012, 12:09am Top

The Monk: Volume 1 - Chapter 1 - Part 2

1. What a Seraph's head presented itself...

What is a Seraph?

2. Is a ribband the same as a ribbon?

3. ...to apologize for Antonia's mauvaise honte.

What is mauvaise honte? What language is that?

4. We received intelligence of his death...

In gothic novels, I won't believe that people are actually dead. This I learned from you, Liz! The key word here is "intelligence" - not "death certificate". For this novel, I'm listing Elvira's son as "presumed dead". :)

5. I am heartily glad that the Conde was of a different way of thinking.

What or who is the Conde?

6. She might live in an old castle...

Oh, yeah! A decrepit old castle!!

*rubs hands together with glee*

7. That is an home question.

What does that expression mean?

8. Cavalier reminds me of the Spanish word caballero which is quite a gentleman. I presume that these two words are somewhat related.

9. But, as She unluckily happened to squint upon his Companion: Lorenzo took the compliment to himself...

Haha!

10. What age do we suppose these two Cavaliers are? Are they flirting with both the aunt and the niece? Why? Weren't they all there to attend church services?

-----------------notes to myself--------------

page 15

ends with:
"May I enquire." said He, "the name of the Marquis?"

---------------note to Liz-----------------------

Can you tell this was a free day for me (a very, very rare thing) in which I was off work and had no obligations other than a trip to the library. It was so nice!

23lyzard
Edited: Sep 27, 2012, 9:30pm Top

Ahhh, a day off! - I have one on Monday, sigh... :)

The Monk: Volume 1 - Chapter 1 - Part 2

1. In Christian theology there are nine ranks or orders of angels, and seraphs are the highest. They have three pairs of wings and are usually associated with fire.

Probably this is just Lewis's way of elaborately calling Antonia "an angel", although we should note that St Francis is recorded as having visions of seraphs, so Lewis may have used that word for this particular association.

2. In this context, yes. (A ribband was also something used in ship-building.)

3. This is a French expression meaning shy to the point of being gauche or awkward.

4. Conde is the word for "count" in both Spanish and French, the equivalent of an English earl. Here it refers to Antonia's father: her parents were a nobleman and the daughter of a shoemaker (cobbler); for marrying so "badly", Antonia's grandfather (the marquis) disowned his son (the conde).

5. Oh, no - I've made a cynic out of you! :)

6. Enjoy your castle while you can - most of the novel is about convents and monasteries.

7. It's a question that gets right to the heart of an issue.

8. Yes, like "count" and "conde", the two words mean essentially the same thing.

10. Don Christoval is distracting Leonella by pretending to be attracted to her so that Lorenzo can flirt with Antonia.

This situation is a reference to a similar passage in Johann Goethe's version of Faust.

The men are probably in their early twenties.

It was a common sneer at Catholicism by Protestantism that it was all about the outward display and not really about the worship of God. Here Lewis says outright at the start, Do not encourage the idea, that the crowd was assembled either from motives of piety or thirst of information. Most people, it is suggested, are attending the sermon not to hear a sermon, but because it's "trendy" and "fashionable" to hear Ambrosio preach - while clearly, for some young men going to church is more about spotting pretty girls and flirting than religion. But even the people who are there for religious reasons get sneered at - their religion is dismissed as "superstition", which was another common insult directed at Catholicism.

24SqueakyChu
Sep 27, 2012, 9:48pm Top

> 23

1. In Jewish theology, there is also a reference to what I know as Seraphim (the plural of Seraph). See this link. In a prayer which is the center of all Jewish services there is a reference to these Seraphim, and we say the words (in Hebrew, of course), "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory". I, at first, didn't get the connection between Seraph and Seraphim. I get it now.

4. Yeah. I thought conde was count. I was just not "getting" to whom the references were made. I get it now.

6. Enjoy your castle while you can - most of the novel is about convents and monasteries.

..and I didn't even get to step inside the castle yet. :(

7. I guess that's like when you "home in" on something.

8. Don Christoval is distracting Leonella by pretending to be attracted to her so that Lorenzo can flirt with Antonia.

The men are probably in their early twenties.

I'm still going to assume that Lorenzo is the younger of the two Cavaliers. :)

Church is a good way for young men and women to meet, though!

Since Catholicism was sneered at by the Church of England, I'm assuming that this novel was published basically (or only) for English speakers and was never was translated into Spanish (at least in those days). Is that correct?

25lyzard
Edited: Sep 27, 2012, 10:08pm Top

At the time it was uncommon for books to be translated directly from English into Spanish; usually there was a French edition first, and then later the book was translated from French into other languages.

The French edition of The Monk was published in 1797 and was very popular in spite of the anti-Catholicism - of course, given that they were busy having a revolution, the anti-Catholicism may have made it more popular. (The novel was praised by the Marquis de Sade, which I guess isn't too surprising.) The first Spanish edition was published in 1821, and was translated from the French. I have no idea if the text was censored in any way, although the first French edition has been criticised by later translators for its "inaccuracies", and I don't know how it was received.

26SqueakyChu
Sep 28, 2012, 12:08am Top

The Monk: Volume 1 - Chapter 1 - Part 3

1. the Marquis de las Cisternas

The Marquis of the cisterns? Is that supposed to have some significance?

2. The Grandees load him with presents.

Who or what are the Grandees?

3. The Monk expatiated on the beauties of Religion.

Wha is expatiated?

4. This book is making me sad. Our rabbi just retired this summer, and the High Holy days for me were filled with the sermons of a rabbi I hardly knew. I long for an orator whose sermons I love to hear.

*sigh*

5. ...addressed to them a few words of gratitude, and exhortation

What are words of exhortation?

6. Here we go again! Is Don Christoval the same person as Conde d'Ossorio?

7. So...as soon as Don Lorenzo meets Antonio, he knows he wants to marry her? He barely spoke to her! Did such things really happen?

8. Is Raymond de las Cisternas the Marquis' second son?

9. Was Antonia ready to be married at age 15?

10. I dare dispute no longer with so profound a Casuist.

What is a Casuist?

--------------notes to myself-------------

page 25

ending with:
Suppose we adjourn to the comedy?

27lyzard
Edited: Sep 28, 2012, 1:31am Top

Good heavens, you're galloping along! :)

The Monk: Volume 1 - Chapter 1 - Part 3

1. Cisternas is a reasonably common Spanish name; I've no idea whether Lewis intended a rude joke here.

2. "Grandee" is an English variant of the Spanish word grande, which technically means an aristocrat; "grandee" is often used more generally to mean anyone of high standing or great wealth in a community. VIPs, if you like.

3. To speak at length.

4. Aww. :(

5. Strong urging - in this case, to lead good Cristian lives.

6. Yes, but in this case it's for the right reason - because the friends call each other by their first names, not their titles! :)

And yes, Don Christoval is the Conde d'Ossorio.

7. There are two ways you can take this, the romantic and the cynical. The romantic view is that someone so beautiful must be good; the cynical is that if a woman is beautiful enough, it doesn't matter to a man whether she has a brain and/or a personality or not. Both views appear in novels of this time (and much later) - take your pick!

This passage suggests the cynical view on Lewis's part:

   "In truth she seems possessed of every quality requisite to make me happy in a wife---young, lovely, gentle, sensible---"
   "Sensible? Why, she said nothing but Yes, and No."
   "She did not say much more, I must confess---but then she always said Yes and No in the right place."


Many marriages of the time were in fact made over very brief acquaintances, and sometimes the bride and groom met at the altar.

8. Yes, he is the younger brother of Antonia's father.

9. By the standards of her day, yes. She is old enough to be married, just as the forty-ish Leonella is an old woman.

10. "Casuist" has two meanings. One, it's someone who tries to solve moral dilemmas by strict rules. Two (and this is more important here) it is someone who argues well but uses false reasoning. Don Christoval is saying jokingly that there's no point talking logically to a man in love.

BUT---"casuistry" is often considered a negative quality associated with Catholics in general and the Jesuits in particular, who were supposed to be extremely skilled at shifting their (moral) ground to suit the circumstances, and winning arguments by confusing the issue.

28lyzard
Sep 28, 2012, 1:37am Top

A general observation: most of the characters in the novel are named after Catholic saints, often with a specific reference intended. Most importantly, Ambrosio is named after St Ambrose of Milan, who was also a celebrated public speaker, as well as a strict advocate of virginity.

   "You are right, Segnora," said Don Christoval. "Too great severity is said to be Ambrosio's only fault. Exempted himself from human failings, he is not sufficiently indulgent to those of others, and though strictly just and disinterested in his decisions, his government of the monks has already shown some proofs of his infexibility."

29gennyt
Sep 28, 2012, 4:49am Top

Another lurker here!

And just to add re the connection between cavalier and caballero, they are also related to 'cavalry' and 'chivalry' ; the underlying root word means 'horse' (cheval in French), and thus those who rode on horseback were the knights or cavaliers.

30lyzard
Sep 28, 2012, 6:38am Top

Hi, Genny - welcome! Thank you for adding your comments.

31souloftherose
Sep 28, 2012, 7:30am Top

This is the cover of the edition I read (I think the latest printing of the Oxford World's Classics edition):



I find it really creepy!

#13 " I think you might find The Mysteries Of Udolpho a bit of a struggle. It is very long, and it does devote a lot of pages to poetry, travelogue descriptions, and lengthy rhapsodies over nature - along with all "the good stuff" - and there is a lot of good stuff too, to be fair.

Heather has read it more recently than I have - Heather, what were your feelings about Udolpho?"


I really enjoyed The Mysteries of Udolpho (although I have to confess I skipped most of the poetry) but I'm wary of recommending it to people because it is so long and slow-moving. I found it a very beautiful novel once I'd adjusted to the pace and I've been meaning to read more of Radcliffe's work. Based on my very limited experience of gothic novels I'd say Radcliffe's Udolpho and Lewis' The Monk are at opposite ends of the gothic novel spectrum - which doesn't mean that you can't enjoy both (I did after all) but although they're both 'gothic' they're very different.

32SqueakyChu
Edited: Sep 28, 2012, 8:04am Top

> 29

..and the word for horse in Spanish is caballo!

Hey! The greater fun of reading a novel set in Spain than in France (e.g. Clermont) is that I take more interest in those things Spanish than those things French.

By the way, I grew up in the parish (a reference I made to a"church" comment in message #3) of St. Ambrose (!) in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. :)

33SqueakyChu
Sep 28, 2012, 7:54am Top

> 31

Yeah. I think the character on the cover of your edition of the Monk is really creepy as well. Look at the expression on his face! Does it say if that's a picture of a real person?

long and slow-moving

Then The Mysteries of Udolpho is definitely not for me. I usually don't have patience for novels whose story line never seems to move.

> 29

Welcome, Genny!

34SqueakyChu
Edited: Sep 28, 2012, 1:09pm Top

*montado en mi caballo* (mounted upon my horse)
--------------------------------------------------​

The Monk: Volume 1 - Chapter 1 - Part 4

1. ...probably pass the Evening with my Sister at the Parlour-grate.

What is the Parlour-grate?

2. ...how could you so possilby think of immuring so charming a Girl within the walls of a Cloister!

What is immuring?

3. What does Don Christoval mean when he says...

...remember that whenever it is necessary to make love to yonder Harridan, you may reckon upon my services

Who is Harridan?

4. The void left in his bosom by Antonia's absence...

Don Lorenzo barely met her!!

5. ...created that melancholy of mind...

Counting melancholies. Oops! Wrong book! :P

6. He was still leaning against the seventh column from the Pulpit

Is there any reason why the number of that column was mentioned? Weird!

7. I like the description of the church at night:

The Moon-beams darting into the Church through painted windows, tinged the fretted roofs and massy pillars with a thousand various tints of lights and colours: Universal silence prevailed around, only interrupted by the occasional closing of Doors in the adjoining Abbey.

8. Referring back to message #17 ("the terms "monk" and "friar" are not interchangeable"), what is the difference between a friar and a monk?

*ready to get confused*

..attended by a long train of monks...

'And where is the Bridegroom?' said the imaginary Friar

9. ..in its place appeared an abyss vomiting forth clouds of flame.

Is this referring back to when Don Christoval said, "Farewell, my Knight of Mount Aetna!"?

10. He already drew near the Porch.

I was imagining this like a porch of a house. Is a Porch in this context like that or is it a special part of a church?

----------------notes to myself-----------------

page 29

ending with:
...when his attention was attracted by perceiving a Shadow moving upon the opposite wall.

Don't you just love that?! :)

35SqueakyChu
Sep 28, 2012, 11:03am Top

Off topic:

By the way, Liz, let's pick another tutored read for you and me for the future (if you're willing). That will give me time to look for and get hold of said book.

You now know *exactly* the kind of classic books that I'm willing to read. The Monk seems to be spot on. :)

Any suggestions?

36souloftherose
Sep 28, 2012, 12:59pm Top

#31 The cover to that edition is apparently Portrait of an Ecclesiastic c.1480 by an anonymous French artist. A bit of googling tells me it's in the National Gallery of Art in Washington. I don't know anything about art so I don't know if 'portrait' implies it was drawn from life or not. If it was then I don't think the artist liked the person they were drawing much...

37SqueakyChu
Edited: Sep 28, 2012, 1:08pm Top

> 36

Since I'm in DC, it might be fun to visit that painting (I'm probably not allowed to photograph it, though) at some point. I'd probably notice it right away, in the event that I just happened to be walking through the National Gallery of Art (which, by the way, some of us LTers did visit during our Spring Meet-Up here in DC - at the request of Chatterbox).

Er, what's an Ecclesiastic?

by an anonymous French artist

So we're back to France? (as in my former tutored read, Clermont). :D

It might also be fun to try to figure out exactly who that person was...or even why that portrait was chosen to cover this book!

With Clermont, I wrote to the publisher (who also happened to be a LT member) and got a great response. The reply was that the picture on the book cover had nothing to do with the story! :)

38souloftherose
Sep 28, 2012, 2:26pm Top

#37 An ecclesiastic is a member of the clergy or other person in religious orders (I had to look it up). Words beginning with 'ecclesia' in English normally mean something to do with the church - it comes from the Greek word ekklesia which means 'assembly' and this was the word used throughout the New Testament (mostly written in Greek) to refer to groups of early Christians. (Perhaps TMI - my husband can read New Testament Greek and I seem to pick random bits of it up by osmosis).

That's exciting to think you might be able to go and see the painting. I know why I think Oxford Universuty Press (OUP) chose the cover for this book but I think that would be a spoiler so you'll have to wait and see...!

39SqueakyChu
Sep 28, 2012, 2:36pm Top

so you'll have to wait and see...!

Will do!

40lyzard
Sep 28, 2012, 5:38pm Top

Thanks for your various helpful bits of information, Heather!

Our next tutored read - good heavens!? We're only halfway through Chapter 1 of this one! :)

No suggestions off the top of my head, I admit (it's rather early in the morning here!) but I will certainly think about it. The problem is being restricted to those few of these sorts of books that have been reprinted, and which are not prohibitively expensive. I will start looking into it.

41lyzard
Edited: Sep 28, 2012, 6:35pm Top

The Monk: Volume 1 - Chapter 1 - Part 4

My general comment about all sections of this novel dealing with the convent in particular is to remember that we are dealing with an anti-Catholic novel, so everything is going to be made as negative and shocking as possible. The Protestant view at this time was that entering a convent wasn't devotion to God, it was a cowardly retreat from the world. You might remember in Clermont, in which the characters are French Catholics, Roche still had Madeline speaking with horror at the thought of entering a convent, and that part of her father's distress was trying to make provision for her in the event of his death, so that she would not be forced to do so.

English novels of this time (expressing the general Protestant view with greater of lesser degrees of exaggeration) also assumed that no young girl would voluntarily enter a convent: either her family wanted to get rid of her for some reason, or she was being punished for something. If the girl did go voluntarily, she was "deluded" and/or "superstitious" and would certainly repent her decision. On the other hand, convents took large payments from the families of girls to receive them and gained a high reputation from having girls from noble families in their convents, so the nuns in authority spent most of their time plotting to lure ignorant young girls into their clutches.

Take with as many grains of salt as you need. :)

1. In some convents, direct interaction between the nuns and their visitors was forbidden. There would be a parlour, a sitting-room, where the visitors would be received, with a door at the back with a grill in it. The visitor and the nun in question could only see each other and talk through the grill.

Lorenzo is planning on seeing and talking to his sister Agnes in this manner.

2. Imprisoning - in the sense of a life sentence.

This horror expressed here by Lorenzo and Christoval at Agnes's situation and the language they use is very much the Protestant viewpoint in Catholic mouths.

3. A harridan is a bad-tempered old woman - "yonder Harridan" is Leonella (another case of capitalising a noun).

4. Dearie, if you're going to read romantic novels from this time, you are going to have to be less cynical about love at first sight!

5. :)

6. Wait and see.

8. Monks live in seclusion from the world, while friars go amongst the people. Also, monks generally belong to a specific monastery, while friars belong to a general order.

So we are dealing with monks here, as Ambrosio and the others do not leave their monastery. So at least Lewis got the title of his novel right!

9. No, I think he's now having a vision of hell...

Lorenzo's dream here is another important literary reference, as some of our group members might know (I'm looking at you, Heather!): it's a "Gothic-ised" version of an early dream sequence in Clarissa, by Samuel Richardson, which most novel-readers at this time would certainly have recognised.

10. A church's porch is a room inside its main entrance. (I think - Genny?)

42SqueakyChu
Sep 28, 2012, 6:29pm Top

4. Dearie, if you're going to read romantic novels from this time, you are going to have to be less cynical about love at first sight!

LOL!!

6. Wait and see.

Aha! I picked up a clue! To what, I have no idea. :)

43gennyt
Edited: Sep 28, 2012, 7:22pm Top

#41 - 10
Sort of, yes: a church porch, like a porch at the entrance of a house, is more like a room outside the entrance - an enclosure around the door providing shelter, a kind of transition space on the way into the church building. Apparently one of the original purposes was as a place to deposit your weapons, since you were not meant to take any weapon inside the sanctuary. These days more likely to be full of tatty noticeboards and abandoned umbrellas - and of people who've nipped out of the church to have a cigarette. Also used sometimes after the church is locked up by young people wanting somewhere to hang out, or by homeless people needing a sheltered place to sleep.


An English church porch in Nottinghamshire

44SqueakyChu
Sep 28, 2012, 7:09pm Top

The Monk: Volume 1 - Chapter 1 - Part 5

1. The Porteress of St. Clare

What is the difference between the Prioress of St. Clare, the Porteress of St. Clare, and the Domina of St. Clare?

2. He descried Medina stationed in his passage

What does descried mean?

3. Do we know why Don Lorenzo's sister is in a convent?

4. ...But remember, that I am incognito, and that if you wish to see me, you must ask for Alphonso d'Alvarada.

Oh, no! Not again!! One person with two names and two personnas. That's how come I can never keep the characters of these novels straight. :(

5. Is the "Hotel de las Cisternas" the same as the "Palace de las Cisternas"?

6. He is the very Phoenix of politeness.

What does that expression mean?

