[Read] ➪ The Monk Author Matthew Lewis – Horse-zine.co.uk



10 thoughts on “The Monk

  1. says:

    When I was younger, I avoided this book because the literary snob in me a much insistent voice back then than now had decided, on the basis of informed opinion, that The Monk was a calculated exercise in sensationalism, a device for producing horrific thrills through the deliberate, exploitative use of cheap effects and anti Catholic stereotypes Now that I have read it, I see that the literary snob in me had a point The Monk is all of these things But it is also .I think the young Matthew Lewis liked Walpole and loved Radcliff, but believed that they both fell short of his own darker, revolutionary vision, particularly in regard to the supernatural, providence, and fate For Lewis, the supernatural is neither an obvious intrusion of the symbolic into the actual, a providential and prophetic sign Walpole nor a mere objective correlative for the heroine s emotional state which once it has served its sentimental purpose can be explained away and summarily discarded Radcliff No, the supernatural for Lewis is an elusive, complex phenomenon, a dangerous disruption of the ordinary, which may be mocked by the rationalist or embraced by the gullible, which may at times be a mere legend or a stratagem exploiting a legend , but could just as easily turn out to be real And if real, it will be something horribly real relentless and insistent at best, malevolent and destructive at worst, and only tangentially connected to providence.It is in his radical criticism of providence itself that Lewis differs most markedly from his influences For Mrs Radcliff and Walpole, to a lesser extent Providence is a benevolent but mischievous uncle who enjoys scaring the children before he rewards them with treats But for Lewis, Providence is a capricious, unreliable overseer, capable of allowing the spotless innocent to be ravished and destroyed by the wicked The fact that the wicked one later meets with a terrifying supernatural destruction never quite makes up for the great horror or the grave injustice of the initial violation.In addition, Lewis brings the dark side of Shakespeare plus the spirit of early German Romanticism and the recent French Revolution into the already familiar world of sentimental dialogue, medieval abbeys and Salvator Rosa landscapes, giving the gothic world a wider breadth and a greater force A final note all lovers of Poe should read this novel Just as The Fall of the House of Usher was inspired by Otranto, so The Pit and the Pendulum was inspired by The Monk In both cases Poe surpasses his influences, but the comparisons are extremely interesting.


  2. says:

    Lucifer stood before him a second time He borrowed the Seraph s form to deceive Ambrosio He appeared in all that ugliness, which since his fall from heaven had been his portion His blasted limbs still bore marks of the Almighty s thunder A swarthy darkness spread itself over his gigantic form His hands and feet were armed with long Talons Fury glared in his eyes, which might have struck the bravest heart with terror Over his huge shoulders waved two enormous sable wings and his hair was supplied by living snakes, which twined themselves round his brows with frightful hissings In one hand He held a roll of parchment, and in the other an iron pen Still the lightning flashed around him, and the Thunder with repeated bursts, seemed to announce the dissolution of nature How does Ambrosio the most pious, the most venerated monk in all of Madrid find himself at this point bargaining with Lucifer for the tattered remains of his blackened soul His Brother Monks, regarding him as a Superior BeingThey were persuaded, that what He did must be rightHis monastic seclusion had till now been in his favour, since it gave him no room for discovering his bad qualities The superiority of his talents raised him too far above his Companions to permit his being jealous of them His exemplary piety, persuasive eloquence, and pleasing manners had secured him universal Esteem, and consequently He had no injuries to revenge His Ambition was justified by his acknowledged merit, and his pride considered as no than proper confidence He never saw, much less conversed with the other sex He was ignorant of the pleasures in Woman s power to bestow. Ambrosio had been left on the monastery doorstep when he was too young to tell his tale and had never known a moment of the world beyond those monastic walls Because of these unique circumstances he had never been exposed to temptation, vice, sin or the charms of the female form Now the upper class women did find his eloquence when he gave sermons so enticing that he quickly became the most popular monk for hearing confessions Which I often thought that one of the bonuses of being a member of the cloth would be to hear all the juicy details of confession Now don t hold anything back young lady salvation is in the details I digress My point is that even with his sheltered upbringing he had a good idea what all those people were getting up to out there in the regular world, but he had an almost scientific detachment from the conception and the temptations of sin The downfall of Ambrosio was just too tempting for Lucifer He sends Rosario to the monastery to be Ambrosio s assistance Rosario keeps his face hidden under a cowl and makes himself indispensable to Ambrosio After he has gained the trust of the monk he reveals himself to be a woman, a beautiful woman named Matilda This was a HOLY SHIT moment for Ambrosio Needless to say after much wringing of hands and grand speeches about his virtue being beyond reproach he finds out after all he is just a man Dangerous Woman said He Into what an abyss of misery have you plunged me Should your sex be discovered, my honour, nay my life, must pay for the pleasure of a few moments Fool that I was, to trust myself to your seductions What can now be done How can my offence be expiated What atonement can purchase the pardon of my crime Wretched Matilda, you have destroyed my quiet for ever It really isn t fair after all I mean if Lucifer decided to send a beautiful being to any one of us with the intention of getting us to fall from grace we would all be doomed Samuel Taylor Coleridge thought that the creation of Matilda was Lewis s masterpiece He said she was exquisitely imagined and superior in wickedness to the most wicked of men When I think about this book being published in 1796, in the infant stages of novel writing, by a young man of 19 and written in just ten weeks it is staggering to contemplate how wonderfully he developed the villains of this story The writing is weak when it comes to characters representing the commendable people They were cardboard cutouts just mere backdrops for the villains to ply their villainy upon Ambrosio soon tires of the beautiful Matilda and turns his attentions to the seduction of Antonia a timid and innocent girl of 15 Matilda turns demon pimp and acquires magic to help Ambrosio feed his growing lust Lewis builds the tension in this section as there are several moments when we feel that he is about to accomplish his task and something interferes He knows it is not right to despoil this girl of her virtue, but he can not resist his own base urges Every feature, look, and motion declares you formed to bless, and to be blessed yourself Turn not on me those supplicating eyes Consult your own charms They will tell you, that I am proof against entreaty Can I relinquish those limbs so white, so soft, so delicate Thos swelling breasts, round, full, and elastic These lips fraught with such inexhaustible sweetness Can I relinquish these treasures, and leave them to another s enjoyment No, Antonia never, never I swear it by this kiss, and this and this Of course this is not Ambrosio s fault It is the girl s fault Wretched Girl, you must stay here with me Here amidst these lonely Tombs, these images of Death, these rotting loathsome corrupted bodies Here shall you stay, and witness my sufferings witness what it is to die in the horrors of despondency, and breathe the last groan in blasphemy and curses And who am I to thank for this What seduced me into crimes, whose bare remembrance makes me shudder Fatal Witch was it not they beauty Have you not plunged my soul into infamy Have you not made me a perjured Hypocrite, a Ravisher, an Assassin Nay, at this moment, does not that angel look bid me despair of God s forgiveness If she just wasn t so damn beautiful he would have been fine He would have let her keep her virtue and he would be back on the path to righteousness Matthew LewisNow Lewis does ramble around a bit We follow the adventures of some noblemen trying to save their sister fiance from being condemned to a convent because her parents made a promise to God The Prioress turns out to be another great villain and capable of such diabolical vengeance that yet again Lewis made this reader uneasy He also incorporates the Bleeding Nun into this section WIth trembling apprehension I examined this midnight Visitor God Almighty It was the Bleeding Nun Her face was still veiled She lifted up her veil slowly What sight presented itself to my startled eyes I beheld before me an animated Corse Her countenance was long and haggard Her cheeks and lips were bloodless The paleness of death was spread over her features, and here eye balls fixed steadfastly upon me were lustreless and hollow And the Wandering Jew He spoke in a commanding tone, and drew the sable band from his fore head In spite of his injunctions to the contrary, Curiosity would not suffer me to keep my eyes off his face I raised them, and behold a burning Cross impressed upon his brow For the horror with which this object inspired me I cannot account, but I never felt its equal My senses left me for some moments A mysterious dread overcame my courage, and had not the Exorciser caught my hand, I would Have fallen out of the Circle Wandering Jew by DoreStephen King wrote an interesting introduction to this volume He puts Walpole and Lewis in perspective with the emergence of this Gothic Horror genre If this new genre had an Elvis Presley, it was Walpole Then came Matthew Lewis the genre s first punk, the Johnny Rotten of the Gothic novel The Monk was a black engine of sex and the supernatural that changed the genre and the novel itself forever Is that Johnny Rotten or is that Matthew Lewis That sums up for me why when I was deciding between three stars and four stars I gave the push to four Lewis published the first edition Anonymously, but then when it became a sensation he published the second edition under his own name and added M.P to reflect his recently acquired seat in the House of Commons Charges of immorality and wild extravagances started to be flung in his direction and an injunction to restrain its sales was obtained Bowing to pressure he reworked and removed some of the offensive passages There is nothing like a little controversy to drum up book sales Where Walpole and Radcliffe kept the true horror of their writing off screen Lewis audaciously grabs the reader s hand and forces it into the maw of the gruesome He writes vividly of the most horrible circumstances He even came to the attention of Lord Byron Wonder working Lewis, Monk or Bard, who fain wouldst make Parnassus a churchyard Even Satan s self with thee might dread to dwell, And in thy skull discern a deeper hell Ghosts, demons, burning crosses, diabolical evil, incest, murder, riots, rape, robbery, crypts, and demonic magic kept the pages turning If he had put flesh on the bones of the honorable characters bringing them up to par with the ingenious descriptions of his villains this would have been a novel to contend with the very best If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit also have a Facebook blogger page at


