Methinks, Oh! vain ill-judging Book,. I see thee cast a wishful look,. Where reputations won and lost are. In famous row called Paternoster. Incensed to find your. Free site book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg. Book: The Monk: A Romance. Author: Matthew Lewis. Originally published in , The Monk's convoluted and scandalous plot has made it one of the most important Gothic novels of its time.
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Download The Monk free in PDF & EPUB format. Download M. G. Lewis's The Monk for your site, tablet, IPAD, PC or mobile. Download The Monk; A Romance free in PDF & EPUB format. Download M. G. Lewis's The Monk; A Romance for your site, tablet, IPAD, PC. The Monk A Romance. Matthew Lewis. This web edition published by [email protected] Adelaide. Last updated Wednesday, December 17, at To the best of .
Lewis aligns himself with the tradition of reformative verse satire by introducing the novel with an imitation of Horace, and he continues to mimic Horace's urbanity throughout the novel. He models his narrator's stance on Juvenal's. Though few readers would describe Lewis's tone of ridicule and disgust as "declamatory grandeur," he seems to be attempting just that, especially in scenes like the opening Cathedral scene.
As a satirist it is Lewis's responsibility to expose whatever he finds beneath any deceptive exterior. The most vicious discoveries are supposed to act as purgatives for his readers: harsh but salutary.
Lewis dissects the objects of his satire as if he were performing an autopsy of them, exposing layer after layer of corruption in a relentless process. The trajectory of satire, inwards and penetrating, is also that of the novel's narrative structure; Lewis penetrates forcibly into the Abbey, into Ambrosio, and Ambrosio forcibly penetrates the female body by raping Antonia in the novel's climactic scene.
Bakhtin, in his discussion of laughter, examines the way in which social interrogation can be viewed metaphorically as a dissection. Although Bakhtin primarily addresses comedy, his observations are equally applicable to the learned wit of satire. He treats the definitive characteristic of satire: it forcibly exposes an essential quality of an institution, class, etc. He describes this process as a metaphorical "dismemberment" of the object of ridicule, an image particularly apt for the Gothic novel, a subgenre in which metaphorical dismemberment becomes literally enacted: Everything that makes us laugh is close at hand, all comical creativity works in a zone of maximal proximity.
Laughter has the remarkable power of making an object come up close, of drawing it into a zone of crude contact where one can finger it familiarly on all sides, turn it upside down, inside out, peer at it from above and below, break open its external shell, look into its center, doubt it, take it apart, dismember it, lay it bare and expose it, examine it freely and experiment with it.
Laughter demolishes fear and piety before an object, before a world. Exposure contains potential both for the radical undermining and conservative reinforcement of social conventions: satire disrupts the social order by "dissecting" it and revealing its arbitrariness, but ultimately reinforces it by offering no natural or unarbitrary alternatives to convention.
Bakhtin's observations complicate Lewis's pretensions as a reformative satirist. The classical satirists and their neoclassical imitators claimed that their verses would shame readers out of deceit and folly, a stance hardly credible but long accepted by many readers.
The standard of virtue which satirists adhered to and which readers were supposed to imbibe is usually termed conservative, the political and social equivalent of the "middle way. Lewis, a novelist rather than a verse satirist, has difficulty evincing moral and intellectual superiority over his readers. His characters are fictitious, the setting ambiguous, and his style loose and episodic. Satire in his work, then, cannot function as it did in the work of the classical satirists he invokes.
The classical satirists and their neoclassical followers dissected social convention and political faction in a controlled manner which appeared to have a clear didactic purpose.
In Lewis's sprawling novel, however, when he dismembers the objects of his satire he finds nothing beneath each layer but another layer of corruption. The many layers of Lewis's novel, as discussed earlier, vary in their relevance to Ambrosio's temptation and fall.
The satire displayed during insignificant episodes is unrelated to any moral or political purpose Lewis might have claimed for his novel, and therefore most revealing of the role of satire in the novel as a whole. Two minor episodes are worth examining: the Baptiste episode and Theodore's adventure as a supposed beggar inside the convent walls.
In some instances, though a scene is pertinent to the central narrative, Lewis's attention to detail seems excessive.
Extraneous dialogue and excessive detail in an important scene constitute another sort of minor scene. For example, Lewis devotes several pages during the opening scene to the interaction between Leonella, the two "Cavaliers"— only one of whom is really important to the plot—and Antonia. After examining the role of satire in these minor scenes, I will consider two important scenes, Lorenzo's declaration to the crowd at the Festival of St.
Clare, and Ambrosio's rape of Antonia. The type of satire displayed in the minor scenes—a gleeful dismemberment with no clear didactic purpose—constitutes a model for the central narrative. I will begin my analysis where Lewis begins his novel, in the Cathedral where Antonia and Leonella join Madrid's most fashionable to await Ambrosio's sermon.
The auditors, as the narrator makes clear, do not attend Ambrosio's sermon out of piety. The narrator's tone is one of urbanity and worldliness, stripping the audience of its pretensions while offering no alternative vision of moral reform or sincere conviction: Do not encourage the idea that the Crowd was assembled either from motives of piety or thirst of information. Very few were influenced by those reasons; and in a city where superstition reigns with such despotic sway as in Madrid, to seek for true devotion would be a fruitless attempt.
One half of Madrid was brought thither by expecting to meet the other half. The only persons truly anxious to hear the Preacher were a few antiquated devotees, and half a dozen rival Orators, determined to find fault with and ridicule the discourse. Heedless of her tears, cries, and entreaties, he gradually made himself master of her person, and desisted not from his prey, till he had accomplished his crime and the dishonor of Antonia.
