The Monk: A Romance

The Monk: A Romance

by Matthew Lewis

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Overview

‘A Gothic Novel’

The Monk

A Romance

By Matthew Lewis

The Monk: A Romance is a Gothic novel by Matthew Gregory Lewis, published in 1796. A quickly written book from early in Lewis's career (it was written in ten weeks, before he turned 20), its convoluted and scandalous plot has made it one of the most important Gothic novels of its time, often imitated and adapted for the stage and the screen.

Newly arrived in Madrid, Leonella and her niece Antonia visit a church to hear the sermon of a celebrated priest, Ambrosio, and while waiting tell their story to two young men, Don Lorenzo and Don Christoval. Antonia's Grandfather is the Marquis de las Cisternas, who was unhappy with his son’s marriage, causing her parents to flee, leaving their young son behind only to be told a month later he has died. Leonella has come to Madrid to convince the Marquis’ son, Raymond de las Cisternas, to resume their pension, which has been cut off. As the story is told, Lorenzo falls in love with Antonia. The mysterious priest, who was left at the abbey as a child, delivers the sermon, and Antonia is fascinated with him. Lorenzo vows to win the hand of Antonia, but must first visit his sister Agnes, who is a nun at the nearby abbey. Having fallen asleep in the church, he awakens to find someone delivering a letter for his sister from Raymond de las Cisternas. On the way home, a gypsy warns Antonia that she is about to die, killed by someone who appears to be honorable.

Ambrosio is visited by nuns, including Agnes, for confession. She drops a letter which reveals her plans to run away with Raymond de las Cisternas. When Agnes confesses that she is pregnant with Raymond’s child, Ambrosio turns her over to the prioress of her abbey for punishment. As she is led away, she curses Ambrosio. Returning to the abbey, Ambrosio's constant companion, a novice named Rosario admits that he is a woman named Matilda, who disguised herself so that she could be near Ambrosio. They both know he must throw her out of the monastery, but she begs him not to, and vows to kill herself if he does. He relents, but after talking the next day she decides to leave of her own accord, on the condition Ambrosio gives her a rose to remember him by. As he picks the rose, he is bitten by a serpent and is rushed to his room where it is predicted that he will die within three days. Rosario acts as his nurse, and the next day it is discovered that Ambrosio is cured which is proclaimed a miracle. When the other monks leave, Matilda reveals that she sucked the poison from Ambrosio’s wound and is now dying herself. At the point of death, she begs him to make love to her, and he succumbs to the temptation at last, having discovered that she is the model who sat for his beloved portrait of the virgin Mary.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781986521406
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 03/14/2018
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.47(d)

About the Author

Matthew Lewis (1775–1818) was an English novelist and dramatist, often referred to as “Monk” Lewis because of the success of his 1796 Gothic novel, The Monk. He is also known for the play The Castle Spectre as well as his many translations of other texts. He attended Christ Church, Oxford, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1794 and a master’s in 1797.


Nicholas Boulton, actor and winner of nine Earphones Awards for narration, studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, winning the BBC Carleton Hobbs Award for Radio in 1993. Since then he has been heard in numerous productions for BBC Radio 4 and the World Service. He has appeared in films such as Shakespeare in Love and Topsy Turvy. Theater credits include Platonov for the Almeida, Henry V for the Royal Shakespeare Company, and Arcadia for the Theatre Royal Haymarket.

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The Monk 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After I got used to the old-style grammar (shot-gun commas, non-standard spelling, and Drive-By Capitalization), I really enjoyed this book. It's campy and overly melodramatic, but that just adds to its charm. If you've got a few hours to kill and don't mind a few subplots that have nodding acquaintances with each other, I recommend this. It tickles me that the author was only 19 when he wrote this and people are still reading it a couple of centuries later.
WTVCrimeDawg More than 1 year ago
I read The Monk as part of the required reading for my Gothic Fictions class in college. The books in my recommended reading list are all related to the gothic theme of the class. The Broadview edition is excellent for literary study. In the introduction, the editors explain many of the influences on Lewis when he wrote The Monk, which include the French Revolution, Goethe's Faustus, Burke's Sublime and Beautiful, and--just in case you didn't get enough from other novels--there's even some Oedipus influence, as well. The criticisms and letters in the back help one to understand the outrage and censorship of the book in late 18th century Europe. It was not well received by many in power. As far as the story itself, the overall tone of the book definitely has an anti-Catholic theme. Lewis was raised a Protestant, so he supported the French Revolution, but he was also concerned with its excesses. The revolution and excesses of both Ambrosio and Agnes parallel his sentiment about the French Revolution. The weaving of the main plot and subplot made the reading at times a bit dense, although there were several good parts. Lewis did a very nice job of incorporating Burke's sublime and beautiful techniques, such as using obscurity when describing the sublime, and there were parts about the ghost of the bleeding nun that sent chills up my spine as I read it. Overall, I liked the book, but I'm not easily offended by this sort of stuff. However, if a monk breaking his vows and committing all sorts of crimes, including rape and murder, might offend you, this probably isn't the book for you.
AlexTheHunn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lewis writes a lurid tale of lust, deception, betrayal, and intrigue set in eighteenth-century Spain -- mostly. His writes against a backdrop of Catholic excess as well as demonism. Although he gives way to literary excesses of his own, his story keeps one interested and turning pages. His work exemplifies the English attitudes toward Catholicism and the Black Legend.
briandarvell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Quite different than most other "classics" that I've read. This story, while very slightly still showing it's age, could easily have been written for modern times. Except for the large side-story midway through, I enjoyed reading about the downfall of the Abbot Ambrosio. Quite a gothic read for sure!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really wanted to read this, very much so. However. It is hard to read lines sech as follows: ghhf #2 jbr pkn. The scan was so bad there weren't two paragraphs back to back that were readable. I know it was free, but so id smog, Sad sbout this because I Really wanted to read this so badly. My loss.
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Byrnie More than 1 year ago
I really loved this book. I was upset that it had to end. Maybe I will read it again someday. You should get it and read it.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sweet you are so lucky. I want to go see it. It comes out on the 23rd my birthday!!!!!!!!!