  3. says:

    This is such a great fun book to read It s really not like anything else at all, it s so extreme in every way It was written in the era of the great classics, but this one is never going to be taught in schools.The book out Gothics all the Gothic novels you ever read, Jane Austen s Northanger Abbey isn t even related to the raw perversion and criminality of this madcap horror ride through the forbidden where taboos fall one by one as the The Monk, unable to live up to his vows gives in to every deviant temptation In him, every tenet of pure, celibate monastic existence becomes corrupted and evil.The Monk has everything a cross dressing seductive heroine, get thee to a nunnery oh you virgin but not for long , sex, incest, rape, madness, torture, death, crypts, poison, magic, ghosts, bandits, vermin, the devil and the total moral and social degradation of all concerned The author, who was only 20 at the time, let his fevered imagination run as wild as it wanted and then whipped it on a bit further The most perverted and extreme taboos were just eccentricities to be worked into the characters and plot What makes the book so outstanding, and why it has never been out of print in the over 200 years since it was first published, is that it is written with great intelligence and insight into people s psyches by an extremely talented author And, unlike some classics, it isn t in the least bit boring.But seriously, no one is ever going to be asked to write a book report in school for it I might have though If I d know about the book I would have done it as summer reading Those reports had to be read out to the class That would have enlivened things a bit.It s free here It says it s a romance I wouldn t really call it that Edited for some egregious typos, bad grammar and triple redundant words, mostly mad


  4. says:

    LOSING MY RELIGION , , , , , , .


  5. says:

