The Monk: The Non-Spoilery Thoughts

the monk
I have to write up some thoughts on The Monk for RIP X. I wrote so many words about it already. I did five wrap up posts for the Monkalong.

The Beginning
The Saga of Raymond/Alphonso
Ambrosio is the Worst
Stupider and Stupider
The Final Monkening

Those posts spoil everything, so if you want to know all the crazy stuff that happens but don’t want to read the book, I got you.

The Monk by Matthew G Lewis is about a monk who does a lot of very bad, bad things. He’s not very good at doing the bad, bad things. There is also a Pregnant Nun and her lover trying to get together. Plus: a ghost nun, the devil, bandits, a magic mirror, a lustful baroness, lots of crazy women and grief stricken men. I read that Matthew G Lewis played with gender by making the men weak and the women strong. Interesting, but it was still a frustrating book at times.

Also heads up: there’s some rape in this story. It’s all couched in purple prose, but it’s there.

And so many poems and songs. So many.

This is one of the books that launched the gothic novel trend. Written in 1796 by 19 year old Lewis in ten weeks, it’s not great writing. All the stuff that makes a great gothic novel is there though. It’s bonkers!

If you do decide to read The Monk, I suggest reading it with a friend or two. You will want to talk about it with someone.

brain crying
This will be you, if you have no one to talk to about it. 
I listened to The Monk via Librivox. The volunteer narrator is James K White and he is sooooo gooooood. It seems like he had a great time reading it. I highly recommend going that route.

*graphic by Abigail Larson


  1. There's a single narrator from Librivox? That's so very rare and why I tend to avoid Librivox for audios. But I *adore* this book and I would love to download an audio version to re-listen at some point!

    1. Occasionally someone will narrate a whole book. Lady Audley's Secret is like that too. I don't like multiple narrators either, so I was happy to see this one had a single one. And he was really good too.

  2. This has been on my list for, like, ever. IT SOUNDS SO GOOD!

  3. That gif is nails what it would be like to not have anyone to talk to about this book. I had our readalong and I still sort of ran around like that.

  4. UGH THIS BOOK. I cannot believe how stupid this g.d. book was altogether, but in particular, you are correct: It contained a truly inexcusable number of songs and poems. Shut up Matthew Gregory Lewis.

  5. I read this book when I was in my late teens and really enjoyed it. I was in to Gothic literature at the time. Unfortunately, I was unable to read it with someone else.


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