7. So now we have a situation in which two men of about the same age (about 23 years of age?) might each have a relationship - one with the aunt (about 40 years of age) and the other her niece (about 15 years of age)?! Or is Leonella just imagining this?

8. She was wise enough to hold her tongue. As this is the only instance known of a Woman's ever having done so, it was judged worthy to be recorded here."

:)

9. She saluted them thrice in the Eastern fashion.

How was this done?

10. Do I have to understand the poem called "The Gypsy's Song"? From that I can only tell that the gypsy can divine whom a woman will marry. What else must I pull out of this poem?

---------------notes to myself----------------

page 36

Ends with:
'Mad? Not She, Child; She is only wicked...'


45SqueakyChu
Sep 28, 2012, 7:12pm Top

> 43

In modern Catholic churches, there always seems to be a room past the entrance door, but prior to entering the chapel. Is that also a "Porch"?

46gennyt
Edited: Sep 28, 2012, 7:32pm Top

#44 Yes, I've seen newer churches with that kind of structure (and old churches in some other cultures) - a kind of entrance lobby or vestibule, inside but separate from the worship space. The technical term for it I think is a 'narthex' - another greek-based term. I guess it performs a similar function to an outside porch, in providing a transition space, only this kind is less draughty and unlikely to be littered with cigarette butts!

47SqueakyChu
Sep 28, 2012, 7:55pm Top

unlikely to be littered with cigarette butts!

:)

48lyzard
Sep 28, 2012, 8:48pm Top

The Monk: Volume 1 - Chapter 1 - Part 5

1. The prioress is the nun in charge; the portress is the nun who looks after the doors and makes sure that no-one gets in or out that shouldn't. Lewis is using "domina" as an alternative term for prioress, though I'm not sure if he is correct in doing so or not.

By the way, Lewis makes one of his major blunders here: it is specified that St Clare's is an enclosed order, so the nuns WOULD NOT leave their convent, even after dark to attend church. (Presumably Lewis was caught between wanting his convent to be as "severe" as possible, but needing the nuns to leave it occasionally.)

2. Observed.

3. We will be given a lengthy explanation later on.

4. It's not so important here. (We get an explanation for why he's using a false name, too.)

5. Yes. All these terms basically mean "mansion".

6. A perfect gentleman.

7. She's not entirely imagining it - Christoval is leading her on, for Lorenzo's benefit - but she is blowing it out of all proportion.

8. Yeah, I love how remarks like that are supposed to have weight even when placed in the context of a story about men behaving appallingly badly.

9. Bowing with the palm or fingers of the right hand pressed to the forehead - a salaam. A more formal version has the chest (heart), lips and forehead touched.

10. I wouldn't like to tell you what to take out of it - what you see is what you see. :)

49SqueakyChu
Sep 28, 2012, 9:19pm Top

I wouldn't like to tell you what to take out of it - what you see is what you see

LOL!

50SqueakyChu
Edited: Sep 29, 2012, 7:54am Top

The Monk: Volume 1 - Chapter 1 - Part 6

1. The gypsy said that Leonella was 51 years old! Was that her true age?

2. The gypsy also foretold that Antonia would die in sorrow after she was led astray by someone who seemed so kind and gentle. We'll see what happens.

--------------------------------------------------​

The Monk: Volume 1 - Chapter 2 - Part 1

3. The Monks, having attend their Abbott to the door of his Cell...

What is his Cell?

4. Is the fact that the Abbott is displaying his vanity one of those "knocks" against the Catholic church that is in this book?

5. The Abbott is looking at the picture of the Madona with great desire. Thus begins the blasphemy as the Virgin Mary is considered holy?

6. I come to you a Suppliant.

What is a Suppliant?

7. The punishment is most severe and cruel.

The nun is pregnant. So what should her punishment have been?

8. Penance and mortification shall expiate your offence

What would be the penance? What is mortification? Is the nun a prisoner in the church? Can she never leave of her own free will? Can she not be thrown out simply having disobeyed her vows?

9. The Monk confesses to Rosario his unhappiness with his solitary life. Isn't something wrong with that picture?

10. 'I am a Woman!'

Whoa! That was unexpected!!

---------------notes to myself----------------

p. 58

Ends with:
'I am a Woman!'

51lyzard
Edited: Sep 29, 2012, 6:29am Top

The Monk: Volume 1 - Chapter 1 - Part 6

1. Possibly. :)

The Monk: Volume 1 - Chapter 2 - Part 1

3. Cells are the rooms within a monastery - the "bedrooms" of the monks - which are intended as private spaces where an individual can pray and commune with God. (They are usually depicted in novels like this as depressing and confining; the religious aspect is generally ignored.)

4. Not necessarily - not in itself. Vanity and pride are sins in all forms of Christianity, pride a deadly sin. But the suggestion that the monastic life is encouraging all of Ambrosio's worst qualities is an aspect of the Protestant view of Catholicism.

5. It's certainly not what one would expect of a holy man! :) (And lust is another deadly sin, while idolatry breaks a commandment. He's doing well so far!)

6. Someone who begs for a favour - particularly in the sense of throwing themselves on the other person's mercy.

7. & 8. That depends upon which convent and order she belongs to. She might be excommunicated. Or she might be physically punished (as is suggested by "mortification") by being confined, fed on bread and water, perhaps forced to kneel and pray on bare stone for hours, or even whipped.

But since Agnes wants to leave the convict, we can bet that's the one thing that won't happen. (She has taken vows and can't leave the convent with a dispensation from the Pope.)

The point to take away here (which is anti-Catholic) is that the prioress is furious not because Agnes has broken her vows, but because she and her convent have been made to look bad in front of Ambrosio: she's not worried about the sin, she's worried about public opinion. This is her vanity and pride in action.

9. This is in line with the Protestant view that no-one wants to enter a convent or monastery, and no-one can be happy if they do.

10. Gotcha! :)

52rebeccanyc
Edited: Sep 29, 2012, 8:36am Top

I am considering starting The Monk today when I finish the other book I'm reading, but I'm a little concerned because I'd like it to be my subway read, but here is my cover:



I'm not sure I want to be displaying that in public!

The cover credits says it's a detail from "The Fall of the Damned" by Dirck Bouts the Elder (c. 1450) from the Museée des Beaux Arts in Lille.

My edition is a Penguin edition and has an introduction and lots of notes, so this thread will be a great additional resource.

53SqueakyChu
Sep 29, 2012, 8:41am Top

> 52

Oh, do join us with this read, Rebecca! I love the cover. Just make a book cover for it out of an old grocery bag. I used to do that when I was in grade school.

I am so going to miss my Metro train reads. My office is relocating in the next few weeks to a venue far from any Metro train. I'll have to go back to listeneing to CDs in the car. I much prefer real books as I'm hard of hearing and reading by sight to me is preferable than reading by audio. Not much I can do about that situation, though.

I usually do not read the introduction and notes to any of my tutored reads until I've completely finished the book. I let Liz fill in all the blanks. In this way, I'm sure that I'm avoiding tons of spoilers.

54SqueakyChu
Sep 29, 2012, 9:58am Top

Liz,

Feel free to insert an intermission anywhere as I won't necessarily stop between chapters unless told to do so.

--------------------------------------------------​

The Monk: Volume 1 - Chapter 2 - Part 2

1. So "Julian" was really the Abbott? I had to reread this part because I was getting thoroughly confused.

2. It's curious to me why Matilda entered the order as a monk rather than a nun. Either way she could have hidden her infatuation with Ambrosio. I am guessing that was because, otherwise, she could not have developed a "friendship" with Ambrosio.

3. After vanquishing the impetuous ebullitions of youth...

What are ebullitions?

4. I found the answer to question #2:
The Laws of our Order forbid your stay: It would be perjury to conceal that a Woman is within these Walls...

She wanted to be close to Ambrosio physically so she entered the monastery rather than a convent.

5. ..or my own dooms me to perdition.

What is perdition?

6. I wonder if Matilda knew ahead of time the effect her "beauteous Orb" would have on Ambrosio. She could have stabbed herself through her clothing instead of tearing them apart! :)

7. Um. Ambrosio supposes that Matilda has a beautiful face because she has a beautiful breast. Oka-a-a-a-a-ay.

8. knelt before the beautiful Madona

I have a feeling that the "beautiful" Virgin Mary is not going to be of much help in this situation.

9. "..he pressed his lips to hers"

Kissing the Madona? Blasphemy!!

This may be a problem with a theology in which a holy person is a human as well. In my own religion, we have no humans which are divine. It therefore often hard for me to see how to take the sexual aspect out of a divine "person" who is in the form of a male or female human being.

10. 'Agnes! Agnes!' He exclaimed while reflecting on his embarrasments, 'I already feel thy curse!'

What curse was that? I either missed something or have already forgotten something. :(

---------------------notes to myself------------------------------

page 68

Ending with:
He quitted his Cell, detemined upon dismissing the feigned Rosario.

55susanj67
Sep 29, 2012, 12:25pm Top

I just found this thread this afternoon, and The Monk is a book I've had on my TBR list for a while. So I've started it (I'm reading a freebie version of it, so no nice cover to post) and all the information in this thread has already been such a help. Knowing a bit about the background to it and, for example, the anti-Catholicism, means it is already making much more sense than it would have if I had read it on my own. I'm going back to lurking now, but thanks so much, Liz, for all your time in tutoring it.

56SqueakyChu
Sep 29, 2012, 12:34pm Top

Hi, Susan...and welcome!

57lyzard
Sep 29, 2012, 5:22pm Top

>>#52

Oh, Rebecca, that's hilarious! I'm sure we've all suffered miseries from time to time with inappropriate covers!

>>#55

Hi, Susan - welcome! Please feel free to ask any questions you need to. We just ask that you do not ask questions concerning anything beyond the point in the novel where Madeline is up to, according to the chapter notes she posts.

>>#54

Madeline, I might leave the intermission until Monday or Tuesday when I think the most people will have a chance to post - things are always quieter around LT on weekends. Perhaps after your Monday post(s)?

58lyzard
Edited: Sep 29, 2012, 6:03pm Top

The Monk: Volume 1 - Chapter 2 - Part 2

1. Yes. Rosario is breaking it to Ambrosio gently by telling "his" own story as his sister's story.

2. & 4. Women were strictly forbidden from entering monasteries except under exceptional circumstances. If a nun belonged to an enclosed order like St Clare's (i.e. the one Agnes belongs to), the only time she would have contact with a man would be during confession.

"Rosario" has broken countless rules by entering the monastery, and Ambrosio is breaking more every moment he allows Rosario to stay.

3. Violent emotions.

5. Damnation; going to hell.

6. Well, look at the effect that "beauteous orbs" have on men who haven't spent their whole lives in a monastery! :)

7. See #6. He really doesn't know much about women, remember!

8. Yeah, I think Mary will struggling to help with this one.

9. Sacrilege, actually. :)

Of course, Christianity is built on Jesus's simultaneous divinity and humanity - even though there is often discomfort and denial about what his human nature may have meant (The Last Temptation Of Christ is aboiut Jesus being offered the chance of a normal human life, married with children, instead of dying for mankind; it upset a lot of people, even though ultimately it is a reaffirmation of His divinity.)

Mary holds a special place in Catholicism because she is a woman placed high in what is otherwise a completely male authoritarian construct. I was reading a book about views on pregnancy and childbirth through history once that talked about the Reformation in England and how it became a criminal offence to pray to or call upon Mary, and what a devastating thing this was for the women of the time in particular - because Mary was one of them: she had been married, been pregnant, gone through childbirth - so she understood their problems and fears.

10. Agnes begs Ambrosio for mercy but he spurns her and turns her over to the prioress for punishment. She says to him:

"Hear me! man of a hard heart! Hear me, proud, stern and cruel! You could have saved me!... Insolent in your yet-untempted virtue, you disdained the prayers of a penitent; but God will shew mercy, though you shew none. And where is the merit of your boasted virtue? What temptations have you vanquished? Coward! you have fled from it, not opposed seduction. But the day of trial will arrive. Oh! then when you yield to impetuous passions; when you feel that man is weak, and born to err; when, shuddering, you look back upon your crimes, and solicit, with terror, the mercy of your God, oh! in that fearful moment think upon me! think upon your cruelty! think upon Agnes, and despair of pardon!"

This is a frank expression of the Protestant view that going into a convent or monastery was simply hiding from the world and avoiding temptation instead of confronting it and overcoming it - that there was no real virtue in this form of self-denial. The only reason that Ambrosio hasn't sinned is because he hasn't had the opportunity. Now that he is faced with real temptation for the first time, he realises that Agnes was right about him. He also realises that he should have been more merciful to her.

59SqueakyChu
Sep 29, 2012, 6:52pm Top

> 57

Perhaps after your Monday post(s)?

You're the boss. Just let me know! :)

60SqueakyChu
Edited: Sep 29, 2012, 7:05pm Top

> 54, 58

6. I love that expression: "beautous orbs"! :)

7. He really doesn't know much about women, remember!

LOL!

9. What is the difference between blasphemy and sacrilege?

10. Okay. I now remember. It was when Ambrosio found the letter that Agnes dropped.

that there was no real virtue in this form of self-denial.

I often wonder about this. Of what real virtue is not being a fully sexual human being? It is humans who place a value (good or bad) on sexual relations. This is not found in any other form of life as sexual liaisons in animals are used for reproduction, hence survival.

61SqueakyChu
Edited: Sep 30, 2012, 9:46pm Top

The Monk: Volume 1 - Chapter 2 - Part 3

1. where shall I now seek for probity?

What is probity?

2. ...upon the approbrium opprobrium in which such an event would plunge me

What is an approbrium opprobrium ?

3. Abbess of a Covent in Estramadura

I'm guessing this was a typo in my book and should have said "convent".

4. who oficiated a Surgeon of the Fraternity

I'm guessing that a "Surgeon" wasn't a physician who only did "surgery", but was also a general medical doctor. Am I correct?

5. Wouldn't residents of the monastery wonder why "Rosario" was playing a harp? Wasn't that a feminine thing to do?

6. ...and if Rosario sung, wouldn't she sound like a woman? Weren't there others nearby who could hear her singing?

7. Were musical instruments even kept in a monastery?

8. What am I supposed to get out of the ballad "Duandarte and Balerma" other than a man's dying request for his Cousin to to tell the woman he loves that he died loving her? Is this ballad supposed to make Ambrosio guilty or sad?

9. None sleep so profoundly, as those who are determined not to wake.

Haha!

--------------------notes to myself-------------------

page 79

Ends with:
The burning tear had communicated its warmth to his heart.

62rebeccanyc
Edited: Sep 30, 2012, 12:27pm Top

Thank you, Madeline, for encouraging me to start this now! I've just read Chapter 1 and am finding the novel truly delightful. I'm grateful, Liz, for your insights into the complete anti-Catholicism of the book and England generally at the time. The introduction to my edition also points out that Lewis had a theatrical background and that a lot of the book is written as if for theater, which I also find helpful. Interestingly, a lot of the questions you are asking, Madeline, where you don't understand a word or a phrase, are footnoted (well, endnoted) in my edition, so I'm able to keep reading without referring back here. I haven't read the comments here about Chapter 2 yet, since I haven't started it, but the ones on Chapter 1 were very interesting. Thanks.

ETA I must say I have my suspicions about Antonia's "dead" older brother and the mysterious appearance of Ambrosio as an infant on the monastery doorstep, but maybe it's a red herring . . .

63lyzard
Edited: Sep 30, 2012, 6:52pm Top

>>#60

9. In biblical terms blasphemy is defined as claiming to be God when you aren't, but these days it is more commonly defined as insulting God or treating something considered sacred with contempt or disrespect. Sacrilege is desecrating or misusing a holy object. (The third point of the triangle is heresy, which is rejecting the church's teachings and/or professing beliefs that contradict the church. So to Catholics, Protestants are heretics.)

Ambrosio is guilty of sacrilege because he is sexualising a portrait of the Virgin Mary.

10. The problem for me is that "virtue" is always defined in terms of sexual conduct, when there are so many other (more important) ways of being "good" or "bad".

Did you follow Roni's long analysis of The Closing Of The Western Mind? That showed fairly clearly how a lot of what we take as "perpetual" religious rules were in fact introduced over the centuries by particular individuals with particular hang-ups - like the exhalting of virginity, which if you think about it is in pretty direct contradiction to the Bible's command to "go forth and multiply".

(Which isn't to say I haven't been hoping for an updated edition of the Bible that says "Okay, that's enough multiplying.")

>>#62

Thanks for joining in, Rebecca. Feel free to go on adding your comments and questions (to anything up to Madeline's chapter markers).

64lyzard
Sep 30, 2012, 7:22pm Top

The Monk: Volume 1 - Chapter 2 - Part 3

1. Moral honesty or strong ethics.

2. Approbrium or opprobium? I'm not sure if this is a variant spelling or a typo. "Opprobium" means strong criticism, particularly in a context of condemnation for moral transgressions.

3. Yes, it is.

4. Yes.

5. Not necessarily - remember Harpo Marx! :) This is one of those weird things where there was a sudden gender-swap: at one time the harp was considered an exclusively masculine instrument, but then the instrument itself was altered, made more "delicate" and "refined", and then it was considered more appropriate for women.

(In a monastery you weren't supposed to have a choice!)

6. I think "Rosario" is supposed to be so young, "his" voice hasn't broken. Or perhaps she's a contralto, so it isn't so obvious.

7. Music was (is) an important part of religious worship and many monasteries and convents were famous for writing and performing sacred music, even apart from choirs and chanting. Instruments like the organ were more common than the harp, though.

8. Not really; but it's another example of the extreme view of love and passion often expressed in novels like this. (It's possibly Rosario's way of expressing the extremity of her love.)

This song is based on a passage from Don Quixote, where the same story is told in prose. Lewis claimed that his version was translated from a Spanish poem, presumably also drawn from Don Quixote. After The Monk was published the poem was set to music and became a popular song.

9. :)

65lyzard
Sep 30, 2012, 7:23pm Top

Okay---with that, I think we might declare:

INTERMISSION

If we have any more lurkers out there, please identify yourselves!

Lurkers, if you have any comments or questions please feel free to post them, up to the point in the novel indicated by Madeline.

66klobrien2
Sep 30, 2012, 7:59pm Top

Hi, there! I was just catching up on my thread reading, and found out that SqueakyChu is doing this fantastic tutored read with Lyzard! I had JUST selected The Monk as one of my October reads, so this is such a good find for me. I'll be a quiet little lurker, but just the info I've gleaned from this thread so far are going to get me started on the right foot! Synchronicity!

Karen O.

67SqueakyChu
Sep 30, 2012, 9:49pm Top

> 64

Or perhaps she's a contralto, so it isn't so obvious.

Nice cop out. LOL!

68SqueakyChu
Edited: Sep 30, 2012, 9:51pm Top

> 66

Hi, Karen...and welcome!