    I must have your soul must have it mine, and mine forever This is one of the pioneers of Gothic Fiction, a work that defined one of the most fascinating, demanding and controversial genres A novel written in the end of the 18th century that shocked the reading audience of its time with its last, darkness and violence But what about the contemporary readers Well, a few hundred years later and The Monk still continues to attract us My first experience with Lewis novel took place during my studies, in an exciting course called The Bible in English Literature Since then, I ve overlooked reading it and I don t know why This Christmas, an amazing colleague gave me a collector s edition as a Christmas present I think she knows me well.In Madrid, Ambrosio is a charismatic monk who dazzles the congregation with fiery sermons A younger monk, Rosario, is his faithful shadow and confidante However, Rosario is actually a young lady who has no other way to be close to him except disguising herself as a boy Ambrosio discovers the truth and succumbs, because he is weak in spirit and in flesh When his attentions turn to a young lady from a noble family, all Hell breaks loose Literally, I assure you The Monk echoes Shakespeare and the Jacobite playwrights quite clearly The cross dressing, the scandalous love affairs, the ambivalent outcome, the extreme depiction of violence and punishment The action is set in Spain, faithful to the stereotype which imagine the people of the Southern part of Europe as vulnerable and governed by their passions, within a context that breaks apart the two institutions which are supposed to provide comfort and security The Family and the Church Dishonesty is common Holy men break their vows, noble sons try to trick virgins into their path, parents bargain their children away It is a world far terrifying than any satanic involvement could ever create and it is too real Obsession leads to crimes and Lewis paints a dark portrait of a society that is corrupted to the core Men and women blame God for their weak souls while choosing a path that leads nowhere The atmosphere is tangible with dark sensuality and violent lust and madness, as Lewis depicts a country and an era in all their attractive paranoia.We live in the time when violence and sex are always around, often used to shock but ending up being nothing We aren t easily shocked now, exposed to them from an outrageously young age through TV and video games The Monk may seem to us anything but shocking Some may say that it stereotypically places the women in the archetypal roles of the Seductress or the Virgin Yes, well, obviously Take the story within its historical context and you ll have the explanation But wouldn t this be too simplistic to consider We love A Song of Ice and Fire most of us, at least , we love Stephen King and Gothic Fiction has never been better both in Literature as well as in exceptional TV series like BBC s Taboo Violence, darkness and sexual implications don t shock us, but dark stories of quality continue to fascinate us and will always do so And by quality , I mean Literature, not mass produced porn garbageDarkness continues to rule many a life, forming a kind of obsession that may lead to horror and despair This is why The Monk still remains an iconic creation in the vastness of Literature I would also wholeheartedly suggest the 2011 film version of the novel, starring Vincent Cassel at his best.My review can also be found on


  6. says:

    Ambrosio, the abbot, is the perfect monk, head of an abbey in Madrid, and the idol of the city, a young, handsome, charismatic man, with a spellbinding voice, that thrills the congregation at his church All the people flock to it, to hear his sermons, five minutes after the bells ring, the church is overflowing, and the noble families are there, silently the assembly listens, a living saint, they witness, the proud people are ecstatic, in this modern age the 1700 s , God has sent them Ambrosio The Capuchin Friar an order of independent Franciscans , the Monk, is not what he appears to be, everything, a mirage, the orphan, found at the door of the abbey, as an infant, raised in the monastery, never leaving its grounds, nobody knows where the child came from Now evil thoughts permeates his curious mind, lust and debauchery, after thirty dull years, the Monk, wants to have some fun, the deadly boredom must end soon, risk his reputation, if only the abbot had a chanceAmbrosio is close to a novice by the name of Rosario, his only friend, who mysteriously arrived at the abbey, this young gentleman, always covers his face, keeps to himself, except for the abbot, their discussions are what the monk looks forward to, during the bleak daily ennui But finally in the garden of the abbey, Rosario reveals to Ambrosio, he s a she, a woman called Matilda, of course , after a short hesitation, carnal knowledge commences, that She looks like the Madonna, doesn t hurt The abbot soon shows lack of interest, a new, fresh conquest is needed, the very accommodating Rosario Matilda , through witchcraft, helps him, try to violate another innocent woman Midnight, at the cemetery, he hears the owls ominous shrieks, opens the gate, into the vast, dark, eerie underground vaults of the abbey s graveyard, jointly used by the nearby convent Ambrosio slowly descends the forbidding stairs, his heart is pounding, a flickering lamp to show the many decaying bodies, unknown vermin creeping around the horrific scene, while the monks and nuns above, hold a sacred procession, viewed by the citizens of Madrid, he goes on, until he reaches the tomb of the supposedly dead, Antonia , the drugged girl, is still alive and waking up just now, she see him and thinks all will be safe, the Monk moves closer.Later he hears the sound of footsteps approaching him, fiend, friend or enemy The uneasy monk awaits in the gloom, is his destiny, death or life Condemned when first published, in England, in 1796, and thus a bestseller, considered now, the Gothic classic novel, even though the twenty year old British author, uses Italian names in Spain, murder, incest, parricide, lascivious men and willing women including an old maid Religious bigotry, Black Magic, and some strange, creepy, and weird scenes, supernatural atmosphere too, graveyards, ghosts, demons, secret identities, and a hidden prisoner, held by, yes nuns Everything that a reader, comes to expect and dread, hate and love, in this type of book, it s all there, not for everyoneYoung Matthew Gregory Lewis, was an English M.P during the bright daylight.


