The Monk

The Monk

3.81 (23,448 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

'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.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 416 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 18mm | 287g
  • Penguin Classics
  • London, England, United States
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 0140436030
  • 9780140436037
  • 89,474

Review Text

Savaged by critics for its blasphemy and obscenity, The Monk shows the diabolical decline of Ambrosio, a worthy Capuchin superior who is tempted by Matilda -- a young girl who has entered his monastery disguised as a boy -- and eventually succumbs to magic, murder, incest, and torture. A brilliant examination of violent and erotic impulses, The Monk was greatly admired by the Marquis de Sade, as well as Byron, Poe, Flaubert, Hawthorne, and Emily Bronte.
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Review quote

"The whole work is distinguished by the variety and impressiveness of its incidents; and the author every-where discovers an imagination rich, powerful, and fervid." --Samuel Taylor Coleridge
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About Matthew Lewis

Hugh Thomas (Lord Thomas of Swynnerton) is widely known for his work on the history of Spain, including his epic masterpiece The Spanish Civil War, available as a Modern Library Paperback.
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Rating details

23,448 ratings
3.81 out of 5 stars
5 30% (6,989)
4 35% (8,266)
3 24% (5,671)
2 8% (1,812)
1 3% (710)
Book ratings by Goodreads
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