P.S. Liz is a treasure of a tutor. You're in for a treat.
P.P.S. I love synchronicity!

69rebeccanyc
Oct 1, 2012, 10:12am Top

Thank you, LIz, for the welcome, and for all your helpful (and entertaining) comments. I've never participated in a tutored read before, so this is a fun new experience for me.

By the way, going back to post 57, I've had trouble with the text as well as covers when reading on the subway, as when I was reading the beginning of Bolano's The Savage Detectives which is almost entirely composed of sex scenes -- I suddenly realized the people on either side of me could see what I was reading!

70SqueakyChu
Edited: Oct 1, 2012, 10:25am Top

> 69

Just to make you even more paranoid, Rebecca, I always try to at least peep* at e-readers on the Metro as well as books just to see if I can figure out what people are reading! :)

*That won't happen too much longer, though, as with a work venue change, my days of riding the Metro to work are numbered. :(

71lyzard
Edited: Oct 1, 2012, 7:01pm Top

>>#66

Welcome, Karen - great to have you here!

>>#68

Awww... :)

72lyzard
Oct 1, 2012, 7:01pm Top

Okay, I think we might call END OF INTERMISSION - carry on whenever you like, Madeline.

73rebeccanyc
Oct 1, 2012, 7:10pm Top

I am charging ahead with this book -- it's getting hard to put down!

#70 To further your subterranean voyeuristic habits, Madeline, check out the Underground Public Library.

74SqueakyChu
Oct 1, 2012, 7:16pm Top

The Monk: Volume 1 - Chapter 2 - Part 4

1. He said in a troubled voice; 'Oh! my Matilda!

My Matilda!? His Matilda?!! Isn't it wrong for Ambrosio to even utter this?

2. What was his amazement at beholding the exact resemblance of his admired Madona?

The exact resemblance? Wait. Isn't that a bit much?!!

3. Oh. I now understand the "resemblance". The picture was painted of Matilda specifically for the Friar. Wasn't that morally and ethically wrong? First, to paint a simple woman and portray her as the Madona. Second, to cause the Friar to become enamored of that picture. Again, I see where mixing humans and divinity can cause all sort of problems.

4. How did a Jew get into this story?

5. What is an Emissary and how did this Jew get to be Matilda's Emissary?

6. Since you insist upon it, I yield to your prayer: I consent to your remaining here for a sufficient time to prepare in some measure the Brethren for your departure. Stay yet two days...

What?!! How weak is this man?

7. She caught his hand eagerly, and pressed it to her lips.

Is that acceptable behavior on her part? Should a Friar be kissed at all? Can a Friar be kissed? If so, by whom?

8. Again she kissed his hand.

I guess she wants him to remember her kisses lest the first one be forgotten. :)

9. Now why would Ambrosio send Father Pablos to Rosario if "he" were ill? Upon examining "him", Father Pablos would have immediately recognized "he" was a woman. That is, unless that physician treated his patients without touching them!

10. "Perhaps it may yet be time to save her!'

Now why did the Friar say *her* to the Lay-brother when the Lay-brother was informing the Friar about a (male) novice monk? Did the Lay-brother not hear the Friar say "her"?

---------------------notes to myself---------------------

page 87

Ends with:
He said and flew towards the Cell of the Novice.

75lyzard
Edited: Oct 1, 2012, 7:52pm Top

The Monk: Volume 1 - Chapter 2 - Part 4

The whole point here is that the "perfect" Ambrosio is frankly confronted with temptation for the first time in his life...and can't cope. Again, this is the Protestant point about the cloistered life. Watch out for the step-wise way Ambrosio starts to give in, inch by inch...

1. Yes. :)

2. & 3. Painters did (do) use models even for sacred subjects, though there's nothing wrong with it at that level; the problem is Matilda's motivation.

4. & 5. The (supposed) art dealer who sold the painting of the Madonna to Ambrosio was Jewish. I'm not sure if Jewish people were known for art dealing at the time, or whether we're supposed to infer something negative from Matilda "hiring" this person to take her portrait to Ambrosio. An emissary is someone's representative - in this case, a secret emissary.

6. Very. :)

7. & 8. Hand-kissing generally was a sign of respect and submission by one party to another, sometimes between a man and a woman, sometimes between two women of different rank, sometimes between father and son, more uncommonly from a woman to a man.

In the Catholic church, lower ranked clergy will kiss the ring of the Pope or a Cardinal or bishop in the same way. Also, it was fairly common for people to kneel and kiss the hand of their priest.

So we can interpret Matilda kissing Ambrosio's hand EITHER as a noviciate showing respect and submission to a priest in authority, OR as a woman showing gratitude to a man.

Except that it's probably neither of these things... :)

9. Believe it or not, doctors did not commonly touch or examine their patients until well into the 19th century. Surgeons, who did have physical contact, were considered of lower rank and looked down on by physicians. Physicians would make diagnoses based upon overt symptoms, on the basis of conversation.

I think we're supposed to assume here that Father Pablo (also being of an enclosed order) is as ignorant about women as Ambrosio; ignorant enough that without a physical examination, he wouldn't realise.

10. Ambrosio says that while "flying" to Matilda's cell, so we can infer that he is speaking to himself.

76SqueakyChu
Oct 1, 2012, 10:05pm Top

> 9

I think we're supposed to assume here that Father Pablo (also being of an enclosed order) is as ignorant about women as Ambrosio; ignorant enough that without a physical examination, he wouldn't realise.

That's amazing!

77lyzard
Edited: Oct 1, 2012, 10:40pm Top

>>#76

Don't forget, we're also talking about an enclosed environment, probably with no windows and candle lighting at best. Matilda would be lying in the shadows covered up by her blankets. She might have allowed her pulse to be taken, but otherwise she probably just described her symptoms.

78SqueakyChu
Oct 2, 2012, 10:22pm Top

The Monk: Volume 1 - Chapter 2 - Part 5

1. I find it very hard to believe that Matilda truly loves Ambrosia. If she did, despite her lust for him, wouldn't she at least feel bad about destoying his reputation and taking him away from all that he ever valued as Friar?

2. Wretched woman ...but live, Matilda!

Can this man not make up his mind?!

3. felt her heart throb under it

He just wanted to feel her "beauteous Orb"!. :)

4. For a dying person, Matilda has a lot of life to her! Was she really dying? Can one be poisoned by drinking a Cientepedoro's venom?

----------------------------------

The Monk: Volume 1 - Chapter 3 - Part 1

6. Donna Rodolpha - Is that Lorenzo's aunt?

7. So Raymond was told to travel with an alias so that he would be treated in way that reflected how he treated others?

8. I like the Marquis' idea of having his son mix with all classes of people during his travels. That, however, was probably not done at the time this book was written, was it?

9. ...were frustrated by the breaking down of my Chaise

Er, this seems to happen a lot in the novels we're reading, Liz! :)

10. The Horses contrived with some difficulty to drag the shattered vehicle after us.

Why were the horses not freed from the Chaise after it broke down?

--------------------notes to myself------------------

page 99

Ends with:
The People within seemed in doubt whether we should be admitted.

79lyzard
Oct 2, 2012, 10:46pm Top

The Monk: Volume 1 - Chapter 2 - Part 5

1. We will find out a lot more about Matilda's motives as we go along.

2. No. :)

He's learning the reality of temptation, i.e, he's knows it's wrong but he can't help himself (and so blames her - typical!).

3. Bingo!

4. It's always hard to know how to understand illness in novels of this kind, what with "brain-fever" and people "dying of grief", and so. The easiest way is to take them at face value - and here accept that, yes, Matilda has ingested deadly centipede venom. (Centipede bites can be fatal, but only because of allergies similar to those for bee sting.)

The interesting thing here, I think, is Lewis's substitution of the loaded word "serpent" for what he later makes clear is a centipede.

The Monk: Volume 1 - Chapter 3 - Part 1

6. Yes, Lorenzo's and Agnes's.

7. At least, so that he would find out what "the real world" is like, and how people talk and behave to you when they don't know you're a stinking rich young nobleman. :)

8. Not commonly by young Englishmen; I don't know what it was usual for people of other nations. Some people did choose to travel incognito but usually when a young man was sent on the Grand Tour at this time he tended to go from mansion to mansion and embassy to embassy, only meeting people of his own class (and seeing hardly anything of the countries he was visiting). A greater interest in people and places developed over the 19th century, though.

9. Well, it did happen a lot! Roads were terrible, and distances very long. Yes it's a dramatic contrivance but not at all an unbelievable one.

10. Because the only way they could avoid leaving it where it was, and possibly having it plundered, and then having somehow to get people out to fix it later, was by trying to take it along with them.

80SqueakyChu
Edited: Oct 2, 2012, 11:11pm Top

> 4

The interesting thing here, I think, is Lewis's substitution of the loaded word "serpent" for what he later makes clear is a centipede.

Well, I googled cientepedoro and got...nothing!

Well, there should be different reaction if venom is injected into a person or swallowed, but maybe not for this story's sake.

> 8

A greater interest in people and places developed over the 19th century, though.

..and in the 20th century in my own travels, I always liked to mix with the common folk...even though I'm one of them! Fancy doesn't impress me as much as good will toward others and personal warmth. Cold and rich turns me off completely.

> 10

Because the only way they could avoid leaving it where it was, and possibly having it plundered, and then having somehow to get people out to fix it later, was by trying to take it along with them.

..but that is so cruel to the horses! It seems as if I complained about this previously as well.

81lyzard
Oct 2, 2012, 11:21pm Top

Lewis apparently added a footnote to his first edition explaining that the centipede was a native of Cuba that was brought back to Spain by Columbus (possibly because there are no deadly centipedes native to Spain).

there should be different reaction if venom is injected into a person or swallowed

Agreed!

but that is so cruel to the horses! It seems as if I complained about this previously as well.

Yes, and you're right, but apart from very different prevailing attitudes to animals at the time, there just weren't any other transport options.

82SqueakyChu
Oct 4, 2012, 12:04am Top

No time to read tonight, Liz. I'll try to get some reading in tomorrow night.

83lyzard
Oct 4, 2012, 1:08am Top

I missed you. :)

84SqueakyChu
Edited: Oct 5, 2012, 10:34pm Top

The Monk: Volume 1 - Chapter 3 - Part 2

1. Who is Claude? Lorenzo's postillion?

2. Who is Stephano? Lorenzo's servant?

3. Am I to assume that Marguerite has two children elsewhere (perhaps living with her previous husband) that she never sees?

4. The cloth was spreading in the chamber where I was.

What does that expression mean?

5. If the gentleman chooses to lollop...

What does "lollop" mean?

6. "laying the cloth"

What does that mean?

7. "crimsoned with blood"

Yikes!!

8. the Horn suspended from his neck

What horn? Was that a flask? If not, what was it?

9. I had no difficulty to distinguish his words

Hmmm? So many people overhearing conversations in the novels we're reading, Liz! :)

10. Is the idea to gather to Banditti from the Cavern and bring them to the Cottage to rob the wealthy Lorenzo and Baroness?

--------------notes to myself------------------

page 111

Ends with:
I seated myself quietly opposite to the Baroness.

85lyzard
Edited: Oct 5, 2012, 12:58am Top

The Monk: Volume 1 - Chapter 3 - Part 1

1. & 2. Claude is the driver of the carriage, who has been hired for that purpose; he is also the friend of Baptiste, who owns the cottage. Stephano is Lorenzo's servant, who travels with him and helps him maintain his incognito. (And talks too much.)

3. They'll turn up presently. (There would be no divorce at this time, so Marguerite would not have a "former husband" in that sense.)

4. & 6. Both of these expressions mean setting the table.

5. In this context, it means to lie around. Marguerite is saying that if Lorenzo messes up the bed, he'll have to make it again himself, because she won't. (Lollop is often used to mean to jump or walk with a bounding motion.)

7. !!!! :)

8. The horn is a noise-maker. Postillions (carriage-drivers) like Claude wore them while working, so that they could blow warning signals to any other carriages on the road, to make other drivers aware of their presence or to indicate when they were going to overtake. (Again, narrow, poorly maintained roads, no lighting...)

9. Eavesdropping may not be polite, but it is often extremely informative!

10. To rob and murder - yes, exactly.

I love the way that Lorenzo's perceptions of Baptiste and Marguerite suddenly change in this passage!

86rebeccanyc
Oct 5, 2012, 9:09am Top

Just reporting that I couldn't put this book down and have finished it. Thanks for encouraging me to read it now, Madeline, and thanks Liz for your insights -- I'll check back to see what you have to say as the posts appear.

87Deern
Oct 5, 2012, 9:34am Top

I've been away from LT for some weeks and only today found this thread - which comes in handy, as I started the book last night as Halloween read. :-)

I am in Vol 1 chapter 2, so a little behind the thread, but so far it's the first Gothic novel I really enjoy. Your comments are extremely helpful and I'll follow you from here.

88SqueakyChu
Oct 5, 2012, 12:17pm Top

> 86

Heh! Glad you enjoyed it, Rebecca. I like to s-t-r-e-t-c-h out the suspense and get into every nook and cranny that I can in an effort to glean what I can from Liz's tutoring.

89SqueakyChu
Oct 5, 2012, 12:21pm Top

> 87

Hi Nathalie!

So glad you have come to join us! If you find yorurself enjoying this novel, perhaps you'd be interested in having Liz tutor you in another similar novel. These have all been so much funfor me. Gothic novels we've already finished are The Castle of Otranto and Clermont.

I have to admit that, although I started the tutored reads with Jane Austen books, I find that I'm enjoying the Gothic novels much more.

90SqueakyChu
Edited: Oct 5, 2012, 11:34pm Top

The Monk: Volume 1 - Chapter 3 - Part 3

1. Why did the wife need a Key to get wine?

2. I assume that wine bottles were sealed with wax at that time? Did the color yellow mean anything special about that wax?

3. Is Marguerite trying to protect Leonardo (corrected:) Lorenzo and the Baroness?

4. What does Banditti mean? The bandits? The bad guys?

5. What did Leonardo (correced:) Leonardo do with his drinK?

6. Why did Marguerite want her husband slain?

7. Betrayed! Betrayed!

Was Jacques talking about Marguerite?

8. What was Marguerite's son doing in the company of the Baron Lindenberg?

9. After it had been poured down her throat

Terrible! That's a no-no!! If a liquid is poured down the throat of a person not conscious, such a person would aspirate the liquid, choke, and could quite possibly die as a result.

10. I'm sad that Stephano perished. What a waste!

-----------------notes to myself--------------------

page 121

Ending with:
...and of these my unhappy Stephano was one.

91lyzard
Oct 5, 2012, 11:07pm Top

>>#87

Hi, Nathalie - welcome! Hope you find The Monk an enjoyable read (if "enjoyable" is the right word!).

92lyzard
Oct 5, 2012, 11:30pm Top

The Monk: Volume 1 - Chapter 3 - Part 3

1. Wine was (is) stored in a specially constructed cellar, which was generally behind a lockable door. In upper-class houses the key would be held by the butler; giving the key to a servant was a mark of trust. Here, however, I imagine it's more about #2---

2. Probably Baptiste puts a mark upon the "special" wine intended for his guests, as well as keeping it carefully locked up.

3. Lorenzo?

Yes, she is doing her best against extremely poor odds.

4. Ah, now, we dealt with "banditti" in Clermont - remember all those scary rides through the woods, and the band at the castle?? :)

Yes, banditti is another word for "bandits", or a group of criminals (usually operating in rural areas, and on horseback) that lives by robbery and murder.

In my introduction I talked about how Lewis had read a lot of German literature before writing The Monk, and how stories about banditti were very popular there at the time. This episode is very much like a passage from one of those books, except that the German stories were usually written from the other perspective, with the banditti positioned as a kind of anti-hero. One of the most important works of this kind was a play called The Robbers by Friedrich von Schiller, which was actually a critique of German upper-class society of the day (1781).

5. He pretended he'd had a few sips of it, but actually emptied the entire glass into a dish of water that Marguerite was washing up in (no running water, of course).

6. Wait and see.

7. "Betrayed" is a general signal that their plans had miscarried and their intended victims were escaping, but of course it is due to Marguerite that this is happening.

8. Wait and see. :)

9. You often see this "cure" in novels of this period (and later), but yes, it doesn't seem like a good idea.

10. If I wanted to be mean, I would point out that it was Stephano talking too much abot Lorenzo's money that brought him to the attention of the banditti. Let this be a lesson! :)

93SqueakyChu
Edited: Oct 5, 2012, 11:37pm Top

4. with the banditti positioned as a kind of anti-hero

Like Robin Hood?

6, 8 Wait and see.

:D

10. If I wanted to be mean, I would point out that it was Stephano talking too much abot Lorenzo's money that brought him to the attention of the banditti

Yes. I now remember Lorenzo (not Leonardo!) talking about that.

94SqueakyChu
Oct 5, 2012, 11:41pm Top

A momentary look back at the end of Chapter 2...

Just to get back for a moment to the scene at the end of chapter 2 in which Matilda seduced the Friar. If that book were edited and a different version published afterward, how was that scene changed?

95lyzard
Oct 5, 2012, 11:51pm Top

>>#93

Not really - more along the lines of "society is so corrupt that the criminals are the only honest people".

>>#94

I found a comprehensive list of all the changes that Lewis made over the subsequent editions - and there are a LOT - and I will probably post them later on (not now; too many spoilers!). He did significantly cut the sex scenes, though, and removed the descriptions of Matilda's "beauteous orbs". :)

96SqueakyChu
Oct 5, 2012, 11:56pm Top

removed the descriptions of Matilda's "beauteous orbs"

LOL! That's too bad. That was my favorite line so far of this entire book.

97lyzard
Oct 6, 2012, 1:26am Top

Apparently it takes a gay man to come up with a really good way of saying "boobs". :)

98SqueakyChu
Oct 6, 2012, 11:24am Top

Haha!

99SqueakyChu
Edited: Oct 6, 2012, 11:28am Top

Apparently it takes a gay man to come up with a really good way of saying "boobs".

It's interesting, though, that since the author was gay (and I wasn't even thinking of this in my reading now as I've been too involved in the story itself), that there is the conflicted identity of Rosario and Matilda to consider. In all honesty, Lewis would probably rather have had Rosario remain a male character throughout the story. That (at least in those days) would have been much, much worse in the public's eye for this novel, don't you think?

100lyzard
Edited: Oct 6, 2012, 5:05pm Top

Not just much worse, impossible. At this time above just about all times in England, homosexuality was anathema. As you read through the 19th century, you do increasingly find characters who can be interpreted as gay - and Anthony Trollope, of all people, even fleetingly mentions male prostitutes - but when Lewis was writing it was out of the question.

You're right about the identity conflict in the novel, though, and not just with respect to Rosario / Matilda - take note of how many characters adopt another identity at some point in the story - even aside from Ambrosio's false public face.

Speaking of which, I've just realised we were both wrong up above - the person having the grim adventure with the banditti is not Lorenzo (or even Leonardo!), it is Raymond de las Cisternas, who at the time was going under the name of Alphonso d'Alvarada.

