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The Monk; a romance   By: (1775-1818)

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The Monk; a Romance by M. G. Lewis is a captivating and unsettling tale that pushes the boundaries of moral and religious conventions, leaving readers both intrigued and disturbed.

Set in 16th-century Spain, the story revolves around Ambrosio, a highly respected monk known for his devoutness and unwavering faith. However, as the narrative unfolds, we witness Ambrosio's descent into darkness, driven by his overwhelming lust and temptation.

One of the notable strengths of this book is Lewis' ability to create vivid and atmospheric descriptions. From the somber halls of the monastery to the eerie streets of Madrid, the author's attention to detail transports readers into the gloomy and menacing world of the story. Through his eloquent prose, Lewis masterfully builds an apprehensive atmosphere that keeps readers on edge from start to finish.

The characters in The Monk are complex and morally ambiguous, making them both relatable and enigmatic. Ambrosio, in particular, undergoes a shocking transformation that challenges readers' preconceived notions of right and wrong. As we witness the unraveling of his character, we are forced to question our own understanding of the line between virtue and vice. This moral ambiguity adds depth to the story and prompts readers to reflect on the nature of human desires and the potential consequences of succumbing to them.

Apart from its exploration of moral dilemmas, the novel also delves into themes of power, corruption, and the hypocrisy of religious institutions. Through various subplots and interwoven narratives, Lewis critiques societal norms and exposes the flaws and vices of those in positions of authority. This social commentary adds an additional layer of complexity to the story, elevating it beyond a simple tale of lust and temptation.

However, while The Monk excels in creating a haunting and thought-provoking narrative, it is not without its flaws. Some readers may find the pacing to be uneven, with certain sections dragging on while others rush through pivotal moments. Additionally, the sheer volume of subplots and characters can at times feel overwhelming, making it difficult to fully connect with each individual thread.

Nevertheless, these minor shortcomings do not overshadow the overall impact of The Monk as a work of gothic literature. M. G. Lewis's ability to challenge societal norms, explore complex moral themes, and craft an unsettling atmosphere make this novel a haunting and unforgettable read. For those interested in delving into the dark side of human nature and exploring the boundaries of desire, The Monk is an essential addition to any literary collection.

First Page:





Somnia, terrores magicos, miracula, sagas, Nocturnos lemures, portentaque. Horat.

Dreams, magic terrors, spells of mighty power, Witches, and ghosts who rove at midnight hour.



Methinks, Oh! vain ill judging Book, I see thee cast a wishful look, Where reputations won and lost are In famous row called Paternoster. Incensed to find your precious olio Buried in unexplored port folio, You scorn the prudent lock and key, And pant well bound and gilt to see Your Volume in the window set Of Stockdale, Hookham, or Debrett.

Go then, and pass that dangerous bourn Whence never Book can back return: And when you find, condemned, despised, Neglected, blamed, and criticised, Abuse from All who read you fall, (If haply you be read at all Sorely will you your folly sigh at, And wish for me, and home, and quiet.

Assuming now a conjuror's office, I Thus on your future Fortune prophesy: Soon as your novelty is o'er, And you are young and new no more, In some dark dirty corner thrown, Mouldy with damps, with cobwebs strown, Your leaves shall be the Book worm's prey; Or sent to Chandler Shop away, ... Continue reading book >>

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