The Monk (Oxford World's Classics Hardcovers)

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9780195151367: The Monk (Oxford World's Classics Hardcovers)

One of the most extravagantly dark works of Gothic fiction ever written in English, admired by the likes of Lord Byron and the Marquis de Sade, The Monk drew a firestorm of criticism when it was published in 1796. Contemporaries condemned it as "lewd," "libidinous and impious." "Lust, murder, incest, and every atrocity that can disgrace human nature," one critic cried, "brought together, without the apology of probability, or even possibility." Of course, it was an immediate best seller.
Written by Matthew Lewis at the tender age of nineteen, The Monk tells of the violent downfall of the monk Ambrosio. Idolized by all Madrid for his spotless character, the proud Ambrosio is privately tormented with lust for Matilda and, once sated, with overpowering desire for the pure and innocent Antonia, whom he rapes and murders in the crypt of Saint Clare. Sentenced to death by the Inquisition, he sells his soul to the devil, with unusually bad results. But the plot is only part of the book's appeal. The Monk is a bubbling cauldron of Horror characters and motifs. Ghosts, murderous banditti, the Wandering Jew, a gypsy fortune teller, the Bleeding Nun, the Grand Inquisitor, and Satan himself all have roles in the drama. Characters are buried alive, tortured, tempted by demons, and torn apart by riotous mobs, in settings that include castles, monasteries, and dungeons.
Stephen King, in his introduction to this edition, calls The Monk "a black engine of sex and the supernatural that changed the genre--and the novel itself--forever." Everyone who loves the novels of King will find this book irresistible.

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From the Inside Flap:

When Matthew Lewis's "The Monk was published in 1796, readers were shocked by this gripping and horrific novel. Lewis's story, which drove the House of Commons--of which he was a member--to deem him licentious and perverse, follows the abbot Ambrosio as he is tempted into a world of incest, murder, and torture by a young girl who has concealed herself in his monastery disguised as a boy. As Ambrosio spirals into hell, the reader encounters an array of haunting characters: the innocent virgin, the Bleeding Nun, the Wandering Jew, an evil prioress, and Lucifer himself.
This Modern Library Paperback Classic, set from the unexpurgated first edition of 1796, brings to a new generation of readers a timeless classic of gothic fiction that has influenced writers from Byron and Emily Bronte to Poe and Hawthorne.

From the Back Cover:

The Monk shocked and titillated readers with its graphic portrayal of lust, sin, and violence when it was first published, in 1796.

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Matthew Lewis, Stephen King (Introduction)
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