I'm like you - too many alternative names!! :)

101SqueakyChu
Oct 7, 2012, 12:34am Top

it is Raymond de las Cisternas, who at the time was going under the name of Alphonso d'Alvarada.

Oh, you're right!

No time for more reading tonight. I'll try to check back in tomorrow.

102SqueakyChu
Edited: Oct 8, 2012, 9:51am Top

The Monk: Volume 1 - Chapter 3 - Part 4

1. I was true to his Bed.

What does that mean?

2. How come Marguerite's Child showed up all of a sudden? Was this one of the chilfren of Marguerite and her first husband. From where did the Child suddenly appear?

3. If Baptiste (correction:) Marguerite's Lover was a "Villain", then why did Marguerite follow him?

4. Oh, I see the answer to #3. Baptiste "squandered away his paternal inheritance". In addition, he became attached to the Banditti and became a Murderer. I'm guessing that we shall find out later specifically whom or who all he murdered. On the other hand, did he murder most of the Travelers from which he stole money and goods?

5. Baptiste was once a Monk?! Yikes!!

6. He entreated assistance from the Magistrature.

What is the Magistrature?

7. I no longer remember what Lorenzo's "Aunt's assertions" were. There are too many people for me to follow again. I have written down that Donna Rodolpha is Agnes and Lorenzo's aunt. :(

-----------------notes to myself-------------------------

page 128

End of the first volume!

103lyzard
Oct 8, 2012, 12:42am Top

Before I answer this round of questions, I re-found this passage from another novel written around the same time as The Monk, Mary Meeke's The Abbey Of Clugny, just to give another illustration of how Catholicism, and monasticism, was viewed in Protestant England at the time:

Baron Wielbourg had often told him religion was the foundation of all noble and generous actions, and that a truly good priest was a most respectable character; but real piety was very seldom to be found in convents; monks, in general, were a very despicable set of men, who disgraced the order they professed, by their numerous vices; for they were all, more or less, hypocrites, tho’ some would even triumph openly in violating every vow they had taken; and it was no uncommon thing to see friars in liquor.— Poverty and laziness were their only inducements to embrace a monastic life, except a few mistaken wretches, whose narrow minds had made them a prey to the grossest superstition and the most infatuated bigotry…

104lyzard
Edited: Oct 8, 2012, 1:11am Top

The Monk: Volume 1 - Chapter 3 - Part 4

1. That she was faithful to him (even though he was "a villain" and not her husband).

2. Marguerite has two children from her time with her lover. The younger was left with the Baroness's waiting-women in a nearby cottage (the robbers overlooked them when they murdered the servants in the barn). Her older son she managed to send away from Baptiste's cottage with a message - it was he who alerted the soldiers and brought them to the rescue, riding back with them and acting as their guide ("Stop, my lord, stop! they are safe! 'tis my mother!").

3. & 4. It was not Baptiste who "squandered his inheritance", it was Marguerite's lover - not husband - the father of her two boys, who was "a villain" even though he was "of noble birth". Marguerite followed him because, "I loved my seducer, dearly loved him!" - and continues to even after he joins up with the banditti. And while she knows he's stealing, she doesn't know he's involved in murder - "It was not until after my seducer's death that I discovered his hands to have been stained with the blood of innocence."

5. After her lover dies, the banditti won't let Marguerite go because she knows too much, and she becomes the "property" of Baptiste who, yes, was once a monk (just another little slap from Lewis!).

6. The position held by a magistrate. At the time there was little policing, as such, and in many towns magistrates were appointed to oversee matters of law and order. Theodore goes to the magistrate with the story of the banditti, and it also reaches Baron Lindenberg, the baroness's husband, who comes with the soldiers to rescue his wife (as well as Raymond / Alphonso and Marguerite).

7. That "Alphonso d'Alvarada" - i.e. Raymond under a fake name - was a fortune-hunter who posed as a friend of Lorenzo to get access to Agnes (and her money and property), but who jilted her when he found out that she wasn't at rich as he thought - which is supposedly why she entered the convent.

>> End of the first volume!

Well done!!

105SqueakyChu
Oct 8, 2012, 9:48am Top

> 103

I re-found this passage

What was the response of Catholics to Mary Meeke's written assault on priests whom Catholics treated with much reverence?

106SqueakyChu
Edited: Oct 8, 2012, 10:00pm Top

> 104.

5. just another little slap from Lewis!

Did Lewis have a personal grudge against Catholics or monks? If not, was what he wrote acceptable because he was writing on behalf of the Church of England (that religious slurs against Catholics were acceptable in speech and writing)?

7. Thanks. Now I remember.

End of the first volume!

Phew! Others may zip right through this novel when reading it, but I really need the time to think about the little details with which I am either not familir or have already forgotten by the time I reach a different chapter... :/

107lyzard
Edited: Oct 8, 2012, 5:56pm Top

Okay - let's see if I can put together a kind of potted history for you here (apologies to any historians for gross over-simplification!).

In a way we can compare the English view of Catholicism at the time to how some people see Islam today - the suggestion that people who follow that religion are loyal to that before their country or its government. It was believed that the first loyalty of Catholics was not to England or the monarch, but to the Pope; and that if they were forced to choose, they would choose the latter. For a long time England and France were in conflict and there was a belief that if the French managed to invade, the English Catholics would support them in order to have their religion restored.

This was in an environment where England's great enemies, Spain and France, were Catholic countries: the three nations were in fierce competition to colonise and plunder "the New World" and expand their empires. (And of course, everywhere the Catholics went, they took missionaries to convert the locals; whereas Protestants at that time generally didn't try to make converts. England was always more interested in the commercial side of things.)

The anti-Catholicism we see in writings from the late 18th century come on the back of about 300 years of fairly violent religious upheaval in England. The country was forcibly converted to Protestantism by Henry VIII when the Pope wouldn't let him divorce Catharine of Aragon (you might remember we talked briefly about the dissolution of the monasteries and the handing over of church property to loyal subjects with respect to Northanger Abbey, and why some English families had abbeys for their ancestral homes). Then when Henry's daughter, Mary, took the throne, she tried to force the country back to being Catholic, and decided that the best way to do that was to slaughter all the Protestants (they didn't call her "Bloody Mary" for nothing!). And then when Elizabeth became queen she pushed England back to Protestantism, and held the throne long enough to make it stick.

BUT - Elizabeth didn't produce a Protestant heir, so that handed the throne over to the ambiguous Stuarts, who tended to walk like Protestants but talk like Catholics. We then get another kind of religious conflict with the English Civil War, and the execution of Charles I, and the establishment of a republic under Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans. When that failed they invited the Stuarts back, but insisted on a Protestant monarchy. Charles II was probably secretly Catholic, but posed as a Protestant in order to hang onto the throne. But he was succeeded by his brother, James, who was staunchly Catholic. The fears that England would be reconverted (with or without a French invasion) reignited, and James was forced to abdicate in favour of his son-in-law and daughter, William and Mary, who were Protestant. At that time Parliament passed laws that the monarch of England could not be Catholic, and that the monarch or heir to the throne could not marry a Catholic. (Those laws were only repealed last year!)

In the 18th century there were two attempts to restore the Stuarts to the throne, the Jacobite Rebellions of 1715 and 1745; the latter, only fifty years before The Monk was written, kicked off another wave of severe anti-Catholicism. At the time Lewis was writing the French Revolution had just occurred, and England and France were at war (and would be for another 20 years, though Lewis couldn't know that). So the feelings of anti-Catholicism were very wrapped up in national hostility against the French.

So to finally answer your questions---Lewis's writing is an exaggerated expression of the prevailing views; the Gothic novel, which was nearly always set in France, Spain or Italy, became a frequent vehicle for this sort of thing. Catholics at this time represented a very small minority group in England, so anything they might have said in protest was ignored.

108SqueakyChu
Edited: Oct 8, 2012, 10:05pm Top

Liz, thank you for your relating the history of Catholicism and the Protestant religion in England in not quite a nutshell. The whole issue seems very complicated (as religious strife always is). This is a nice synopsis for me and others to use for reference in the future. I much appreciate your writing it down here for us.

RELIGION IN ENGLAND - See previous post.

109SqueakyChu
Edited: Oct 8, 2012, 10:45pm Top

The Monk - Volume 2 - Chapter 1 - Part 1

1. Do I have to understand what the quote from Macbeth is about?

2. What were the sentiments of the Duke of Medina about a monastic life? Presumably not good?

3. Is St. Clare of any particular significance here?

4. Are Donna Rodolpha and the Baroness of Lindenberg the same person?

I find all of these people and relationships so confusing! :(

5. Was St. Benedict of any special significance here?

6. So Alphonso gained the love of Agnes before she joined the convent?

7. My other Relations act with me as my Enemies.

Why does Agnes say this?

8. Are these real books?
Perceforest
Tirante the White
Palmerin of England
The Knight of the Sun


9. Would it have been common for a young man to be a "reader' to an older woman?

10. Oh, no! The Baroness confesses to not loving the Baron and loving Alphonso instead! Isn't she much older than Alphonso is? Then the Baroness thinks Alphonso is in love with her and doesn't even suspect that Alphonso is in love with the Baroness' niece Agnes. Yikes!!

---------notes to myself------

page 135

Ends with:

...I pay too mean a price for your possession.

110lyzard
Oct 8, 2012, 10:09pm Top

Will you be posting today, do you think? I am planning on calling an intermission when we are done for the day.

111lyzard
Edited: Oct 9, 2012, 4:44am Top

Okay---missed you replacing your post and left the book at work, so I probably won't be able to answer you properly until tomorrow morning (my time). So in the meantime we might have an---

INTERMISSION!!

Speak up and say howdy, lurkers, or ask 'em if you've got 'em!

112souloftherose
Oct 9, 2012, 4:51am Top

Howdy!

113lyzard
Oct 9, 2012, 9:07pm Top

Howdy, pardner! :)

114lyzard
Oct 9, 2012, 9:09pm Top

Well, it's lunchtime here and I am book in hand once again, so even though it's not quite 24 hours I am going to call:

END OF INTERMISSION

115SqueakyChu
Oct 9, 2012, 9:28pm Top

My questions are already up. I'll wait until tomorrow night to move on.

116lyzard
Edited: Oct 9, 2012, 9:43pm Top

The Monk - Volume 2 - Chapter 1 - Part 1

1. You probably just need to know that Macbeth himself says that when he sees (or thinks her sees) the ghost of someone he has murdered.

2. From the context, very negative (as are the views of all the "good" and/or "enlightened" people in the novel). Clearly had he known what his brother and sister-in-law were up to with respect to Agnes, he would have put a stop to it.

3. & 5. St Clare and St Benedict are two of the stricter orders. St Clare's, as we have seen (this is the convent that Agnes does enter), is an enclosed order meaning that the nuns never (or shouldn't ever) leave the convent and interactions with visitors are very restricted. It seems that Agnes's parents decided that the fulfilling of their vow needed an extra level of sacrifice by the child.

4. Yes. "Don" and "Donna" are Spanish terms indicating someone of high birth - so she was Donna Rodolpho de Medina until she married, and then she became the Baroness Lindenberg. Because Raymond / Alphonso is also Spanish, he continues to refer to her as "Donna Rodolpha".

6. Yes. We find out what went wrong shortly.

7. She means that all of her immediate relatives, including her aunt, are trying to force her to enter a convent when she doesn't want to. Because of that she feels very isolated and unprotected, so she begs "Alphonso" not to take advantage of her feelings for him (which include gratitude for siding with her against the convent).

8. Yes, they are all examples of chivalric romances, a form of very stylised literature popular in Europe (particularly France and Spain) before the rise of the novel. Perceforest is a French work written in the early 1300s. The other three are Spanish: Tirante the White from the late 1400s, Palmerin of England from 1547, and The Knight of the Sun from 1617.

Probably the point of these particular works is that they are specifically mentioned in Don Quixote as being among the books that help drive Don Quixote mad. :)

9. Yes, certainly not uncommon; although we can guess that Donna Rodolpha asks "Alphonso" to read to her as an excuse to spend time with him. Also, she is making him read romances to her (*hint, hint*).

10. Oops. :)

Donna Rodolpha is not necessarily that much older than "Alphonso". In a culture where girls were commonly married off at fourteen or fifteen, an "old married woman" might still be in her thirties. She may only be 5 - 10 years older. (On the other hand, it's inferred that the Baron is rather older than his wife, so "Alphonso" might be the first young man she's encountered for many years.)

117lyzard
Edited: Oct 9, 2012, 9:43pm Top

>>#115

And answered!

Move on if you're ready, or if not - not! :)

118SqueakyChu
Oct 9, 2012, 10:44pm Top

The Monk - Volume 2 - Chapter 1 - Part 2

1. I think that the Baroness is on to what Alphonso is doing, that is, using her to make access to Agnes easier. Now that won't work at all.

2. Why would the Baroness not gracefully and calmly accept the truth from the lips of Alphonso and now dare to seek revenge upon his Beloved?

3. at length fainted away

I think the Baroness made herself faint by holding her breath. She is quite the Actress. (I love capitalizing some of these nouns!)

4. If Alphonso did not want the Baroness to know that Agnes was the object of his affection, why did he then go directly to Agnes? I'm guessing that the Baroness will only be as "faint" as she wants to be.

5. ...the Castle rung with oaths and execrations.

What are execrations?

6. ...then chaunted De Profundis

What is De Profundis? I'm guessing that's another prayer.

7. What is the significance of the 5th of May?

8. of her Ghost-ship

Her "Ghost-ship"?! Heh!

9. On recovering from her swoon...

See?! I told you so!! :)

10. How can love turn to hatred and vengeance so quickly?

-------------------notes to myself----------------

page 144

Ends with:
I answered not, but hastened to quit the Castle.

119lyzard
Edited: Oct 9, 2012, 11:25pm Top

Before we go on, I thought it was worth pointing out that the other romance that Donna Rodolpha is making Alphonso read to her is a version of Tristan and Iseult (probably the Spanish version from the early 1500s published as Tristan de Leonis), which is of course a story of adulterous love.

(*hint, hint*)

The Monk - Volume 2 - Chapter 1 - Part 2

Hell hath no fury... :)

It is very common (and a nice piece of hypocrisy, when you think about it) in novels of this type to find European women carrying on like this - women from countries other than England were supposed to be passionate, fiery, uncontrolled, violent, shameless, vengeful...everything that sweet modest Englishwomen were not. European men, too, for that matter - remember the behaviour of the D'Alemberts in Clermont - but of course it's supposed to be worse when a woman does it. Lots of novels by English people rely for their plots upon the prevailing prejudices against "foreigners" and their assumptions about how such people behave.

So the overriding answer here is that you are supposed to take Donna Rodolpha's behaviour at face value - the love turning to hate and the fainting and the desire for revenge - none of it is supposed to be understood as faked or exaggerated, this is just the way foreigners (particularly Catholics!) behave.

So to answer your questions in this respect: (1) if not, she soon will be; (2) because women like Donna Rodolpha get angry and violent, not graceful and calm; (3) no, this is a real faint brought on by thwarted passion; and (4) he doesn't consciously find Agnes (though unconsciously may be another matter), but he does know their time together is now limited (and that Donna Rodolpha really has fainted, so they're safe for a few minutes!).

5. Curses.

6. De Profundis is the 130th psalm, which begins - De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine / From the depths I have cried out to you, O Lord.

7. It may be the anniversary of the nun's death, or it may just be one of those caballistic collections of numbers - the fifth day of the fifth month of the fifth year... (like "the seventh son of a seventh son...").

I would advise you to pay close attention to the story that Agnes is telling - it becomes important later on. :)

120SqueakyChu
Oct 9, 2012, 11:53pm Top

this is just the way foreigners (particularly Catholics!) behave.

LOL!! Well, if you say so...

so they're safe for a few minutes

...a few short minutes.

*listens to Agnes' story very carefully*

121lyzard
Oct 10, 2012, 12:55am Top

Yup. :)

I've just stumbled across this novel from 1808:

An English novel, of course.

122SqueakyChu
Oct 10, 2012, 8:31am Top

An English novel, of course.

Of course!

123lyzard
Oct 10, 2012, 5:35pm Top

To be fair, I should say that anti-Catholicism died away in England during the 19th century - or at least, it migrated to America, where there were riots and even convent-burnings over women supposedly being held against their will in convents.

124SqueakyChu
Edited: Oct 10, 2012, 11:00pm Top

The Monk - Volume 2 - Chapter 1 - Part 3

1. Won't Alphonso's Carriage be recognized at the Castle?

2. Is St. Barbara of any significance?

3. What is Alphonso's "one resource to save Agnes"?

4. upon my horse like a Portmanteau

What is a Portmanteau?

5. Won't the Baronness notice the absence of Agnes' governess?

6. Oh. I see that she did (referring back to question #5) , but why did the Baroness suspect that the governess perished by suicide?

7. I see that Alphonso has concealed the Carriage (as I asked back in question #1).

8. She sat upon the ride of a window

What is the "ride of a window"?

9. Wouldn't it be funny if Alphonso rode away with the real Bleeding Nun instead of with the fake Bleeding Nun (Agnes)? :)

10. The Carriage was shattered to pieces

Another carriage falls apart!

11. In falling I struck my temple against a flint

What is a flint?

--------------notes to myself-------------------

page 157

Ends with:
The pain of the wound...

125lyzard
Oct 10, 2012, 11:20pm Top

The Monk - Volume 2 - Chapter 1 - Part 3

1. They're sneaking out in the middle of the night (at a time when there was no external lighting of any kind, remember), so it's not likely that anyone would see it, let alone get a clear enough look to recognise it.

2. St. Barbara was a martyr - perhaps this signifies Cunegonda's sufferings? At least before the arrival of the cherry-brandy. :)

3. Silencing Cunegonda by any means.

4. A trunk or a large suitcase.

5. &. 6. Probably just her complete disappearance. Or perhaps that's just the way the Baroness's mind works.

7. Yes.

8. Ridge of a window? Probably a wide window-sill.

9. :)

10. But destroyed, not just a breakdown.

11. A sharp stone.

126SqueakyChu
Oct 10, 2012, 11:55pm Top

Alphonso doesn't strike me as the kind of guy who would kidnap and gag a governess. I know he was desperate for Agnes, but I'm just sayin'.

I liked the description of the Castle as seen from the outside at night. It seemed a little spooky, but not too much.

127lyzard
Oct 11, 2012, 12:07am Top

Desperate measures.

It wasn't a society that thought much of the lower classes. And besides, he leaves most of the dirty work to Theodore. :)

128SqueakyChu
Oct 11, 2012, 11:40pm Top

The Monk - Volume 2 - Chapter 1 - Part 4

1. ... swallowed a composing medicine

What is a composing medicine?

2. corse

Is that a typo in my book or is that a word for corpse?

3. Might the Bleeding Nun have been only Raymond's Nightmare or perhaps "seen" in a delerium from a fever?

4. ...if I continued to suffer such violent agitation, He would not take upon him to ensure my life.

