Top positive review
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Gothic horror at its best
on 9 March 2015
Written in 1795, "the Monk: A Romance" by Matthew Lewis is one of the great Gothic novels. Scandalous at the time of its first publication, the story is dark, disturbing and devilish yet highly entertaining. "The Monk" is for me Gothic at its best.
The story is about selling one's soul to the devil in order to satisfy earthly, temporary, uncontrollable desires. In this case it is a Spanish Capuchin monk who gets in the devil's crosshairs and is doomed as a result. As mentioned in some of the other excellent reviews, the story is in the same vein as "Faust" Faust - Masters of Cinema series [DVD] . Yet the absence of God and Redemption make "the Monk" in my opinion bleaker.
The language in the book is 18th century and requires getting used to. However, once this hurdle is taken, the prose gives an extra dimension to the authentic feel of the story. As a result one can enjoy sentences like "unassisted by Art, uncomforted by Friendship" and "he mingled his tears with hers" even more.
That dozens of people feel compelled to write positive reviews after more than 200 years, tells something of the impact Lewis' story still has on the modern day reader. I have been no exception and recommend "the Monk" to any Gothic and horror fan.