This gothic story relates the tragic downfall of Ambrosio and his fall into sin. His life becomes a disaster when evil lures him into an incestuous relationship. The reality of the Catholic church in this era is also illustrated. When Lewis first published this novel it had passages that were so objectionable that a court order to stop the sale was enforced. Lewis then published a second edition without these passages. The second edition was still controversial.
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The Monk is the most sensational of Gothic novels. The main plot concerns Ambrosio, an abbot of irreproachable holiness, who is seduced by a woman (or perhaps a demon) disguised as a novice, and who goes on to sell his soul to the Devil. An extravagant blend of sex, death, politics, Satanism, and poetry, the work greatly appealed to the Marquis de Sade.
The Broadview edition includes a critical introduction and appendices of historical materials that address the novel’s literary sources (in English, German, and Greek literature), historical contexts (the French Revolution, slavery and abolition debates, sexuality), critical reception, and influence.About the Author:
The late D.L. Macdonald was a Professor of English at the University of Calgary. He was the author of Poor Polidori: A Critical Biography of the Author of “The Vampyre” (University of Toronto Press, 1991) and Monk Lewis: A Critical Biography (University of Toronto Press, 2000).
Kathleen Scherf is Dean of the Faculty of Communication and Culture at the University of Calgary. She is the editor of Collected Poems of Malcolm Lowry (University of British Columbia Press, 1992).
Together they are the editors of the Broadview editions of Mary Wollstonecraft’s The Vindications (1997) and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1999).
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