Isn't that physician abandonment?

5. No sooner had He opened one of the Doors, and beheld the supposed Apparition waiting there for admittance, than He uttered a loud cry, and sank upon his knees.

Haha!

6. ...that for a Ghost to knock for admittance was a proceeding till then unwitnessed, and totally incompatible with the immaterial nature of a Spirit.

Now that's funny!!

7. Help me understand this...

But what was her affliction, when informed that the failure of her project must be attributed to me! Cunegonda, tutored by the Baroness, told her that when I released her (He never had her!), I had desired her to inform her Lady (who is this?) that out connexion was at an end, that the whole affair was occasioned by a false report (whose?), and that it by no means suited my circumstances to marry a Woman without fortune or expectation (as the niece of a Baroness, Agnes had none of these?)

8. Who is the Great Mogul? Is he a Ghost?

9. So the plan was for Beatrice and Otto to kill the then Baron of Lindenberg, and they would become rulers of the castle as man and wife?

10. I can see why Beatrice should haunt Otto, but why should she haunt all the future generations?

--------------------notes to myself---------------------

page 175

Ends with:
...her Ghost continued to haunt the Castle.

129lyzard
Edited: Oct 12, 2012, 12:25am Top

I should say at the outset that the interlude of the Bleeding Nun, and her involvement in the thwarted elopement, draws very heavily upon a German story called "Die Entfuhrung" or "The Elopement" by Johann August Musaus. This was one of the passages that attracted accusations of plagiarism, although Lewis's handling of the material is quite different in tone.

The Monk - Volume 2 - Chapter 1 - Part 4

1. A sedative.

2. No, "corse" is an alternative spelling of "corpse" that was quite commonly used at the time.

3. She's a bit too persistent to be imaginary. :)

Raymond, Raymond, thou art mine...

4. He's not threatening to quit - he means that if Raymond's fever doesn't break soon, his life will be in serious danger. "He would not take upon him to ensure my life" means "He could not guarantee my survival".

5. & 6. I'm not sure that the middle of a supernatural manifestation is the time for logic. :)

7. Ah, yes! - what a swirling mist of confusing pronouns!

The Baroness gets Cunegonda to tell Agnes that the reason Raymond / Alphonso didn't fulfil his part of the elopement was because he found out that Agnes wasn't as rich as he had thought (the "false report") - that he said this to Cunegonda when releasing her from her captivity - and that he asked Cunegonda to tell Agnes so - that he couldn't afford to marry a woman without a large fortune or the prospect of inheriting one.

The Baroness conceals Raymond's real identity and wealth from Agnes and convinces her that Raymond was just a fortune-hunter, in order to persuade her to enter a convent as her parents have always wanted.

8. Not exactly. Perhaps something worse than a ghost...

This is actually one of the many literary versions of the story of the Wandering Jew. Are you familiar with that story? If not, I'll give you a brief outline.

9. That was Beatrice's plan, but not, as it turns out, Otto's.

10. Partly because "the sins of the fathers shall be visited upon the children", and partly because hauntings were believed to be done by the victims of foul play, and to go on until the original victims received a proper burial in consecrated ground. In this case Beatrice's body was hidden so well, she has been haunting the Lindenbergs for generations.

Note too that Beatrice is Raymond's ancestor, which particularly qualifies him for the task of laying her spirit to rest. (On the other hand, it makes the "relationship" between the two of them even ickier.)

130SqueakyChu
Oct 12, 2012, 10:15am Top

3. She's a bit too persistent to be imaginary

LOL!!

4. ...if I continued to suffer such violent agitation

I didn't understand that "agitation" was meant to indicate a fever.

7. But what was her affliction etc.

Thanks for the explanation! I was getting lost in the swirl of that one sentence. :)

8. This is actually one of the many literary versions of the story of the Wandering Jew. Are you familiar with that story? If not, I'll give you a brief outline.

Uh oh! I'm not. This might be something I want to explore... Tell me.

9. That was Beatrice's plan, but not, as it turns out, Otto's.

So I came to find out! :)

131lyzard
Oct 12, 2012, 5:43pm Top

The Wandering Jew is the central figure in a story that emerged in Europe around the 13th century. It involves a Jewish man who insulted Jesus while he was on his way to be crucified, and as a consequence was cursed. The curse condemned him to wander the world, unable to die, until the Second Coming. He was also unable to stay in one place for more than a few days before being compelled to move on.

This is just the bare bones of it. There are all sorts of versions that vary in who this person was and what he actually did to become cursed. "The Wandering Jew" is the English term used, but there are other phrases for this figure in different parts of Europe.

There are many written versions of the story, the earliest dating from 1228, and as well as that there are many writers who have worked a figure who is meant to be the Wandering Jew, or is suffering under a similar curse, into their fiction. (Two recent authors to do so are George R. R. Martin and Diana Wynne Jones.)

Here, Lewis's "Great Mogul" draws upon the same legend, which his readers certainly would have picked up on: the Great Mogul has strange powers, he is apparently immortal (he was the man who tried to lay Beatrice's spirit in the first place, generations ago), and he makes it clear that he cannot stay with Raymond longer than a specific length of time.

I should mention, too, that Charles Maturin's Melmoth The Wanderer, which is kind of The Ultimate Gothic Novel - the Gothic novel going out with a bang, if you like - is entirely based on this story: its title character is condemned to roam the earth until he finds someone willing to exchange places with him.

132SqueakyChu
Edited: Oct 12, 2012, 7:18pm Top

It sure sounds as if the Great Mogul was based on the figure of the Wandering Jew as you described him.

We never studied that fictitious character in Hebrew school! :)

Melmoth The Wanderer sounds so interesting! Have you read it?

ETA: If so, could we possibly earmark that book for a future tutored read for me? I already scanned the first few pages of that book, and it looks like a "go". :)

133lyzard
Oct 12, 2012, 7:38pm Top

We never studied that fictitious character in Hebrew school! :)

You astonish me! :)

could we possibly earmark that book for a future tutored read for me?

Well, funny you should mention that...

I have not only read Melmoth, I own a beautiful Folio Society edition of it. It's a very long and rather difficult book, but I don't mind that if you don't.

BUT---as I say, Melmoth is kind of the culmination of the Gothic novel - the last word on the subject, if you like - and I think it's best appreciated if you've read quite a few earlier Gothics, since it manages to work just about every situation and subplot that was popular over the previous thirty years into its story. So it might be better if we carried on down our current path for a bit longer first, trying out different "types" of Gothics, before taking that plunge.

Yes, this is a completely self-serving suggestion! :)

134SqueakyChu
Oct 12, 2012, 8:12pm Top

Yes, this is a completely self-serving suggestion!

Liz, your suggestions have been spot on up until now so I'm up for whatever you suggest. I guess it would be more fun for you to be able to read books that are new to you as well.

I'm going to be looking for Jewish characters in the novels that you choose for me/suggest to me in the future. Just to let you know! :)

135lyzard
Oct 12, 2012, 8:24pm Top

Well, as I've mentioned before, what I would like to do most is read the rest of the "Northanger Novels". And because Jane Austen selected those books specifically to represent the range of different types of Gothic novels, that would also take care of that for us. :)

I'm going to be looking for Jewish characters in the novels that you choose for me

Well... Just so you understand that you're not likely to come across anything you like. I don't think it was until Ivanhoe that any English novel really had anything positive to say about Jewish people - or anything negative to say about anti-Semitism.

Still, at least with all the anti-Catholicism in The Monk you're getting a balanced view of religious prejudice. :)

136SqueakyChu
Oct 12, 2012, 11:01pm Top

what I would like to do most is read the rest of the "Northanger Novels".

That sounds good as well.

Well... Just so you understand that you're not likely to come across anything you like

I do understand that, sadly enough.

I'm interested in the whys and wherefores of novelists taking aim at the religion of others (as in this novel's example of how negatively all aspects of Catholicism are portrayed). It's always easiest to be negative about another's religion rather than take a look at the deficiencies of one's own religion. We understand that novels are fiction, but often the author's true feelings are expressed in such works under the guise of their simply not being true stories.

137lyzard
Oct 12, 2012, 11:11pm Top

You get the full gamut in English novels across the 19th century (and really, well into the 1930s at least): there are novels written specifically to attack other religions - and even other religious factions, which is what I'm more interested in; intra-Protestant brawling :) - and those that express prejudice in passing in a casual, matter-of-fact way, because that's just how things were. As we've discussed before, there were writers who tried to stem the tide and present the opposite view, but their books were generally not well received.

138SqueakyChu
Oct 12, 2012, 11:28pm Top

The Monk - Volume 2 - Chapter 1 - Part 5

1. What do you think the reason was for the burning cross on the forehead of the Great Mogul?

2. What is the significance of the "14 days" on the same spot for "the wandering Jew"?

3. She renewed her attempts to persuade me to return her affection.

Oh, my! The Baroness never gives up, does she?!

4. ...to perform the obsequities of the murdered Nun

What are obsequities?

5. I don't remember who Theodore's grandfather was. I know Marguerite is his mother. I need a novel with fewer characters who all retain the same name throughout the novel. :(

6. I have a feeling that the attack on Alphonso was not just a random attack.

7. The Surgeon, however advised me not to expose myself to the night-air.

What is wrong with the night-air?

8. How convenient that Alphonso now finds himself in Don Gaston's abode...plus now Don Gaston knows of Alphonso's genuine status!

9. ...with the idea that my uncle's credit at the Court of Rome would remove this obstacle

So higher status can make the Church change their rules? ...or am I wrong in assuming that "the Court of Rome" means the seat of the Catholic church?

10. ...a dispensation from her vows

Under what circumstances can such be granted?

---------------------notes to myself----------------------

page 181

Ends with:
...pleased with the society of Don Gaston.

139SqueakyChu
Oct 12, 2012, 11:30pm Top

> 139

there were writers who tried to stem the tide and present the opposite view, but their books were generally not well received.

Just like contemporary newspapers! Those writers who try to "stem the tide" stifle human interest stories. That's why it's so frustrating to read the newspapers at all. Sometimes I think news articles written and placed in such a way as to merely inflame. :(

140lyzard
Oct 13, 2012, 12:02am Top

The Monk - Volume 2 - Chapter 1 - Part 5

1. The burning cross is probably a sign of his having been cursed by God - cursed in a Christian context, obviously - similar to the Mark of Cain.

2. I don't know if 14 days actually has some significance in the legend of the Wandering Jew, or whether Lewis just picked this as a convenient length of time.

3. European women were passionate, fiery, uncontrolled, violent, shameless, vengeful...and stubborn. :)

4. Funeral rites - including burial of her remains in consecrated ground.

5. I don't think we ever learned his name - we just know that he was a respectable man, who took Marguerite and her younger son in after they escaped the banditti.

6. I think you might be right.

Attempted assassinations by "hired bravos" are a frequent feature of Gothic novels; this sort of thing was supposed to go on all the time in Catholic countries.

7. Until quite late in the 19th century, all fresh air, but particularly night air, was believed to be bad for you, a carrier of disease. People shut their windows tightly at night to keep it out, and some houses were even built with windows that wouldn't open at all.

8. ...and without knowing who "Alphonso" is. :)

9. "The Court of Rome", more correctly the Roman Curia, was the governing and administrative arm of the Vatican - the Papal Court. People of high birth had more influence there, particularly in the case of Italian or Spanish families, where someone might be a member of the church and a nobleman at the same time. Raymond's uncle, who he is relying on to plead his case, is both a cardinal and a duke, and therefore has the best chance of getting Agnes freed from her vows.

10. Well, you couldn't just say "I changed my mind". :) If there were special circumstances a case could be made for the release of an individual from their vows - though of course, the more powerful the family involved, the more easily you could get people to accept that the circumstances were indeed "special". In Agnes's case, the fact that she was tricked into taking her vows in the first place by the Baroness's lies would make a good place to start...apart from the fact that she is pregnant.

(There was a case once of a married couple converting to Catholicism. He then became a priest, and she became a nun - and they got a papal dispensation in order to stay married. )

141SqueakyChu
Edited: Oct 13, 2012, 12:51am Top

5. I don't think we ever learned his name - we just know that he was a respectable man, who took Marguerite and her younger son in after they escaped the banditti.

Phew! I tried so hard to figure out who he was...and gave up!

7. Until quite late in the 19th century, all fresh air, but particularly night air, was believed to be bad for you, a carrier of disease

Hah! ...and then there was the English nurse Florence Nightingale (1820-1920) *opening* windows! :) She wrote: "Always air from the air without, and that, too, through those windows through which the air comes freshest. From a closed court, especially if the wind do not blow that way, air may come as stagnant as any from a hall or corridor."

Florence Nightingale noted in her 1860 work "Notes on Nursing" the importance of keeping patients' windows open and allowing a breeze to enter.

9. Raymond's uncle, who he is relying on to plead his case, is both a cardinal and a duke, and therefore has the best chance of getting Agnes freed from her vows.

It's good to have family members in high places then, I guess.

10. There was a case once of a married couple converting to Catholicism. He then became a priest, and she became a nun - and they got a papal dispensation in order to stay married.

That is weird. They both should have converted to a different Christian religion!

142lyzard
Oct 13, 2012, 1:13am Top

They were Lutherans to start with...

143SqueakyChu
Oct 13, 2012, 8:28am Top

They should have stuck with a good thing...

144SqueakyChu
Oct 14, 2012, 12:01am Top

No time for more reading tonight. I'll check back in tomorrow.

145lyzard
Oct 14, 2012, 1:04am Top

That's okay - I'm a bit frazzled myself, today. :)

146klobrien2
Oct 14, 2012, 5:03pm Top

Ooh, I'm just a titch behind you, so now I'll be able to catch up. I'm really enjoying the read and the "Q and A"!

Karen O.

147SqueakyChu
Oct 14, 2012, 5:47pm Top

That's great, Karen!

148lyzard
Oct 14, 2012, 5:48pm Top

Hi, Karen! Please do chip in with any questions if you have them!

149klobrien2
Oct 14, 2012, 6:39pm Top

As long as you brought it up...I imagine that the story eventually comes back around to dealing with "The Monk" again?! There have been some sizable side stories here.

Thank you for being so welcoming here.

Karen O.

150lyzard
Oct 14, 2012, 8:19pm Top

To be fair, Raymond's story only occupies one evening in Lorenzo's life. :)

Besides, meanwhile Ambrosio is having sex with Matilda, so he probably doesn't care how sizeable the side stories are!

151SqueakyChu
Oct 14, 2012, 11:38pm Top

Sorry. I haven't had time today/tonight either to get any reading in. Let's see what happens tomorrow.

152lyzard
Oct 14, 2012, 11:56pm Top

Tsk! - shocking*.

(*Translation: I'm bored at work and looking for a distraction.)

153klobrien2
Oct 15, 2012, 3:11pm Top

Besides, meanwhile Ambrosio is having sex with Matilda, so he probably doesn't care how sizeable the side stories are!

***Potential SPOILER for those who haven't finished Volume 1 yet

You know, I had to go back and look for the big sex scene between Ambrosio and Matilda! I guess I've become so enured (sp?) to depictions of sex in modern novels and films that subtlety is lost on me sometimes! But, yes, it was there (Volume 1, Chapter 2, at the end, if I remember right). And you've long passed that point, so it's not a spoiler, is it? To be safe, I'll put in a warning.

***End of potential SPOILER

I'm thinking of making some charts to keep the characters straight in my mind. It is difficult, with the multiple stories going on, and the names changing (aarghh!) But the book does seem to reward patience.

Karen O.

154lyzard
Edited: Oct 15, 2012, 5:39pm Top

Sadly, I don't think we have enough newbie lurkers for spoiler warnings to be necessary - as long as you stay behind Madeline's markers when asking questions or making comments, we should be fine, Karen.

Yes, it's the end of Volume 1, though I wouldn't call it a "sex scene" as such. Later on things do get a leetle more explicit - we're told how very thorough Ambrosio's sexual education is - but this is 1795, after all: we're not going to get any more graphically anatomical than "beauteous orbs". :)

(If you want that sort of thing, you should be reading in the 1660s!)

Don't hesitate to get clarificaton any time you lose yourself amongst the characters, Karen. Perhaps when I do these things in future, I should always include a character chart at the top, filling in it as we go? I could do one now, if you and Madeline would find it helpful?

155SqueakyChu
Oct 15, 2012, 5:35pm Top

> 153

I'm thinking of making some charts to keep the characters straight in my mind. It is difficult, with the multiple stories going on, and the names changing (aarghh!) But the book does seem to reward patience.

Welcome to the club, Karen. My list of characters helps a little, but Liz helps even more in this regard! I keep on forgetting who is who. Liz doesn;t seem to mind, though. She always gently reminds me. :)

156SqueakyChu
Oct 15, 2012, 5:39pm Top

> 154

Perhaps when I do these things in future, I should always include a character chart at the top, filling in it as we go? I could do one now, if you and Madeline would find it helpful?

That would be terrific, Liz, even though I'm making mine as we go along. There will be other readers, hopefully, coming along after us so that might also make a good future reference for those readers.

157lyzard
Edited: Oct 17, 2012, 12:23am Top

Okay - here is a list of the main characters in The Monk, complete with alternative names. :)

In some cases, this may involve spoilers.

*******************

Characters in The Monk:

Ambrosio - a monk of Madrid
Rosario, a novice monk - later revealed to be Matilda, a young woman in love with Ambrosio

Don Lorenzo de Medina, nephew to the Duke de Medina Celi
Agnes de Medina, his sister - a nun
Don Gaston and Donna Inesilla de Medina, their parents
Donna Rodolpha de Medina, the Baroness Lindenberg, their aunt
Baron Lindenberg, Donna Rodolpha's husband
Cunegonda, governess to Agnes

Don Raymond, Conde de las Cisternas, son of the Marquis de las Cisternas - also known by the name Alphonso d'Alvarada
Elvira de las Cisternas, Don Raymond's aunt-by-marriage
Antonia, her daughter
Leonella, her sister

Beatrice de las Cisternas - the Bleeding Nun
Otto Lindenberg - her murderer
The Great Mogul - secretly the Wandering Jew

Baptiste, a cottager - secretly a member of the banditti
Marguerite, his common-law wife
Theodore, Marguerite's son - later page to Don Raymond

Don Christoval, a friend of Don Lorenzo

Mother St. Agatha, the Prioress of the Convent of St. Clare

The Cardinal-Duke of Lerma, Raymond's uncle

158SqueakyChu
Oct 15, 2012, 8:37pm Top

> 157

In some cases, this may involve spoilers.

:(

I'm not going to read the list now then. Some people don't mind spoilers. I do.

159lyzard
Edited: Oct 15, 2012, 8:54pm Top

To be clear, nothing that would spoil anything for you. The list is of the people we've met so far, and what has been revealed about them. Other people will be added as we encounter them. The list contains spoilers for people who have not read as far as you and Karen.

