by Matthew Lewis, TLC BOOKS Edited

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THE MONK....Gruesome, voluptuous, and occasionally tongue-in-cheek, The Monk is a masterpiece of its genre! Although not as famous as Dracula or Frankenstein, this is a must-read for any serious Gothic horror fan. 460 Pages in print!

It is surprising how shocking the novel is, considering when it was written. It has a very cynical - some would say "modern" - assessment of people. The Monk's main motivation is sex. Actually, sex is everywhere in the book. It is obvious that it was written by a twenty-year-old who could not, even for a moment, imagine a vow of celibacy. As the first novel of a boy barely out of his teens, Lewis pulls out all the stops as only a novice can - even bringing in the Devil himself, at the end, to dispence justice.

Set in the sinister monastery of the Capuchins in Madrid, The Monk is a violent tale of ambition, murder, and incest. The great struggle between maintaining monastic vows and fulfilling personal ambitions leads its main character, the monk Ambrosio, to temptation and the breaking of his vows, then to sexual obsession and rape, and finally to murder in order to conceal his guilt.

Plot summary:
The story concerns Ambrosio - a pious, well-respected monk in Spain - and his violent downfall. He is undone by carnal lust for his pupil, a woman disguised as a monk (Matilda), who tempts him to transgress, and, once satisfied by her, is overcome with desire for the innocent Antonia. Using magic spells, Matilda aids him in seducing Antonia, whom he later rapes and kills. Matilda is eventually revealed as an instrument of Satan in female form, who has orchestrated Ambrosio's downfall from the start. In the middle of telling this story Lewis frequently makes further digressions, which serve to heighten the Gothic atmosphere of the tale while doing little to move along the main plot. A lengthy story about a "Bleeding Nun" is told, and many incidental verses are introduced. A second romance, between Lorenzo and Antonia, also gives way to a tale of Lorenzo's sister being tortured by hypocritical nuns (as a result of a third romantic plot). Eventually, the story catches back up with Ambrosio, and in several pages of impassioned prose, Ambrosio is delivered into the hands of the Inquisition; he escapes by selling his soul to the devil for his deliverance from the death sentence which awaits him. The story ends with the devil preventing Ambrosio's attempted final repentance, and the sinful monk's prolonged torturous death. Ambrosio finds out by the devil that the woman that he had raped and killed, Antonia, was indeed his sister.

What distinguishes The Monk from a whole raft of lesser imitations is the quality of the storytelling ... There's always a danger of bathos in narratives where horror is piled on horror ... Lewis avoids that pitfall by judicious use of humour. He also writes with great visual immediacy. Lewis has a remarkable understanding of human psychology.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940012392534
Publisher: TLC BOOKS
Publication date: 01/04/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 950 KB

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THE MONK (A ROMANCE NOVEL) 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago