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The Monk (Oxford World's Classics)

The Monk (Oxford World's Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Matthew Lewis , Emma McEvoy
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Product Description


'The Monk was so highly popular that it seemed to create an epoch in our literature.' Sir Walter Scott.

Product Description

`The Monk was so highly popular that it seemed to create an epoch in our literature', wrote Sir Walter Scott.

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.

Inspired by German horror romanticism and the work of Ann Radcliffe, Lewis produced his masterpiece at the age of nineteen. It contains many typical Gothic elements - seduction in a monastery, lustful monks, evil Abbesses, bandits and beautiful heroines. But, as the Introduction to this new edition shows, Lewis also played with convention, ranging from gruesome realism to social comedy, and even parodied the genre in which he was writing.
ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1643 KB
  • Print Length: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; Reissue edition (17 April 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006R4SB9A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #152,775 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Monk 13 April 2010
By Tom
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I stumbled across this book via Amazon's financially lethal `recommendations'. As a 27 year old bloke I was slightly seduced by the sordid plot description, but also by the fact that I like to read things that are slightly off beat but known of (if that makes sense); the Walter Scott "epoch in our literature" quote did a lot to secure my purchase.

The book is pitched as a gothic horror by some but it comes nowhere near the likes of Dracula and Frankenstein in terms of its requirements for the reader to dispel a grasp on reality. Whilst there are elements of the `supernatural' they do not dominate the book and prove more allegorical to the characters motivations and feelings than anything else.

The atmosphere of the book I found very `close', almost claustrophobic at times; it is primarily set in Madrid and unsurprisingly is predominantly focused around a monastery. There is a broad cast of characters but I did feel they were, at times, distant from the reader; Lewis does not foster the character development of many classic authors and this did lead me to feel slightly detached from their respective endings and the conclusion to the various plots. In this vain it does take a while for the book to get going (I started to get really involved after 260 pages), but in this time the characters (barring what I said above) do develop and do become enticingly intertwined, leading you through to an exciting conclusion. I think my main gripe was that I wasn't quite sure where the 260 pages went, I've felt more attached to characters in other books after a couple of pages: this could however be as a result of the age of the book and perhaps a feeling that the characterisations are now a little dated.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
I have just finished reading this book and it truly arrested my attention. This is not your typical love story. This is gothic at its greatest. One thing I loved about the book is that there are about 4 (if not more) different romantic plots within the book which at the end of the book is beautifully interwoven.There is Raymond and Agnes, Lorenzo and Antonia (Later with Virginia), The Monk and Matilda, then The Monk and Antonia. If you understand how to read and understand classics then this is definately a must read. The first chapter might be a little confusing and the poems were a little unnecessary but stick with it and I promise that you will not be disappointed. The monk proved how pride can just as well be a sin. This novel touches all areas like pride, lust, sexual obsession, murder, rape, incest, magic, sorcery, demons, adventures with dangers (i.e armed robbers) etc,. I love this novel and if you enjoy classics, then this should not be missing from your collection
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Gem of Horror 4 Feb 2009
I have read horror books, but there are too few that I consider outstanding. What is even worse is that modern horror tends to depict too much blood and gore with poor story telling.

That is why I started to search for classical horror. To my surprise this book really entertained me. What is more surprising is that this was first published in 1796.
A book that depicts murder, sex and pacts with the devil. With a sinister monastery as background and its dark atmosphere.

I'm very satisfied to have found and bought this book. I totally recommend it and I consider it a Classic Gem of Horror.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ghastly 12 Jan 2010
This book really transports the reader into the heart of darkness. The scenes of Agnes sufferings in the tomb are truly horrific and unforgettable. Were they to be portrayed accurately in a film version of the book, I think some people might be forced to leave the cinema. Great stuff.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent. 14 July 2009
a book often mocked but not read.
This book is surprisingly entertaining. It has so much going on. The little sub plots are awesome and the gore is neatly framed within a well constructed narrative.
I was sorry the book finished--and it's a finish and a half by the way.

surprisingly simple read for its time too.

Gothic and horror may sound similar but this is far more thoughtful than your average horror.

highly reccomended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Mathew Lewis was just 19 in 1796 when he wrote 'The Monk'. The speed at which he penned his story, around ten weeks, along with his youth and inexperience as a writer worked in his favour. He was a rebel and probably not the least bit afraid of the condemnation he received for what was considered 'blasphemy'.

Lewis reached into the heart of mainstream religion, superstition and morality and placed the Devil right in the centre of all that was considered right and proper. The Devil had one aim. He's out to corrupt the soul of a pious and respected man, Ambrosio, Abbot of the Capuchin monastery in Madrid. Ambrosio is well and truly set up and he's such an innocent. 'Lamb to the slaughter' is perhaps the most apt description but; his struggle for redemption in the face of dreadful sin is certainly poignant.

Everything we now expect from the Gothic genre is here; demons, devils, monks, monasteries, Inquisition, sexual overtones and masses of guilt and darkness. 'The Monk' is delivered in a series of short, sharp scenes and can seem quite random and disjointed but that's part of it's power. You're thrown into events with little idea of how you got there. Creates a great feeling of being unsettled and on edge.

If you're not used to 18th century literature you might struggle with the themes and the language but try to stay with it. So much of what we now soak up in the Gothic horror/ Gothic romance genre has it's roots here. Great morality tale and highly recommended.
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