160SqueakyChu
Oct 15, 2012, 9:39pm Top

> 159

Oh, okay. I'll use it now then. Thanks!

161SqueakyChu
Oct 15, 2012, 10:15pm Top

The Monk - Volume 2 - Chapter 1 - Part 6

1. ...on this side the Grave we must never meet again!"

Does Agnes say this also because she does still not know that Alphonso is noble by birth?

2. I vaunted to her...

What does vaunted mean?

3. Once my Wife, you are free from his authority..."

Is this by law as well as by how family operated (i.e. Don Gaston is still Agnes' father so won't what he says still have merit?)

4. ...on his deathbed He would leave me his curse

What kind of curse would that be? Would Don Gaston really put a curse on Agnes, his daughter?

5. the honour of Agnes was sacrificed to my passion.

Lord have mercy! Why is Alphonso confessing this to Agnes' brother of all people?!

6. Why is Alphonso being called "the Marquis" here? Alphonso (aka Raymond) is the second *son* of the Marquis de las Cisternas.

7. Why is it when *consensual* sex happens in this scene, the outcome of it is that the woman is mad and the man is begging forgiveness?

8. Who is the young Pensioner?

9. So they were making faces at each other? Alphonso gave looks beseeching forgiveness, while Agnes tried not looking (I'll bet) but made a show of turning her face away from him. Why look at him in the first place? Why be in the area through which he passes nightly?

10. So now she's pregnant and all of a sudden needs Alphonso so it's back to begging him to be good to her. So inconsistent!

11. How would the Church punish Agnes if someone discovered her to be pregnant?

12. ...busied himself in obtaining the necessary Bull

What is the Bull?

13. So it was better for Agnes to escape secretly rather than get a dispensation from the Cardinal-Duke of Lerma to leave the convent?

End of Volume 2, Chapter 1

------------Notes to myself-------------

page 191

Ends with:
...and securing a lawful title to her person and her heart

162lyzard
Edited: Oct 15, 2012, 10:47pm Top

The Monk - Volume 2 - Chapter 1 - Part 6

1. No, just because she's A NUN. :)

Dispensations were not easy to get. Against the influence of Raymond's family we have the fact that Agnes's parents are determined to keep her in the convent, so Agnes is not optimistic.

2. Boasted. Raymond is trying to convince her how much influence his uncle has.

3. No, a husband's authority was absolute; it superseded a father's. But they have to get married, not just engaged, for this to apply.

4. It's not "putting a curse on someone" in the magicky sense. Blessings and curses - or at least, the refusal of a blessing - from a parent to a child were taken very seriously at the time (in England as much as across Europe) and were thought to blight a life. A father's curse would not be an unexpected reaction to daughterly disobedience.

5. Chiefly, I imagine, because Agnes is pregnant - Lorenzo is going to know sooner or later! But also, Raymond is trying to (partially) repair the damage he's done by confessing fully and truthfully.

6. I would say that's a slip on Lewis's part - well spotted!

7. Because the power imbalance between the sexes assumed that the woman was in the man's power. Agnes has trusted Raymond and agreed to meet alone with him - it is up to him - his "honour" - to keep his hands to himself (among other things). He is therefore to blame even if the sex is consensual, and this is why he is apologising - he has "taken advantage of her".

(It was also assumed that anything involving physical contact would undoubtedly be instigated by the man. Part of the "horror" of Matilda is that she is sexually aggressive.)

Also, Agnes is "ruined" by having sex. By society's standards, she is no now better than a whore - which she says herself - and strictly, Raymond shouldn't marry her even if he could. (Welcome to the double standard.)

Also, Agnes is A NUN!! She might not be happy about it, but the fact remains that she is A NUN!! :)

8. A pensioner in this convext is someone who is staying at the convent as a boarder. "Young pensioner" means a young girl; Agnes might prefer the company of a non-nun. :)

9. Raymond is disguised as a gardener and can be anywhere in the grounds he thinks will allow him to see her. She can't get away from him except by changing her habits, which would draw attention. He does see her, and tries to convey through his looks how sorry he is, but she's still furious with him.

10. Begging him to marry her - which hasn't exactly gone out of style over the last two hundred years or so. Also, Agnes is terrified of what might happen to her if the Prioress finds out (and rightly so, as it turns out).

11. Wait and see. There were no set Church punishments, it was up to the Prioress to decide.

12. The dispensation, or Papal bull (from the Italian word bulla, meaning the special seal on such a letter), which will free Agnes from her vows.

13. They don't know for certain if they will get the dispensation, or how long it will take. They're scared that Agnes's pregnancy will be revealed first (which is what happens) and so try to arrange for her escape.

Phew! :)

163SqueakyChu
Edited: Oct 15, 2012, 11:29pm Top

6. I would say that's a slip on Lewis's part - well spotted!

I guess that was a good question then! :)

7. Part of the "horror" of Matilda is that she is sexually aggressive

Do you think that was more offensive to readers then more so than the fact of people actually having sex in this novel?

the fact remains that she is A NUN!!

Oh, yes. Of course!

8. A pensioner

To me, a "pensioner" is somone on a pension (i.e. retired...and old person rather than young one). Heh!

Phew!

LOL! Sorry, Just makin' up for lost time.

164lyzard
Oct 15, 2012, 11:13pm Top

Do you think that was more offensive to readers then moreso than the fact of people actually having sex in this novel?

Yes, certainly. The Agnes / Raymond scene, with him "taking advantage" and her weeping and wailing is more like what they would be used to. (Though of course, it's the Matilda / Ambrosio stuff that everyone remembers!)

"Pensioner" is one of those words whose meaning has changed; it used to mean "someone who stayed with you" or "someone you looked after", and then came to mean "someone you paid a sum of money to".

165SqueakyChu
Edited: Oct 16, 2012, 11:41pm Top

The Monk - Volume 2 - Chapter 2 - Part 1

1. Am I supposed to be getting anything out of the poem that opens this chapter?

2. to the House of the Cardinal

What Cardinal? The Cardinal in the Catholic church? The Cardinal will be part of this scheme?

3. How convenient for Agnes and Alphonso that Donna Rudolpha suddenly died!

4. That whole paragraph about Antonia and Elvira is confusing. What was the point of it?

5. What am I supposed to be getting out of Theodore's poem?

6. Haha! I love this line...

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.

...a great line for a book review site such as LibraryThing!

*rushes off to put this quote into Common Knowledge*

7. He remembers that Lope de Vega and Calderona had unjust and envious Critics...

What does this mean? Who were Lope de Vega and Calderona?

8. Alphonso is suggesting, then, that Theodore only share his poetry with someone he loves?

9. ...most of the best ideas are borrowed from other Poets

Plagiarism! ...although you did say that that literature of this time very often contained "borrowed" work from other authors.

10. Alphonso likes the poem! He asks Theodore for a copy. I wonder why?

11. I am now totally lost! I can't remember what was going on with Leonella, the Cavaliers, and Elvira. I might need to review the relationship of these charactes to each other and go back to reread the parts about them. :(

*very confused*

...or maybe you could enlighten me?

-----------------notes to myself----------------

page 202

Ends with:
Tell him that his presence will be but too acceptable to the sympathetic

Leonella.

166lyzard
Edited: Oct 17, 2012, 12:33am Top

The Monk - Volume 2 - Chapter 2 - Part 1

1. Nothing too important, although it certainly ties in with the quote you picked out! It's just saying that people who seek fame in any profession (like writing) are always going to be at the mercy of others (like critics). :)

2. The cardinal is Raymond's uncle, who has (we now learn) obtained the Papal dispensation to free Agnes from her vows. I will add him to the character list.

3. Only inasmuch as Raymond probably won't be attacked by any more "hired bravos". As far as Agnes is concerned, she's done enough damage (though it's not over yet...)

4. If you cast your mind waaay back to when Lorenzo first met Antonia in the church (which wasn't as long ago as Raymond's narrative makes it seem), Leonella told Lorenzo that Elvira is the Marquis de las Cisternas's sister-in-law, the widow of his younger brother, who has come to Madrid to see if her rich in-laws will do anything for Antonia. This is the first chance Lorenzo has had to tell Raymond about his aunt and cousin.

5. There are various things that you could take away, but they're mostly about the poet Lewis is copying / paying tribute to here, and I don't know that any of them are particularly important to this phase of the novel. The next passage, which you've picked your quote out of, is far more to the point! :)

6. Yes, that does tend to catch the eye! Be careful in Common Knowledge though - I always find it full of spoilers!

7. Pedro Calderón de la Barca (Calderona) and Félix Arturo Lope de Vega y Carpio (Lope de Vega) are considered two of the greatest classic Spanish writers. Theodore is getting just a tad carried away with himself! - but his point is that even the greatest writers attract critics.

8. He's suggesting that his friends will be kinder to him than most critics.

9. That sounds to me more like Lewis making excuses for himself - particularly coming after a lengthy poem written in another poet's style.

10. See #8. :)

11. The "cavaliers" are Lorenzo and his friend Don Christoval. They are pursuing their plan to have Don Christoval pretend to court Leonella so that Lorenzo has an excuse to see Antonia.

Meanwhile Leonella has told Elvira about meeting the two young men, and that she confided to them Elvira's relationship to the Marquis de las Cisternas, and that Lorenzo has promised to speak to Raymond. Elvira isn't happy about this because she's afraid Leonella's lack of breeding (shown in blurting out family secrets to strangers) will prejudice them against her. She is also worried because she sees that Antonia is attracted to Lorenzo.

Is that clear or do you need more details?

167SqueakyChu
Oct 17, 2012, 8:49am Top

Is that clear or do you need more details*?

That's somewhat clear, but I'm drawing a family tree (literally) before I continue on with my reading. I realize that your character list is grouped into families, but I need a visual prompt.

*This is why I never read mysteries. I can never remember all of the characters or the clues as I proceed through a book.

Some people can remember small details when they read. I, on the other hand, seem to only remember the big picture. For example, I always hated History as a student because I could never remember dates or sequences of events. However, looking at the big picture, historical novels can (and you've proven that some do) come alive for me. I really do need help with the characters and sequences of events, especially when they are out of order (or interrupted by extremely long narratives of other events).

Hence this is where the "tutored read" allows me to read (and finish) a book that I would really otherwise cast aside. It's not that I don't like those books; it's simply that I can't follow them. They confuse me.

By the way, I'm even simultaneously reading Cold Mountain, an historical novel about the American Civil War. Granted, this book has significantly fewer characters than does The Monk. Another historical novel that I recently read and *loved* was Sister Teresa by Barbara Mujica. I only mention these two novels because I so seldom choose to read historical novels for fun. They usually seem to me to be too much work.

168lyzard
Edited: Oct 17, 2012, 6:20pm Top

That's fine - this is what I'm here for!

I have the opposite kind of memory - it catches tiny details but can't hang onto anything important. It's great for reading mysteries, not so good out in the real world.

Stupid real world. :)

Elvira married the second son of the previous Marquis de las Cisternas, Raymond's grandfather, who disowned them. Now that Elvira is a widow, she is hoping that her in-laws will help her. The present Marquis is her brother-in-law, and Raymond is her nephew. Antonia and Raymond are therefore cousins.

Elvira is afraid that the present Marquis de las Cisternas may feel obliged to carry on his father's feud, and will refuse to acknowledge her or help her, and that Leonella's intereference may have made a bad impression. She is also worried about Lorenzo's promise to act as a go-between for her with Raymond, because she sees that something has happened between Lorenzo and Antonia, and is worried that Lorenzo is making empty promises just to have a chance to see Antonia.

169SqueakyChu
Oct 17, 2012, 9:55pm Top

I am diagramming the families now and can absolutely see why I got lost amidst all these people!

170SqueakyChu
Oct 17, 2012, 10:05pm Top

> 168

Elvira married the second son of the previous Marquis de las Cisternas, Raymond's grandfather, who disowned them. Now that Elvira is a widow, she is hoping that her in-laws will help her. The present Marquis is her brother-in-law, and Raymond is her nephew. Antonia and Raymond are therefore cousins.

Who is Raymond then? Is he both the son of the Marquis (call him #2) and the grandson of the Marquis (call him #1), making Raymond the Marquis #3?

Now you see why I don't read historical fiction about the monarchy of England!

I'm okay so far!

Moving along...

171SqueakyChu
Oct 17, 2012, 10:10pm Top

Elvira is afraid that the present Marquis de las Cisternas may feel obliged to carry on his father's feud, and will refuse to acknowledge her or help her, and that Leonella's intereference may have made a bad impression. She is also worried about Lorenzo's promise to act as a go-between for her with Raymond, because she sees that something has happened between Lorenzo and Antonia, and is worried that Lorenzo is making empty promises just to have a chance to see Antonia.

Who is the present Marquis? Is that Raymond or Raymond's father or Raymond's grandfather? Is Raymond's grandfather dead while Raymond's father is stilla live?

Does Elvira know that Raymond is nobility?

172lyzard
Edited: Oct 17, 2012, 10:14pm Top

Who is Raymond then? Is he both the son of the Marquis (call him #2) and the grandson of the Marquis (call him #1), making Raymond the Marquis #3?

Yes, exactly* - Raymond is son to the present Marquis and grandson to the previous one - and thus is Elvira's nephew-by-marriage (her husband's nephew) and Antonia's first cousin.

(*Raymond has a different title at the moment, but we needn't get into that!)

Elvira would understand that Raymond is the son of the present Marquis, and would thus be a powerful ally.

But don't forget - Elvira herself has not met Raymond OR Lorenzo - she's getting all this from Leonella, her sister, and isn't sure she can believe any of it.

173SqueakyChu
Oct 17, 2012, 10:13pm Top

Meanwhile Leonella has told Elvira about meeting the two young men, and that she confided to them Elvira's relationship to the Marquis de las Cisternas, and that Lorenzo has promised to speak to Raymond

Lorenzo promised to speak to Raymonfd about what?

I'm overwhelmed here. Shall I continue to read? I have my diagram handy.

:(

174SqueakyChu
Oct 17, 2012, 10:13pm Top


Yes, exactly* - and thus Raymond is Elvira's nephew-by-marriage (her husband's nephew) and Antonia's first cousin.

Okay. I got that piece.

175SqueakyChu
Oct 17, 2012, 10:15pm Top

But don't forget - Elvira herself has not met Raymond OR Lorenzo - she's getting all this from Leonella, her sister, and isn't sure she can believe any of it.

How come she never met Raymond...because he was living elsewhere?

176lyzard
Edited: Oct 17, 2012, 10:17pm Top

Lorenzo, Raymond's friend, promised to tell Raymond that his aunt (Elvira) and cousin (Antonia) are in Madrid, and in financial difficulties. Lorenzo is sure that Raymond will persuade his father (the Marquis) to help them.

Elvira and Antonia have only just arrived in Madrid. They have been living in a different region of Spain. Raymond has never met them.

177SqueakyChu
Oct 17, 2012, 10:16pm Top

Next book can have a total of no more than 8 characters! All have to retain the same names and sex through the book. No one can be nobility nor have a noble title! ;)

178lyzard
Edited: Oct 17, 2012, 10:19pm Top

Big fan of Robinson Crusoe, then?

You will NEVER find a Gothic novel that doesn't do this!

Just sayin'. :)

179SqueakyChu
Oct 17, 2012, 10:18pm Top

Lorenzo, Raymond's friend, promised to tell Raymond that his aunt (Elvira) and cousin (Antonia) are in Madrid, and in financial difficulties. Lorenzo is sure that Raymond will persuade his father (the Marquis) to help them.

Now I got that!

180SqueakyChu
Oct 17, 2012, 10:19pm Top

> 178

I was kidding, Liz!

181lyzard
Edited: Oct 17, 2012, 10:22pm Top

Hey, you know what I say - all care taken, no responsibility accepted! :)

182SqueakyChu
Oct 17, 2012, 10:21pm Top

Yeah. Just one character might be just right for me. The next time, though, I'm doing my family tree diagram right up front...on a very large sheet of paper.

183SqueakyChu
Oct 17, 2012, 10:21pm Top

LOL!!

184lyzard
Oct 17, 2012, 10:22pm Top

Ooh, I know! I should make you read Wilkie Collins' Armadale - which from memory has six different characters called "Alan Armadale" (and only one changes his name!).

185lyzard
Oct 17, 2012, 10:24pm Top

I gotta say...open-plan offices are not the place for giggling fits...

186SqueakyChu
Oct 17, 2012, 10:57pm Top

The Monk - Volume 2 - Chapter 2 - Part 2

1. People (such as Leonella) wrote that they blushed?! I do that...online!

*blushes*

:)

2. Why did Elvira think that Lorenzo would not be good for her daughter? Wouldn't symmetry of his person, animation of his features, and natural elegance of his manners and address be good characteristics in a man for her daughter?

3. Lorenzo readily excused the imprudence of the late Conde de las Cisternas? What does that mean and to what does that refer?

4. She (Leonella) affected to blush and tremble...

Awwww! :)

5. What was Raymond's message?

6. Who liked Don Christoval beside Antonia? Was it her aunt Leonella?

7. retired in dudgeon to her own apartment

What is in dudgeon?

8. Was a daughter supposed to conceal nothing from her mother?

9. I will honestly avow to him the embarrassment which his presence occasions.

Could you explain that to me?

10. I thought that Antonia liked Don Christoval or was it Don Christoval that liked Antonia? Now I see that Antonia likes Lorenzo.

She thought of nothing else.

---------notes to myself-------------

page 207

Ends with:
While this was passing at Elvira's, Lorenzo hastened to rejoin the Marquis.


187SqueakyChu
Oct 17, 2012, 10:59pm Top

> 184

I should make you read Wilkie Collins' Armadale - which from memory has six different characters called "Alan Armadale" (and only one changes his name!).

The only thing I can say is that I let you pick the book (although I have to at least read a few pages of it first).

What kind of work do you do that lets you play on the computer during the day? I have no time to even breathe in my office!

188SqueakyChu
Oct 17, 2012, 11:00pm Top

My husband has three other family members also named Jose Luis as he is, but we call each by a different nickname.

189lyzard
Edited: Oct 17, 2012, 11:31pm Top

Ah! The nice thing about this is that your question-asking generally coincides perfectly with my lunchbreak. A little computer-play is therefore arrangeable. (Also, I'm up to my eyebrows in proofreading at the moment, and have to take the occasional break for the sake of my sanity.)

I seriously suspect that Armadale would drive you into a nervous breakdown, so let's just stick to the Gothics. :)

190SqueakyChu
Oct 17, 2012, 11:18pm Top

Also, I'm up to my eyebrows in proofreading at the moment, and have to take the occasional break for the sake of my sanity

Feel free to proof my posts! ;)

I seriously suspect that Armadale would drive you into a nervous breakdown

LOL!!

The Gothics sound good to me!

191lyzard
Edited: Oct 17, 2012, 11:33pm Top

The Monk - Volume 2 - Chapter 2 - Part 2

1. She's trying impress upon Don Christoval how young and innocent she is (not!).

2. She's afraid that Antonia is falling in love with a man who is only playing with her; she thinks Lorenzo is too high-born to think of marrying Antonia. (Don Christoval was very surprised at Lorenzo insisting he was serious about Antonia, remember.)