  7. says:

    Calling all Gothic Novel fans you have to read The Monk this is the Texas Chainsaw Massacre of Gothic novels which will unjade the most jaded Here you will find much fun to be had with nuns, priests with uncontrollable underwear, nuns, pregnant nuns, nuns with minimal clothing, nuns giving birth in frankly unsanitory conditions attended only by untrained inappropriate monks, heaving bosoms, unspeakable acts, souls in the process of being damned for all eternity, mostly ghostly ectoplasm, also big rats The things that happen to people after they are dead in this book are than happen to living people in some other books I have read I remember well that as I perused this volume, those many years ago, my hair rose perpendicularly from my scalp and tingles spread across my nether regions.


  8. says:

    Does character redemption exist in Lewis s world No, I think not The vile protagonist degrades himself on every level Here s a list to show how messed up he is 1 He lusts after his sister 2 He becomes obsessed.3 He tries to rape his sister.4 He goes insane 5 He tries to kill his sister.6 He yields his soul to Satan.7 The end He s just a little bit too creepy he s a complete sex pest with stalker like tendencies This is incredibly Gothic, so than most Gothic classics But, is that necessarily a good thing Certainly, it was enjoyable in parts, but, ultimately, it left me feeling rather dissatisfied The power of seduction was running through this novel the monk really had no chance of surviving it He would have had to have an iron will to face the powers that were exerted on him Even the most remote doubt in his beliefs could be exploited by Lucifer The Monk has one major weakness, and that s women So, Lucifer sends the most perfect women, for the Monk, to corrupt him and apply directly to his one vulnerability I never felt like there was any chance in hell of Ambrosio resisting the charms it wasn t like he was divided or displayed a struggle of resistance, he simply fell over his heels in made obsessive love There were no two ways about it He had no chance He was doomed from the first page At times, it felt like it was over before it began It was blatant that the Monk s indulgence would lead to a cycle of moral degradation He was obviously going to be defeated by the devil and end up in some form of hell I just didn t need to read it to know how it was going to play out The sexual elements were also a little bit sordid What I mean is, it was blatant and in your face It lacked all the subtlety of Dracula and the brilliance of Stoker s metaphorical actions I think this was merely written to shock its readership Obviously, at the time such lust in books was rare and surprising especially on such a fantastical sexual level The Monk lusts after his own sister, albeit unknowingly, but it was like it was added to just to enhance the seducing power of evil There was lust for the sake of lust, incest for the sake of incest, and sexual imagery for the sake of sexual imagery I didn t take a lot from it And it was one big inglorious headache It took me a while to get over the disjointed style of the prose, the frequent shifts in narrator and the similar sounding characters I would have been lost without a plot summary, and a breakdown of the characters It all felt rather difficult to follow Now I know what you re thinking isn t that a problem with me personally rather than the novel Well, yes, I suppose it is But, this book was a struggle There was something about it that put me off from the very beginning And it only got worse This is a classic that I really don t like.


  9. says:

    , , 1796 , , , , , , , , , , , , , .


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