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9 Reviews
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely stunning, scary and beatifully written, 3 May 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Monk: A Romance (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
This book was the choice of one of the participants in a reading group I belong to. We did not know a lot about it, only what she told us she had heard on a radio book review program. I was hooked from the moment I started reading the book until I read the last page. The tragedy was so inevitable and it lay rumbling in the background throughout the book. The characters were so real and you could sympathise with every one of them, because Lewis portrays them so well. The language was beautiful and moving. The story was exciting and raunchy as well as touching and solemn. I recommend this book to all romantics and horror fans.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece!, 8 Jan 2000
This review is from: The Monk: A Romance (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
This book is flawless.The dialogue is vivid and absorbing, the story gripping and addictive and the ending apocalyptic. Beacause the dialogue is written in an 18th Century style, it can take a while to get used to, but sticking with it brings enormous rewards as the characters descend into murder, perversion and madness in a totally believable and realistic manner.The plot includes many clever twists and thought-provoking moments. It is impossible not to live the lives of the characters as the genius plot unfolds.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not To Be Missed, 30 Aug 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Monk: A Romance (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
A fantastic novel! 'The Monk' is a classic that captures the attention of the reader from the outset. Set in Spain in follows the torment of a Capuchin monk as he falls into a spiral of deceit and despair. It also follows the struggles of Lorenzo as he tries to save his sisters life from the vengence of her convent.
This is a riveting tale of intrigue, incest, murder and blasphey told in a wonderfully flowing style that is so easy to read that you can't put it down. The two separate story lines come together beautifully-it's the best book i've ever read!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable nonsense, 28 July 2010
This review is from: The Monk: A Romance (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
Mad and bad. Completely bonkers plot about very evil monk is put to bed nicely by tenacious story line and constant action.This is the line between literature and the ludicrous. What should have been a five-minute wonder back in 1796 is still a compelling if silly read today. It's not especially well written, the plot is unhinged and the characters fanciful but somehow this book makes itself likeable, readable and compelling.

The plot is almost too mad to be bothered with, Ambrosio is a Capuchin Superior delivered into the monastery as a mysterious orphan who has risen to be venerated by all Madrid as the perfect example of religious life, but he has fallen in love with Rosario a young novice who turns out to be a girl called Matilda. Meanwhile the drop dead gorgeous Antonia moves into town and is perused by Lorenzo, a cavalier, whose sister Agnes has sadly joined the nunnery of St Claire thinking that her titled lover the Marquis de las Cisternas (but known to her only as the humble Don Raymond) has abandoned her. If your head is already spinning then be grateful that I have spared you the details of the various sub plots that eventually sort of join together as Matilda draws Ambrosio down into a life of wickedness whilst Lorenzo and Don Raymond plan to rescue Agnes.

Virtue and vice lock horns with continuous revelations as to who is who and who done what to whom on almost every page. There are robbers, ghosts, loyal and disloyal servants, venomous and pure relatives and unlikely coincidences to last a lifetime but there is no doubt that Lewis has some talent for story telling and his broad knowledge of literature and hatred of Roman Catholics give dimension and bite to this Gothic story.

I did enjoy reading this as I expect most people would. Its breathless and fast paced with a wild plot but compelling and delightful at the same time - one for the holiday sun lounger.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The paradigm of a gothic novel, 9 Feb 2000
By A Customer
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This review is from: The Monk: A Romance (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
This is an enormously enjoyable book, exploring the corruption of a prioress in parallel with the temptation of an abbott, within the context of several gripping romantic plots and elements of the supernatural. The prose style is surprisingly accessible, and not at all turgid.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 5 Nov 2013
By 
Lisa Maynard "Mrs Kasani" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Such an excellent story and written in that doom-laden style of Dr Faustus in which you can see the end coming for the protagonist long before they can. However, it is very much a tale of true love and Raymond and Lorenzo are absolutely wonderful characters, who provide some great old-fashioned storytelling to lighten the pervading dark mood. Reading this novel from a feminist point of view is fascinating - there are some very strong female characters in this story and attempts for males to overcome them end badly...it's just a brilliant tale all round - frightening, full of fantastic imagery and is truly gripping. I highly recommend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Plain awesome, 22 Feb 2013
By 
Pius (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Monk: A Romance (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
Written by Matthew Lewis during a short period of ten short weeks when he was just nineteen, "The Monk" proved to be a controversial novel at the time that it was written. Faith, deception, loyalty, sorcery, murder, Satanism, incest, rape, ghosts, and the inquisition gave the novel the popularity it has retained until today. Even though its plot made the novel controversial when it was published in 1796 to the point where it as held to be blasphemous and resulted to censorship, Lewis nevertheless gained in popularity.

The story is basically about Ambrosio, who as an enfant was found at the doors of the abbey, stirring talks that he was a divine-sent child. He grew up to become an ostensibly pious and deeply revered Abbot of the Capuchin monastery in Madrid, a fit in holiness that aroused the resentment of the devil who decides to plot his fall. The devil plotted the fall through the working of a young female who disguised and became a novice under the tutelage of Ambrioso, the immaculate monk. Ambrioso's fall is plotted through out the later stages of the novel as his fight with the deep passions of his body, the machinations of the devil and his attempts at redemption. Anti-Catholic in nature, this Gothic classic is perhaps the best in its genre. I am certain the author enjoyed every moment while he was writing it because the story flowed all the way through to the end. Like Disciples of Fortune, The Monk is a recommended classic.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gothic is back!, 15 April 2012
This review is from: The Monk: A Romance (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
Or actually the title should be: Gothic has never left. I mean, The Monk, is probably the foundation stone in English Gothic literature that later would influence Byron, Shelley and so on. A great read.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Outrageous, 8 Jan 2001
By 
Mrs. K. A. Wheatley "katywheatley" (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Monk: A Romance (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
I always think Gothic Horror has something outrageously camp about it and this epitomises the genre for me. Ridiculous plot lines with moustache twirling heartless villains, sordid Nuns and despoiled virgins are only a few out the excesses that this novel tends to. Satanism, corruption and vice ooze from every page and it is a kind of horrific pantomime from start to finish. Very entertaining but don't expect to be frightened, you might be wildly amused though!
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The Monk: A Romance (Penguin Classics)
The Monk: A Romance (Penguin Classics) by Matthew Lewis (Paperback - 29 Oct 1998)
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