The Monk

A Tale of Descent 

By Matthew Gregory Lewis
British, 1796 

Main Attractions

Matthew Gregory Lewis1. Love Story, very Gothic 
2. Black Magic, Devilish Beings 
3. Creepy settings
4. Descent of Glorious Holy Man
5. Scandalous in 1796s & Today
6. Poetic Details
7. Layers of Decadence
8. Angelic Lady
9. Cauldron Thickening Plot
10. Ambrosia means food of the gods.

Travel Advisory:

It’s written by Lewis when he was a teenager.  A bit of the writing reflects this.  The majority of the writing is rich in details.  Alas! The described events are not pretty!  They are downright despicable.  It’s often called a “Romance,” I think it’s infatuation with all things sinful.  Relishing in all the acts that humans can do which are banned to us. 


Matthew Gregory Lewis

Cuisine & Delicacies

Ranked as: Ghost Pepper BBQ Ribs
The lengths the characters go to obtain their desires are extreme!  It’s written so beautifully, that it seeps into you.  By the time the book is finished, you’ll be running into the forest to build a secluded cabin.

Destination Summary
“What is the Monk About?” A short talk that touches on the themes and subplots.

Video for “why should modern readers read The Monk?”  Insightful talk about what literature is and what we think it should do for us.  He talks about how The Monk challenges that.  

Off the Beaten Path

A short video about “How Controversial was The Monk after it was printed?”

A short video answer for “Is this the first novel to have a religious person as the villain?”  He says it’s the first novel to have the Inquisition as a central feature. It should be read with the historical context in mind.  The French Revolution and anger at Catholicism ties into the violence portrayed in the novel.

Packing List
✓ Candles and Blood-Red Wine
✓ Google for images of settings and references
✓ A documentary for History of the Inquisition

Recommended Books:
✓ Measure by Measure (1623) By Shakespeare - shares some themes
✓ The Italian (1797) By Ann Radcliffe - was inspired by the Monk to write this
 More books to come!  

Recommended Resources:
Movie Adaptation Directed by Dominik Moll 2011 France
Fantastic adaptation.  I don’t know why it has so many low ratings.  It captures the darkness of the book and stays fairly true to it.

Vincent Cassel