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The Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis
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The Monk (original 1796; edition 2003)

by Matthew Gregory Lewis

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,451None2,503 (3.83)1 / 247
Member:CosmaNoir
Title:The Monk
Authors:Matthew Gregory Lewis
Info:Dover Publications (2003), Paperback, 320 sivua
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work details

The Monk by Matthew Lewis (1796)

  1. 30
    The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (DanLovesAlice)
    DanLovesAlice: Both texts share the notion of the duplicity of man, and study how society and social roles can imprison our most primitive urges.
  2. 30
    Le diable amoureux by Jacques Cazotte (Jannes)
    Jannes: The Monk is generally considered to be heavily influenced by Le Diable amoureux, and the novels share several themes, most obviously the idea of the devil in the form of a seductive woman.
  3. 00
    The Italian by Ann Radcliffe (kara.shamy)
  4. 01
    Valerie and Her Week of Wonders by Vítězslav Nezval (StevenTX)
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English (47)  French (3)  All languages (50)
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
Fantastic story of murder and lust. Nice twist at the end. The sub-plot with the imprisoned nun was fantastic and her discovery was quite stomach-turning. ( )
  sweetzombieducky | Feb 14, 2014 |
I loved this book. I wasn't sure what to expect, but this had me staying up late, turning the pages and immersing myself completely. Mixed drama, scandal, mysticism, and action perfectly! The only criticism i have is in regards to the blurb. It mentions a certain element of the story and after reading, i feel that it spoils one of the biggest twists in the story. Other than that, BADASS! ( )
1 vote aiturnizzle | Feb 4, 2014 |
This is a good book. It has its faults (the poems are a little obnoxious, some of the asides can go on for rather long, the main character has zero redeeming qualities), but it's quite a story. These days the content wouldn't be at all "shocking" but back when it was written would have been very different, Lewis was making a rather large statement with this novel. In any case, I enjoyed trying to keep ahead of the twists, attempting to guess the truth of various things. Usually I managed to guess correctly, but it wasn't the annoying sort of predictable, it was that Lewis gave bits of foreshadowing that hinted at things to come. It made it so you'd guess about the hints, and then have the anticipation of waiting for the events to progress and seeing if they'd go that way or not, and how exactly it would happen. Some of it was a little silly, and there's one character you just want to throttle, but overall a fun enjoyable read. ( )
  PolymathicMonkey | Jan 5, 2014 |
I loved this book. It took me awhile, not because it wasn't interesting, but bc I'm a slow reader.

I've never read Gothic novels before, but this was a great start. The language was easy to understand, and I found it surprisingly modern for 1796. The plot and twists reminded me a bit of Count of Monte Cristo, but much more abridge of course. A little soap opera-y, as it tried to shock you and some parts so melodramatic it was cheesy, but fun and engaging nonetheless. At this point in history, it's a bit campy, but I can imagine that back then disdain of religion wouldv'e been read very differently. The characters ranged from boringly clean to most interestingly horrible. I knew most of the plot before I started and I was still shocked at the end. It wrapped up nicely, and I give kudos for a 19 year old writing this.
Having the beautiful marbled paper cover and creamy pages of my Folio Society edition was icing on the cake. ( )
  sambadoll | Dec 3, 2013 |
I'm not really sure what I think of this. I can see how some people would call it Gothic and some people would just call it weird.
"Feel this heart, father! It is yet the seat of honour, truth, and chastity; if it beats tomorrow, it must fall a prey to the blackest crimes. Oh, let me then die to-day! ... Folded in your arms, I shall sink to sleep; your hand shall close my eyes for ever, and your lips receive my dying breath. And will you not sometimes think of me? Will you not sometimes shed a tear upon my tomb?"

It does have Gothic elements, like ghosts and spooky castles/houses/abbeys/crypts/forests and innocent damsels in distress from fiendish villains. The Bleeding Nun in particular was delightfully spooky:
"The spectre again pressed her lips to mine, again touched me with her rotting fingers and, as on her first appearance, quitted the chamber as the clock told 'two'."

But it also has some real Horror elements, like violent murders and crypts filled with rotting corpses. And there were some things that reminded me of Sade, like the religious cynicism and rapes. (Edit to add: after looking at a few commentaries, it looks like the extra violence was inspired by the German school of Gothic stories, and that Sade did use this as an inspiration. So...)
"Redouble your outward austerity, and thunder out menaces against the errors of others, the better to conceal your own. ... she is unworthy to enjoy love's pleasures, who has not wit enough to conceal them."
"The prudent mother, while she admired the beauties of the sacred writings [of the Bible], was convinced that, unrestricted, no reading more improper could be permitted a young woman."

I don't know. It was interesting, but I think I would have related to it more if I'd read it when I was 20 (about the age of the author when he wrote it). At this point in my life, I like my Gothic stuff to be a bit more self-aware or goofy, and my social commentary to be a bit more hopeful. ( )
1 vote thewalkinggirl | Jun 13, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (56 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Matthew Lewisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Anderson, HowardEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fonzi, BrunoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gällmo, GunnarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
MacLachlan, ChristopherIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McEvoy, EmmaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Praz, MarioContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Somnia, terrores magicos, miracula,sagas,
Nocturnos lemures, portentaque.
                  HORAT

Dreams, magic terrors, spells of mighty power,
Witches, and ghosts who rove at midnight hour.
Dedication
First words
Scarcely had the abbey-bell tolled for five minutes, and already was the church of the Capuchins thronged with auditors.
Quotations
None sleep so profoundly, as those who are determined not to wake.
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Although some early editions give the title as "Ambrosio, or the Monk," both the first edition and the overwhelming majority of later editions give the give merely as "The Monk". See the facsimile of the first edition's title-page in the 1952 Grove Press reprint.
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Book description
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140436030, Paperback)

‘Few could sustain the glance of his eye, at once fiery and penetrating’

Savaged by critics for its supposed profanity and obscenity, and bought in large numbers by readers eager to see whether it lived up to its lurid reputation, The Monk became a succès de scandale when it was published in 1796 – not least because its author was a member of parliament and only twenty years old. It recounts the diabolical decline of Ambrosio, a Capuchin superior, who succumbs first to temptations offered by a young girl who has entered his monastery disguised as a boy, and continues his descent with increasingly depraved acts of sorcery, murder, incest and torture. Combining sensationalism with acute psychological insight, this masterpiece of Gothic fiction is a powerful exploration of how violent and erotic impulses can break through the barriers of social and moral restraint.

This edition is based on the first edition of 1796, which appeared before Lewis’s revisions to avoid charges of blasphemy. In his introduction, Christopher MacLachlan discusses the novel’s place within the Gothic genre, and its themes of sexual desire and the abuse of power.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:39:34 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Set in the sinister monastery of the Capuchins in Madrid, this is a violent tale of ambition, murder, and incest. The struggle between maintaining monastic vows and fulfilling personal ambitions tempts its main character into breaking his vows.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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Average: (3.83)
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Penguin Australia

Three editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140436030, 0141191961, 0141199466

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