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The Monk 

The Monk

Written by: Matthew Gregory Lewis
Edited by: D.L. Macdonald & Kathleen Scherf

Series: Broadview Editions

Publication Date: January 01, 2003
479pp • Paperback / PDF / ePub
ISBN: 9781551112275 / 1551112272

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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.


"This is an essential edition. Its ample coverage of critical reception, cultural responses and historical context does full justice to the profound intertextuality of The Monk." - Angela Wright, University of Sheffield

"This is a superb edition of a still stunning novel. It's hard to imagine how the informative, witty introduction could be bettered, and the very helpful appendices will send readers in all the right directions." - Ian Balfour, York University, Toronto

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).

Table of Contents: [Back to Top]



Matthew Gregory Lewis: A Brief Chronology

A Note on the Text

The Monk

Appendix A: Literary Sources

     1. Richard  Steele, The Guardian, 31 August 1713

     2. Samuel Richardson, Clarissa, 1747-1748

          a. Lovelace's Dream

          b. Clarissa's Dream

     3. Johann Karl August Musäus, The Elopement

     4. Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart, The Eternal Jew

     5. Matthew Gregory  Lewis, Imitation of Anacreon

Appendix B: Historical Contexts

     1. The French Revolution

          a. Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France, 1790

          b. Matthew Gregory Lewis, France and England in 1793

          c. Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason, 1794-95

     2. Colonialism and Slavery

          a. Matthew Gregory Lewis, The Castle Spectre, 1797

          b. Matthew Gregory Lewis, Journal of a West India Proprietor, 1815-1818

     3. Georgian Homophobia

          a. The Trying and Pilloring of the Vere Street Club, 1810

Appendix C: Critical Reception

     1. [Mary Wollstonecraft?], Analytical Review, October 1796

     2. European Magazine, February 1797

     3. [Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Critical Review, February 1797

     4. An Apology for The Monk, Monthly Mirror, April 1797

     5. Matthew Gregory Lewis, letter to his father, 23 February 1798

     6. Matthew Gregory Lewis, Adelmorn, the Outlaw, 1801

     7. Le Décade philosophique, 9 May 1797

     8. Spectateur du nord, April-June 1798

     9. Marquis de Sade, Reflections on the Novel, 1800

     10. Ann Radcliffe, On the Supernatural in Poetry, 1826

Appendix D: Cultural Responses

     1. Charles Farley, Raymond and Agnes, 1797

     2. The Bleeding Nun, 1801

     3. Almagro & Claude; or, Monastic Murder, 1810

Appendix E: Variants

Works Cited and Recommended Reading

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The Monk

2003 • 479pp • Paperback • 9781551112275 / 1551112272

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Broadview Press acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund, and also acknowledges the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation. Freehand Books, an imprint of Broadview, acknowledges the support of the Canadian Council of the Arts.