Matthew Lewis, The Monk: A Romance

Stuart Sim (University of Sunderland)
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The Gothic novel is traditionally divided into two main branches, “terror” and ”horror”, and it is in the latter that The Monk is to be placed. It is one of the most extreme examples of horror Gothic, dealing as it does with such shocking topics as rape, matricide, and incest. In The Monk we see Gothic being taken to its limits – both in terms of subject matter and public acceptability. The storm of controversy the novel created on its publication in 1796 indicates that Lewis had gone well beyond the more sedate story-lines of his avowed inspiration, Anne Radcliffe, the major representative of terror Gothic. Where Radcliffe always provides a natural explanation for ostensibly supernatural phenomena, Lewis revels i…

1031 words

Citation: Sim, Stuart. "The Monk: A Romance". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 June 2002 [, accessed 31 March 2023.]

139 The Monk: A Romance 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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