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‘Graphic, almost pornographic tale of darkness and evil’ Guardian

Matthew Lewis's Gothic masterpiece, depicting a holy man slowly becoming entangled in a web of sin, The Monk is edited with an introduction by Christopher MacLachlan in Penguin Classics.
Savaged by critics for its blasphemy and obscenity, particularly since the author was a Member of Parliament, The Monk soon attracted thousands of readers keen to see if this Gothic novel lived up to its lurid reputation. With acute psychological insight, Lewis shows the diabolical decline of Ambrosio, a worthy superior of the Capuchins of Madrid who is tempted by Matilda, a young girl who has entered his monastery disguised as a boy. Descending into a hell of his own creation, Ambrosio is driven to magic and murder in an attempt to conceal his crimes from the Inquisition. The Monk was greatly admired by the Marquis de Sade, who saw it as a response to the upheavals of the French Revolution, yet it also reveals something more universal: the way violent and erotic impulses lurking within us all can break through every barrier of social restraint.
Matthew Gregory Lewis (1775-1818) was educated at Oxford after which he held a position in the British Embassy at The Hague. It was there in 1794, that he wrote the racy novel The Monk, under the influence of the early German romantics. Its controversial publication in 1796, due to Lewis' new status as MP, earned him fame and the book a great deal of popularity.
If you enjoyed The Monk, you might like Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto, also available in Penguin Classics.

Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780140436037

    December 1, 1998

    Penguin Classics

    416 pages

    RRP $19.99

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  • Paperback

    9780099519034

    November 2, 2009

    Vintage Classics

    560 pages

    RRP $19.99

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    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Dymocks
    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • The Monk
    Matthew Lewis

    EBook

    9780141974491

    August 22, 2012

    Penguin eBooks

    448 pages

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  • EBook

    9781409086345

    September 1, 2010

    Vintage Digital

    560 pages

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  • The Monk
    Matthew Lewis

    EBook

    9780141908038

    March 3, 2010

    Penguin eBooks

    456 pages

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