Because Elvira and Antonia are "unprotected" (no man about the house), they might be perceived as easy targets for an unscrupulous man, who might feel safe about toying with Antonia. Elvira is therefore being extra cautious about Lorenzo and his intentions.

3. Oops! A slight mistake earlier, and a correction needed for your family tree! Sorry!

Elvira's husband was actually the Marquis's oldest son, and therefore his heir and "Conde de las Cisternas". But because he died without a surviving son, the title then went to the Marquis's second son, Raymond's father. When the old Marquis (grandfather) died, his only surviving son (Raymond's father) became the Marquis, and Raymond became the Conde.

Fortunately this makes no practical difference to anything, except that it explains why the old Marquis was so furious over the marriage.

But Lorenzo here, discovering how beautiful and dignified and well-mannered Elvira is, thinks that it wasn't such a bad marriage after all.

4. You're as bad as she is!

5. "He desired Lorenzo to assure them of his friendship." - and also to give them money in his name, should they need it.

6. Yes - Antonia likes him, but Leonella LIKES him. :)

7. Having taken offence.

8. Absolutely nothing under any circumstances - not if she had been brought up properly.

9. "I will tell him frankly that his visits make me unconfortable."

10. Antonia and Lorenzo like each other. Leonella likes Don Christoval, but he is just pretending to like her. (I feel like I'm back in high school!)

192SqueakyChu
Oct 17, 2012, 11:59pm Top

2, (Don Christoval was very surprised at Lorenzo insisting he was serious about Antonia, remember.)

I can hardly remember anything, and thank you for all of your helpful (seriously!) reminders.

3. Elvira's husband was actually the Marquis's oldest son, and therefore his heir and "Conde de las Cisternas". But because he died without a surviving son, the title then went to the Marquis's second son, Raymond's father. When the old Marquis (grandfather) died, his only surviving son (Raymond's father) became the Marquis, and Raymond became the Conde.

That makes sense! So the word Conde (count) is actually the heir to the marquis title?

Fortunately this makes no practical difference to anything, except that it explains why the old Marquis was so furious over the marriage.

It does make a difference to me understanding the flow of this story, though! My diagram helps a lot. Fortunately, I did it in pencil and can make corrections. :)

But Lorenzo here, discovering how beautiful and dignified and well-mannered Elvira is, thinks that it wasn't such a bad marriage after all

Oh! Okay.

4. You're as bad as she is!

LOL!!

5. "He desired Lorenzo to assure them of his friendship." - and also to give them money in his name, should they need it.

Friendship I can see, but why should Lorenzo promise to give Elvira and Antonia money?

6. 6. Yes - Antonia likes him, but Leonella LIKES him. :)

LOL! She's too old for him!!

7. Absolutely nothing under any circumstances - not if she had been brought up properly.

Wow! I guess I raised my daughter in the wrong century. :) When she was away at college, I never heard a word from her until semester break. Her campus was only 45 minutes from our house!

10. (I feel like I'm back in high school!)

Heh!

193lyzard
Oct 18, 2012, 12:06am Top

That makes sense! So the word Conde (count) is actually the heir to the marquis title?

Yes, that's it exactly.

Friendship I can see, but why should Lorenzo promise to give Elvira and Antonia money?

Because they don't have any. They've come to Madrid because they're in dire financial straits, and have spent nearly everything they have getting there. Leonella told Lorenzo that, and Lorenzo told Raymond.

Raymond knew that Lorenzo would see Elvira and Antonia before he did (because he's busy arranging Agnes's escape from the convent), so he asked Lorenzo to give them some money on his behalf, if they needed it.

I guess I raised my daughter in the wrong century.

Don't these books make you glad to have been born when you were??

194SqueakyChu
Edited: Oct 18, 2012, 12:19am Top

Don't these books make you glad to have been born when you were??

Some do; some don't. I think I could have been a happy pioneer woman. Alternatively, I think I'd have been happy stuck in the 60's when young people were much more idealistic and activist. Now the most frequent activity I see young people do is scroll their fingers along the screen of a smart phone. :(

Tomorrow I turn 65 so that anyone younger than me from that time forward will be known as "the young people"! :D

195lyzard
Edited: Oct 18, 2012, 5:18am Top

BIRTHDAY GIRL!!!!!! WHOO!!!!!! :)

Yeah, sadly I find myself in a "You darn kids, stay off my lawn!" mood quite often these days...and I don't even have a lawn...

196SqueakyChu
Oct 18, 2012, 8:54am Top

I could mail you some grass...

197klobrien2
Oct 18, 2012, 8:21pm Top

(snort!)

Karen O. (lurking in the peanut gallery)

198SqueakyChu
Oct 18, 2012, 10:54pm Top

No time for reading tonight. I'll begin again tomorrow...

199lyzard
Oct 18, 2012, 10:56pm Top

Too much birthday indulgence?? :)

200SqueakyChu
Oct 18, 2012, 11:49pm Top

Too much pizza!! :)

201SqueakyChu
Edited: Oct 19, 2012, 5:20pm Top

The Monk - Volume 2 - Chapter 2 - Part 3

1. Lorenzo did not credit a syllable of this account...

Good for Lorenzo!

2. "Agnes was worse"

So much for the Prioress. Isn't lying a sin? That's one of the Ten Commandments! Is this "fight sin with sin"? ;)

3. Don Christoval...endeavored to worm out the secret from the Old Porteress of St. Clare, with whom He had formed an acquaintance.

Nice try, anyway!

4. It inclosed the Pope's expected Bull...

Hurray!!

5. He now had time to give a few moments to love and to Antonia.

Heh!

6. Who was Elvira and Leonella's father? Was he nobility? Was he rich?

7. Was Elvira's father's "little fortune" only left to Leonella because Elvira was already married?

8. Why doesn't Elvira let the Duke of Medina decide? Does she still not trust Lorenzo?

9. I shall exchange for her hand Medina's Dukedom without one sigh of regret

How romantic!

10. a Father's execration pursued Gonzalvo

What is execration? Who is Gonzalvo?

----------------notes to myself-----------------

page 212

Ends with:
You are young and eager...

202SqueakyChu
Oct 19, 2012, 4:27pm Top

My apologies to lurkers who find my reading pace too slow. I most enjoy this book by reading it very slowly in small chunks and by thoroughly undertand of what is happening.*

So far, so good, Liz!

*My family tree diagram works well!

203lyzard
Edited: Oct 19, 2012, 4:52pm Top

Hello, pizza-girl! Recovered, have we??

The Monk - Volume 2 - Chapter 2 - Part 3

1. & 2. This is another typical "how Protestants see Catholics" thing: basically anything done in the name of religion was acceptable and therefore holy, including (as we see here) lying, confining someone against their will, and even defying an order from the Pope.

(This is probably a warped interpretation of Martin Luther's protest against the selling of indulgences, but we needn't get into that...)

3. I'm seeing a pattern here...

4. Don't cheer too soon...

5. Priorities. :)

6. No - that's the point: he was nothing more than a village shoe-maker. That's why the old Marquis was so furious over the marriage. It's also why, technically, Antonia isn't a suitable wife for Lorenzo and why Elvira is so suspicious of Lorenzo's motives - she doesn't believe he means marriage...

7. Yes; Leonella still needed a dowry (not that it did her any good).

8. ...so, no, she doesn't quite trust Lorenzo, or rather she doesn't believe Lorenzo, or his insistence that the Duke won't object - she thinks he's getting carried away. She's prepared to let the Duke decide but she isn't prepared to take Lorenzo's word in advance that the decision will be favourable. She remembers how the old Marquis reacted to her own marriage and imagines (with reason) that the Duke will most likely feel the same about Lorenzo marrying Antonia. So she's holding Lorenzo at arm's-length until she knows for sure; better safe than sorry.

9. Yeah, yeah... :)

10. Curses - remember what we were saying about a father cursing his child - Agnes being afraid her father would curse her (#161)? It turns out that the old Marquis cursed his son, the Conde - Gonzalvo - when he married Elvira.

204SqueakyChu
Oct 19, 2012, 5:22pm Top

It turns out that the old Marquis cursed his son, the Conde - Gonzalvo - when he married Elvira.

I didn't remember his name was Gonzalvo...

*quickly adds it to my family tree*

205lyzard
Oct 19, 2012, 5:28pm Top

I'm not sure it's been mentioned before now - only Elvira refers to him as "Gonzalvo", everyone else uses his title.

206SqueakyChu
Oct 20, 2012, 9:04pm Top

The Monk - Volume 2 - Chapter 2 - Part 4

1. How did Lorenzo come to have an estate in Hispaniola of all places?! I doubt if Elvira would be happy to see her daughter go there to live.

2. perishing with diseases incidental to Indian atmospheres

I thought it was the Indians who died from the diseases that the Europeans brought to the New World, not vice versa.

3. What we are losing, ever seems to us the most precious

...and yet, at this very moment, Elvira is telling Lorenzo that he is losing Antonia.

4. Happy Swain

What is Swain?

5. So did Gonzalvo and another two of their children die of diseases caught from the natives of the New World?

6. Could Gonzalvo have later changed his mind, deserted Elvira, and gone back to Spain?

7. Did Gonzalvo really love his country more than his wife? Patiotism is good but it's not something over which a wife should be jealous!

8. He then explained to her why the Marquis had not called in person and made no scruple of confiding to her his Sister's History

Was this a wise move?

9. She reported her to be haughty, inflexible, superstitious, and revengeful

...not nice characteristics for any woman who serves the Lord!

10. She looked forward with satisfaction to the prospect of his becoming her Son-in-law

Elvira now suddenly trusts Lorenzo?! That was quick.

--------------------notes to myself-----------------

page 219

Ends with:
the flattering hopes which Herself now ventured to entertain

207lyzard
Edited: Oct 20, 2012, 9:44pm Top

The Monk - Volume 2 - Chapter 2 - Part 4

1. It was a Spanish colony; this will be a family plantation, probably worked by slaves. Elvira at this point would probably be happy to see Antonia settled anywhere. This is the same situation that we saw in Clermont: Elvira is terrified that something might happen to her and that Antonia would be left all alone in the world.

(The Lewis family owned a slave-run estate in Jamaica, which Lewis inherited. He caught yellow fever there on one of his vists and died on the voyage home.)

2. See above. :)

The Europeans did introduce new diseases to "the New World" but there were also plenty already there for them to contend with.

3. Not necessarily - she's telling him he won't be marrying Antonia without his uncle's approval. If he's right about his uncle, he needn't lose her.

4. A man who is courting a woman.

5. Yes.

6. He could have, certainly. Not an uncommon event then or now! But clearly he did love Elvira. (And perhaps he knew his father wouldn't forgive him even if he did desert her.)

7. Not "more", but she knows that even though he loved her, he was never entirely happy away from Spain, and not even she could make up for him having to live somewhere else.

8. It's a mark of trust on Lorenzo's part, a demonstration to Elvira that he already thinks of her as family.

9. Ah, but then, she's Catholic! :)

10. Lorenzo has behaved well in accepting her terms and not trying to see Antonia against her wishes, and in speaking frankly to her of his situation, so Elvira feels that she probably can trust him to keep his word - but she is still proceeding with caution, not saying anything to Antonia, just in case.

208SqueakyChu
Oct 20, 2012, 10:32pm Top

9. :)

10. she is still proceeding with caution, not saying anything to Antonia, just in case.

Smart lady!

209lyzard
Oct 21, 2012, 5:30pm Top

Ah, but then, she's Catholic! :)

To put a slightly more sensible slant on this, as with the character of Ambrosio, the Prioress is an illustration of the Protestant contention that convent / monastic life tended to bring out the worst in oeople, and magnify an individual's negative characteristics.

210SqueakyChu
Oct 21, 2012, 11:18pm Top

Sorry. No time for reading tonight. I hope to get some reading in tomorrow.

211lyzard
Oct 21, 2012, 11:28pm Top

D'oh!

212SqueakyChu
Edited: Oct 22, 2012, 11:02pm Top

The Monk - Volume 2 - Chapter 2 - Part 5

1. ...with which this account was interlarded.

What is interlarded?

2. I do NOT believe that Agnes expired. If nuns in this story can lie, this is a lying nun!!

3. See? Lorenzo doesn't believe her either!

4. I would demand to see the body!

5. In the case of grave illness or death, wouldn't a nun's family be notified, or was all communication with the outer world completely cut off in the type of convent in which Agnes lived?

6. Why did the Prioress feel the need to kiss the crucifix at that time? To impress Lorenzo with her holiness and humility?!

7. Couldn't Lorenzo have demanded at that time to see the dead body or, at least, the grave?

---------------------notes to myself------------------

Begin Chapter 3

page 223

213lyzard
Oct 22, 2012, 5:29pm Top

The Monk - Volume 2 - Chapter 2 - Part 5

1. Interspersed or punctuated - so the Prioress is describing Agnes's illness, but breaks off every now and then to say something like, "How fond I am of her!"

2. &. 3. & 4. & 5. & 7. Lorenzo can demand all he wants... :)

A layperson (particularly a man) getting inside a convent was a tricky thing at all times, but this is the Convent of St. Clare, an enclosed order, where things are even more strict. Technically they should have notified her family, but when girls entered a convent it was sometimes treated as if she had severed herself from her "earthly" ties and so it might be argued that they were under no obligation to do so.

In this case, since according to the Prioress Agnes died in childbirth, it could be considered a kindness to the family to hush the whole business up, which is indeed what the Prioress tries to claim.

(Also, not to be too gruesome, in a time before refrigeration and embalming, fast burials were pretty common.)

6. Because she had just "sworn by our blessed Saviour" - Catholics, you know... :)

214SqueakyChu
Edited: Oct 22, 2012, 11:05pm Top

Isn't that cruel, though, not to allow a family member to even see a grave of the dead nun?

Not that I believe she's dead!

215lyzard
Oct 22, 2012, 11:30pm Top

Well...you understand that I am answering you in the context of an English Protestant anti-Catholic novel, rather than necessarily trying to describe what actually went on, right? :)

And ooh, you sceptic, you!

216SqueakyChu
Oct 23, 2012, 8:58am Top

I do.

*off to work*

217lyzard
Oct 23, 2012, 5:26pm Top

Heh - sorry! It's too easy to start talking here as if we were dealing with something other than a particularly skewed view. :)

Mind you...ugly reality will be along soon enough...

218SqueakyChu
Edited: Oct 23, 2012, 8:50pm Top

The Monk - Volume 2 - Chapter 3 - Part 1

1. What should I get out of the two-line introductory poem?

2. Hurray! We're finally back to Ambrosio!!

3. I like how Ambrosio blames the seduction only on Matilda. Harumph!

4. Unnatural were your vows of Celibacy; Man was not created for such a state

I agree with this. I don't agree with a religion which denies a basic human drive so utterly and completely.

5. He did so in a manner most binding.

In what way was that?

6. Does Matilda have a ulterior motive for seducing Ambrosio, other than her professed love?

7. What is Incontinence?

8. ...where reposed the mouldering Bodies of the Votaries of St. Clare

What are Votaries?

9. The Sepulchre seems to be a very popular gathering place!

10. You life would fall victim to your imprudent curiosity

Matilda is being rather manipulative and rude to Ambrosio now as she threatens him. Isn't she?

---------------------notes to myself----------------------

page 231

Ends with:
Now she assumed a sort of courage and manliness in her manners..."

219lyzard
Edited: Oct 23, 2012, 9:04pm Top

The Monk - Volume 2 - Chapter 3 - Part 1

1. That sometimes, there's nothing's worse than the cold light of day...

2. Well, yes and no. :)

3. Get ready to say "Typical!" a lot.

4. And it was one of the main Protestant lines of argument against Catholicism.

5. Probably swearing by "everything I hold holy", which at this point is just a tad ironic.

Oaths to God were considered binding even in people you felt you generally couldn't trust; you might remember in Clermont, Madeline made one of the D'Alemberts take a "solemn oath", and trusted him on that basis.

6. Wait and see. :)

7. In this context, sexual misconduct, particularly in the sense that he has broken his vows.

8. Followers or believers. This is where they inter dead nuns of the Order of St. Clare...like Agnes.

9. Well, you'd think you'd be safe there from being overheard, but apparently not!

10. You'll find out why shortly... It's not a threat so much as a warning.

220lyzard
Edited: Oct 23, 2012, 9:11pm Top

A couple of important quotes:

He strove to pray: his bosom no longer glowed with devotion: his thoughts insensibly wandered to Matilda's secret charms. But what he wanted in purity of heart, he supplied by exterior sanctity. The better to cloak his transgressions, he redoubled his pretensions to the semblance of virtue, and never appeared more devoted to heaven than since he had broken through his engagements...

...he determined, at all events, to continue his commerce with Matilda, and called every argument to his aid which might confirm his resolution: he asked himself, provided his irregularity was unknown, in what would his fault consist...?

The road to hell is paved with sophistical arguments... :)

221SqueakyChu
Oct 23, 2012, 9:31pm Top

9. Well, you'd think you'd be safe there from being overheard, but apparently not!

It seems pretty crowded down there now! LOL!!

222SqueakyChu
Oct 24, 2012, 10:38pm Top

The Monk - Volume 2 - Chapter 3 - Part 2

1. What does the Abbott mean when he says, "Here we have a second Vincentio della Ronda"? Is that another name for Rosario?

2. He resolved to be the Confessor himself.

I knew it!!

3. Was the Journeyman to an Apothecary, who Leonella married, marrying her for her newly inherited money?

4. Why is Elvira sick and dying?

5. The fact that Antonia and Elvira recognise something familiar about Ambrosio's voice seems kind of interesting...and perhaps relevant?!

6. Is there anything particular that I should be getting out of the stanzas at the end of this chapter?

---------------notes to myself--------------

page 256

Starting Chapter 4!

223lyzard
Oct 24, 2012, 10:50pm Top

The Monk - Volume 2 - Chapter 3 - Part 2

1. When we first meet "Rosario", he has come to Ambrosio to ask him to pray for the recovery of a friend of his, who is dangerously ill; the friend is called Vincentio della Ronda. Ambrosio hopes that Antonia's request for his intervention ends the same way that Rosario's finally did.

3. What do YOU think? :)

4. She has contracted "a sudden and dreadful malady". It could be anything, but Lewis possibly means it to be typhus - related to, but separate from, typhoid - which had famously devastated the Spanish army during the 15th century. Epidemics were common across Europe until the mid-20th century. (Anne Frank died of typhus.)

5. Perhaps.

6. Mostly it's an illustration of how very innocent and pure and pious Antonia is.

You did a lot of reading this time!

224SqueakyChu
Edited: Oct 24, 2012, 11:19pm Top

3. I think YES!!

6. Perhaps.

LOL!

You did a lot of reading this time!

More than usual...perhaps because there was very little over which I had questions.

225lyzard
Oct 24, 2012, 11:27pm Top

I will just say this to you: the passage that REALLY got Lewis into trouble after The Monk was published is coming up - see if you can spot it. :)

226SqueakyChu
Oct 24, 2012, 11:44pm Top

I'll keep an eye out for it tomorrow night. Thanks for the heads up!

227SqueakyChu
Edited: Oct 25, 2012, 10:41pm Top

The Monk - Volume 2 - Chapter 3 - Part 2

1. I'm assuming that the poem heading this chapter is referring to the Sepulchre into which Matilda descended. Am I right?

2. Funny that the book that Antonia happened to be reading when the Friar placed himself beside her was the Bible!

3. Do you know any of these books, Liz? Amadis de Gaul, The Valiant Champion, Tirante the White, Don Galaor, or Damsel Plazer di mi vida

4. The second, that it (the Bible) should be copied out with her own hand, and all improper passages either altered or omitted.

That is odd as well because isn't that almost exactly (without the hand transcription, of course) what happened to M.G. Lewis' book?

5. I will just say this to you: the passage that REALLY got Lewis into trouble after The Monk was published is coming up - see if you can spot it.

Is it the fact that Lewis is bad-mouthing the Bible?

6. Anonia knows not of what she speaks!

7. Elvira is a super mother!!

8. Here is the place that Mom needs to have a heart-to-heart talk with her daughter. Well, she kind of did...but not really. I'm sure that Antonia has no idea what her mother was trying to tell her.

9. How does Matilda know so much about Ambrosio's comings and goings?

10. Why would Matilda not be jealous of Antonia?

---------------notes to myself------------------

page 267

Ends with:
The time is come, Ambrosio, when regard for your comfort and tranquility compels me to reveal a part of my History.

228lyzard
Edited: Oct 25, 2012, 10:41pm Top

The Monk - Volume 2 - Chapter 3 - Part 2

1. It's a general reference to death and burial (it's from a poem called "The Grave", after all!), but yes, it certainly evokes the sepulcre under the convent...which we will be seeing a bit more of presently...

2. Apart from the fact that it was probably the only book she was allowed to read, she's most likely looking for comfort in her mother's illness.

3. These are more chivalric romances, of the kind that Donna Rodolpha made Raymond read to her. The overriding problem is that many of them dealt with adulterous love, usually the yearning of a young man for a woman who was married, or otherwise forbidden. Tirante The White, on the other hand, was a more realistic and rather obscene work.

Most of these are works with which English would have been passingly familiar, at least, because they are also name-checked in Don Quixote.

4. Yes, but not for the same reason. :)

5. "How!" said the friar to himself. "Antonia reads the Bible, and is still so ignorant?"

Bingo. Lewis's depiction of the Bible as a work likely to corrupt innocent minds, and to put the idea of vice into young heads, was the final straw for most of his critics, who condemned The Monk as blasphemous thanks to this passage.

Of course, the irony is that there were at the time (and still are) "children's Bibles" in existence, created in exactly the same way, and for the same purpose, as Antonia's Bible---except that they tend to be promoted as "the Bible presented in terms that children can understand" rather than as "the Bible with all the sex and violence cut out".

6. No, she does not. Which brings us to---

7. & 8. She was obliged to treat the subject with caution, lest, in removing the bandage of ignorance, the veil of innocence should be rent away.

Lewis puts his finger on a prevailing tragedy here, the fact that a woman's "virtue" was so narrowly defined, and in entirely sexual terms, and given such ridiculous weight when compared to the qualities of her heart and mind, that rather than risk a girl's "innocence", parents would shy away from giving her the knowledge she needed to defend herself.

As you say, Elvira can't bring herself to really warn Antonia as strongly as she should be warned, even though she sees the extent of her danger. She would rather have her innocent and at risk, than knowledgeable and safe.

But I guess this is something all parents struggle with - how to handle the "stranger danger" talk.

9. Ah...!

10. Ahhh...!!

WAIT AND SEE.

:)

229SqueakyChu
Edited: Oct 25, 2012, 10:58pm Top

5. Woot! Glad I picked it out. I am always horrified, the more I read the bible (and associated biblical texts), how violent they really are and am always suprised how freely sex is mentioned within them. I don't remember that from studying the Old Testament as a kid. :)

It's very interesting that sex and violence is as old as man, yet we make it seem as if it never happened before. They are always white-washed over when presented as history. Alternatively, war is sometimes presented as being one sided (i.e. the "good guys" versus the "bad guys), not simply as two different factions with colliding cultures. Therefore, if violence is committed, it is for the sake of the "good" guys.

7. But I guess this is something all parents struggle with - how to handle the "stranger danger" talk.

I think the schools do a great job of it (if parents let them). When I wanted to have a heart to heart talk with my daughter, she told me she already "knew everything" I was going to tell her. She may also have gotten much of her knowledge from reading as she was reading adult books at a very early age.

I remember one parent quetioning me why I let her read a book with a rape scene in it. Honestly, she was reading so much that I simply could not pre-read everything before her. I talked to her about the book with the rape scene (since she'd already read it). She said that she didn't learn anything new and that it didn't bother her. With G-d's grace, she never suffered from sexual assault or violence as a kid. I wish the same could be said about all other children.

9 & 10. WAIT AND SEE.

LOL!!

230lyzard
Oct 25, 2012, 11:43pm Top

she was reading adult books at a very early age.

Likewise. :)

Given how mortified my mother was when I forced "the other talk" on her, I'm sure she was always grateful I spared her this one.

231lyzard
Oct 25, 2012, 11:45pm Top

With regards to Lewis's attitude to the Bible, I'm not the right person to be judging how shocking and offensive that is, I guess, but it does always seem bizarre to me that the people protesting that didn't seem to have a problem with certain other things that happen in this novel...

232SqueakyChu
Edited: Oct 25, 2012, 11:46pm Top

> 230

I didn't believe what my mother told me...so I went to the library to verify it! :)

233lyzard
Oct 25, 2012, 11:47pm Top

I was never convinced my mother knew anything...

234SqueakyChu
Oct 25, 2012, 11:51pm Top

> 231

I guess it's because some believe that the Bible was and is the "word of the Lord" that they become so offended when it is attacked. I like to think of the Bible as a historical document, which may or may not be divinely inspired (don't tell my rabbi I said that - just kidding!), but a narrative that may have been composed by many people or a group of people. I wish I would have been there at the time to know for sure!

I'm not an "all or nothing" person. I always have room for doubt.

235SqueakyChu
Oct 25, 2012, 11:52pm Top

> 233

Well, even if she did, she wouldn't tell.

I was an only child so I thought my mom had sex once to have me...and that was it! I guess I'll never know for sure as she's no longer alive to ask! :)

236lyzard
Oct 25, 2012, 11:55pm Top

I always have room for doubt.

Yeah, me too. Sadly, my experience is that nothing gets you slammed so hard as seeing both sides of an issue. :(

237lyzard
Oct 26, 2012, 5:01pm Top

Just glancing ahead---when you get to the end of Volume 2, Madeline, I'll start a new thread and call an Intermission - just to find out if we've scared off the lurkers. :)

238SqueakyChu
Oct 26, 2012, 5:04pm Top

Okay.

239klobrien2
Oct 26, 2012, 5:33pm Top

(psst...still lurking, keeping up with you (GREAT discussion!), looking forward to what's coming up)

Karen O.

240SqueakyChu
Oct 26, 2012, 10:59pm Top

No reading time tonight. I'll try for tomorrow.

241SqueakyChu
Edited: Oct 28, 2012, 5:28pm Top

The Monk - Volume 2 - Chapter 3 - Part 3

1. That mind which I esteemed so great and valient, proves to be...weaker than a Woman's.

Ho hum. Here we go again with negativity to women...this time, however, by a woman! :(

2. If not of Daemons, whose aid would you you invoke to forward this laudable design?

I like Matilda's logic!

3. You, who first seduced me to violate my vows....

Yes, Ambrosio, do continue to blame Matilda for your "downfall"!

4. You always have time to repent...

This is another rationalization for sinning (and here Matilda helps Ambrosio do this!). One can always repent! One can also freely choose to take the path of virtue as opposed to the path of sin.

5. Antonia shall be mine, but mine by human means.

Uh huh. This should prove to be interesting...

6. I'm not sure why now Matilda is encouraging Ambrosio to violate Antonia.

7. I want that mirror! :)

8. dashing the mirror upon the ground

Why did Ambrosio do this? Wasn't he fearful that the mirror would break? Didn't he realize what great powers it had? Was he so sexually aroused that he lost all sense?

9. I think Matilda is up to no good now because she had been betrayed by Ambrosio. I wouldn't be surprised if she used her knowledge of Black Magic to do him more harm than good. Ambrosio is a fool in so many ways.

------------------notes to myself---------------->

page 272

Ends with:
This said, she drew him hastily along.

242lyzard
Edited: Oct 27, 2012, 10:58pm Top

The Monk - Volume 2 - Chapter 3 - Part 3

1. That's because comparing a man to a woman is the greatest insult you can pay them. You know, women being the lowest form of life on the planet, and all that...

2. Well, she's right!

3. It must be wonderful to be a man, and always be able to blame everything you do wrong on a woman! :)

4. One can also freely choose to take the path of virtue as opposed to the path of sin.

But where would be the fun in that??

This is another standard Protestant jab at Catholicism, the notion that you can sin all you want, because there will always be a priest around to absolve you.

5. ...and when he does, I'm sure it will somehow turn out to be Antonia's fault. Or Matilda's.

6. Because women are like that?

Alternatively, wait and see...

7. Anyone in particular you want to spy on?? :D

8. To answer your last question first - YES!!

9. Ambrosio is a fool in so many ways.

But he was a perfect saint until he met a woman... :)

243SqueakyChu
Oct 27, 2012, 10:54pm Top

7. LOL! I don't have amyone in mind presently, but you never know when that mirror would come in handy!

9. But he was a perfect saint until he met a woman.

Liz, your answers are so funny!

244lyzard
Oct 27, 2012, 10:59pm Top

If I wasn't laughing, I'd probably be crying...

245SqueakyChu
Oct 27, 2012, 11:08pm Top

:)

246SqueakyChu
Oct 28, 2012, 5:52pm Top

The Monk - Volume 2 - Chapter 3 - Part 4

1. ...and that He employed her assistance, not that of the DAemons, the crime of Sorcery sould not be laid to his charge.

Sure. Pass it off as someone else's fault. That is otherwise known as an accomplice to the crime. There is fault in that as well.

2. ...understood that unless a formal Act was signed renouncing his claim to salvation, Satan would have no power over him.

A signed contract? Satan required a signed contract?! Why?

3. Who was the groaning Sufferer?

4. By a glance of mingled scorn and anger She reproved his pusillanimity...

What does "reproved his pusillanimity" mean?

5. an Agnus Dei which she broke into pieces...

What is an Agnus Dei?

6. Is the fact that the Daemon is a naked, beautful, winged boy significant in any way?

7. Can an Enchantress threaten the Daemon?

8. ...let this service convince you, that my friendship is disinterested and pure.

"Pure"? If she says so...

9. What is the significance of the Myrtle with which Ambrosio will perform his Magic?

10. Is Matilda going to want something later in exchange for her services?

-----------------------notes to myself--------------------

page 280

Which brings us to the end of Volume 2!

247lyzard
Edited: Oct 28, 2012, 6:24pm Top

The Monk - Volume 2 - Chapter 3 - Part 4

1. &. 2. You need to think of this in terms of a courtroom drama - Ambrosio is already figuring out his defence if he gets caught. His argument is that if it is Matilda rather than himself who commits the actual act of summoning up a demon, then technically he can't be accused of that and therefore might escape with his life. (Otherwise, it's torture and death.)

Satan required a signed contract?! Why?

Satan is a lawyer - don't tell me you're surprised?? :)

This is the proverbial contract signed in blood! Think of God as a really good defence attorney, able to find legal loopholes in almost everything when his "clients" (i.e. repentent sinners) hire him. About the only thing God can't argue a way around is a contract with Satan renouncing salvation, signed in the sinner's own blood, which is binding in perpetuity and means that the sinner can't escape.

3. We don't know. Someone else is down there. Ambrosio is about to go and see who it is, and if he can help, when he remembers why he's down there!

4. Pusillanimity is cowardice or timidity; Matilda gives Ambrosio a scornful look when he shows that he's frightened of what they're doing.

5. Agnes Dei means "lamb of God". There were a few different things this referred to, but the most likely one in this context is a disc of wax with a cross or some other religious symbol on it which had been blessed by the Pope. These were used in different ceremonies and as a protection. The corruption of religious artefacts is a standard part of any Black Mass.

This might, of course, also be a symbolic hint of the fate of Agnes de Medina...

6. I think Lewis took this rare opportunity to get away with expressing his vision of male beauty.

7. These situations were power struggles, so Matilda has to work to maintain her control of the demon, which is angry that she is acting as an intermediate for Ambrosio, rather than Ambrosio conducting the ceremony himself (which is cheating).

8. "Pure" meaning "unselfish", not "pure" meaning, well, "pure".

9. Myrtle was associated with Venus, who was the goddess of love and sex; presumably it is used here because it will facilitate Ambrosio gaining sexual access to Antonia.

10. Wait and see. :)

248lyzard
Oct 28, 2012, 6:23pm Top

Which brings us to the end of Volume 2!

Well done!

I will go now and set up the new thread, and also call an INTERMISSION in case our lurkers have anything to say for themselves - like "hello". :)

249SqueakyChu
Oct 28, 2012, 6:44pm Top

1. I really haven't done any reading about Satan and/or G-d's relationship with him. I haven't done that much thinking about Satan, either. In Judaism, there is a concept of Hell, but it's really a rather fuzzy concept. There is a Satan, but again, he, too, is a fuzzy concept. Neither G-d nor Satan are personified so clearly in my own religion as they are in Catholicism.

Since my daughter is in law school, perhaps, it would be time now for me to learn about all kinds of defense! :)

5. I guess I need to learn more about Black Masses! Those, too, have not been prominent features in the kinds of books I've read up until now. Liz, you've certainly changed that for me! :)

6. I think Lewis took this rare opportunity to get away with expressing his vision of male beauty.

Did anyone pick up on this at the time the book had been published?

10. Wait and see.

I'll wait, but I'm sure Matilda has something in mind. :)

250SqueakyChu
Oct 28, 2012, 6:45pm Top

I will go now and set up the new thread, and also call an INTERMISSION in case our lurkers have anything to say for themselves - like "hello". :)

Our lurkers are probably all in a coma now being that I'm moving through this book as slowly as I am! :D

251lyzard
Edited: Oct 28, 2012, 7:05pm Top

>>#249

It's all about the fight for souls. There are lots of famous stories about people making a pact with Satan and then regretting it and trying to get out of it. Faust might be the most famous. There is also the short story The Devil And Daniel Webster, in which someone literally hires a lawyer - Daniel Webster, a real person - to argue his case and get him out of going to Hell. But Satan gets to pick the jury... :)

I guess I need to learn more about Black Masses! Those, too, have not been prominent features in the kinds of books I've read up until now. Liz, you've certainly changed that for me! :)

Always happy to, uh, help. :)

You should note that Matilda refers to the demon as "Lucifer", which suggests that she has succeeded in conjuring up Satan himself.

Did anyone pick up on this at the time the book had been published?

I think they were probably too distracted by everything else going on! For a long time academics were too embarrassed over Lewis's sexuality to really address this aspect of the novel, but more recently it has certainly been analysed from that perspective.

252lyzard
Oct 28, 2012, 7:06pm Top

>>#250

We have at least one! She's posted on the new thread! :)

253SqueakyChu
Oct 28, 2012, 7:27pm Top

> 251

Always happy to, uh, help.

LOL!

You should note that Matilda refers to the demon as "Lucifer", which suggests that she has succeeded in conjuring up Satan himself.

I did notice that she called him Lucifer. Are there more demons than just Lucifer? Why is he called Lucifer and not Satan?

In Hebrew we call Satan "Ha-Satan", meaning "the Satan". Perhaps I need to explore the world of Satan or the Satan more closely! :)

recently it has certainly been analysed from that perspective.

...as recently as 5:52pm tonight! :)

254SqueakyChu
Oct 28, 2012, 7:27pm Top

> 252

What?! Karen was roused from her coma?! ;)

255klobrien2
Oct 29, 2012, 3:37pm Top

> 254 No coma here, although the novel did get a little sloggy to me in the early off-on-a-seeming-tangent portions.

See you on thread 2!

Karen O.

256luvamystery65
Oct 21, 2014, 12:04pm Top

Marking a spot here so I can refer to this thread when I read this book in January.

257lyzard
Oct 21, 2014, 5:50pm Top

Excellent! :)

Please don't hesitate to ask questions or add comments, Roberta.

258SqueakyChu
Oct 21, 2014, 9:22pm Top

This was such a fun read. Enjoy the book, Roberta!

259rebeccanyc
Oct 22, 2014, 4:44pm Top

Oh, I loved it too!

260luvamystery65
Jan 24, 2015, 10:07am Top

Bumping this up. Just started the book yesterday.

261lyzard
Jan 24, 2015, 2:47pm Top

I hope you enjoy it, Roberta!

262luvamystery65
Edited: Jan 24, 2015, 8:56pm Top

I have finished the first two chapters and will continue with the third before I go to sleep.

I was going to take the book to my hair appointment but I also have the cover from >52 rebeccanyc:. I don't think a book cover will do because then people will assume you are reading something like Fifty Shades of Gray and that is far more embarrassing than this cover. I read a couple of chapters of FSG last year and gave up. As one of my dearest friends says, you can forgive anything but bad writing. ;-)

I suppose if anyone asks about the cover I can say "Aren't you familiar with "The Fall of the Damned" by Dirck Bouts the Elder (c. 1450) from the Museée des Beaux Arts in Lille?

263lyzard
Jan 24, 2015, 9:15pm Top

Uhhhh, yes - that is a bit of a tricky one for public reading! Love your suggested answer, though! :D

264luvamystery65
Jan 25, 2015, 12:20am Top

>104 lyzard: After her lover dies, the banditti won't let Marguerite go because she knows too much, and she becomes the "property" of Baptiste who, yes, was once a monk (just another little slap from Lewis!).

I took the passage to say that a robber who was once a monk had "married" Marguerite and Baptiste in a burlesque not religious ceremony, not that Baptiste had been a monk. Did I misread this?

265lyzard
Jan 25, 2015, 1:52am Top

No, you're right - it is another robber who used to be a monk, and who performs the "service" over Baptiste and Marguerite.

266luvamystery65
Jan 25, 2015, 2:36pm Top

This so entertaining!

I finished Chapter 1 in Volume 2. Young Theodore was described as Marguerite as so well behaved and he did not want to become a bandit like his stepfather but my how he is enjoying the crimes, kidnapping and deceiving, he is committing as Raymond's page.

267lyzard
Jan 25, 2015, 3:32pm Top

Let's just say that he picked up a lot of employable skills. :)

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2012

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