The Monk The text of The Monk celebrates the salacious rape of Antonia and implicates the reader in prurient fear and lust. The description is more reminiscent of a violent pornographic fantasy than of an escapist melodrama where good always triumphs.
Boaden alters this section of the plot substantially to coincide with his formulaic melodramatic happy ending: Antonia undergoes no tribulation and her romantic link to Lorenzo is rewarded. In the novel, both the villain Ambrosio and the villain Abbess are duly punished.
His torture at the hands of the Inquisition is so brutal that it is difficult to read even his vague reminiscences and his belief that he is beyond redemption is psychologically terrifying The Monk , , , Ambrosio is made even more sympathetic when he is tortured by Satan himself: impaled through the head, dropped from a dizzying height onto a rocky precipice, left to suffer in agony for days, and washed away by a river to eternal damnation The Monk Ambrosio is a romantic lover foiled by an inescapable seductress, and he experiences genuine guilt for condemning Agnes The Monk 72, 86, , , , An unredeemable villainy more conveniently fitted the melodramatic formula.
Perhaps the most chilling episode in the novel ascribes the greatest crime to the Abbess, although she escapes the extended torture visited upon Ambrosio with her more immediate, albeit still torturous, death The Monk In the novel, Agnes is rescued by Raymond but the baby is already dead The Monk , Boaden maintains the rescue by Raymond but includes the participation of both Aurelio and Miranda, allowing her to save the baby Boaden Aurelio and Miranda, Aurelio is made a hero and his torture and damnation are foregone.
The story fits well with the melodramatic structure required by the stage: a simple hero, his lover, and a villainess, in a unified romantic plotline. This section of the novel has little explicit material that would need to be censored from the stage.
In the character of Matilda, villainy proved a more complicated problem for Boaden to resolve. By modifying the demon Matilda into the heroine Miranda, Boaden eliminated a supernatural element, provided the melodramatic lovers with a happy ending, and respected the taboo against a female demon appearing on stage. Boaden was performed for the first time at this theatre on Saturday evening The plot, with most of the incidents, is taken from MR.
Boaden in taking such a work for his prototype, and becoming a secondary instrument in the office of polluting the public taste. The horrible events with which the original abounds, are in the present piece either omitted or very much softened down, its obscenity is considerably weakened, and its infernal machinery is entirely suppressed.
But much of its poison is retained However objectionable MR. In this he has completely failed. The offenders, such as they are, are made happy, a breach of the most sacred vows is encouraged, and the tale of seduction is told in a plausible and justifiable way.
The example is of a most pernicious tendency, for what is seen on the stage makes a deeper impression than what is read in the closet. The conclusion of the Piece, which is spiritless and destitute of all interest, excited a considerable degree of disapprobation, and it was with great difficulty that MR. Paradoxically, the more explicitly horrible version of the story could also be defended as the more moral.
Siddons during her last important scene, when she finds Agnes Mrs. The audience, it seems, could not resist making light of the production. Boaden was unable to create a plot that was satisfactory in its resolution of the catastrophe. In his Memoirs of Mrs Siddons, he reflects on this problem in adapting the novel: I therefore here notice, in the first place, a play of my own, called Aurelio and Miranda, produced on the 28th of December, It was remarkable for the utter failure of the fourth and fifth acts the three first being rather powerful in the interest.
With the experience of twenty years more, since the subject first struck me, I wonder how I could consent to the feeble arrangement of the plot, which is its vital defect. The passion of love to be treated in the dress of a monastic order is a frightful anomaly.
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Siddons, to appearance, was a young monk, passionately enamoured of the superior, Aurelio. The whole piece partook strongly indeed of the nature of the Spanish romantic drama, and was drawn from the impure source of the novel entitled The Monk, by Mr.
Boaden was further constrained by official censorship, and the public sensibility that supported such censorship. In concert with these restrictions was the larger structural restriction of needing a unified and linear narrative with a melodramatic happy ending for the lovers.
Boaden simplified and accelerated the first part of the original narrative, and abruptly truncated it after this first section of the novel, replacing the other two sections with a formulaic and contrived happy ending. In response he ceased writing for twenty years and never again attempted a play Cohan xliii-xliv.
Even though official theatre censorship in London was not as stringent as in such other places as Paris, the notion that London enjoyed dramatic freedom is not accurate. Playwrights in London experienced far more freedom, but only by comparison, and it seems only on an official level. The late eighteenth century call for melodramatic convention, and social standards of propriety in London at the time, created an unofficial and uncompromising set of parameters that had to be satisfied, and provide a specific environment in which to examine the difficulties of adapting prose fiction for the stage.
In her Memoirs of Mrs Crouch, M. Colman was of great service to me. Cambro-Britons played twelve times at the Haymarket in and was revived the following two years Cohan xxvii. Fortunately for historians and posterity, Larpent performed the strange service of relocating all of the original manuscripts including censor notes to his home.
The collection contained every manuscript kept on file. From that point of departure they have come down to us intact and are currently housed at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. Lewis had become remorseful: his father was embarrassed, S.
Coleridge attacked him, and T. Matthias attempted to have him face trial Lewis, The Monk Evidence for the demographics of newspaper readerships is more ephemeral. The article also states that the play was met with general approbation. It seems both Boaden and the viewing public had a penchant for the Fontainville spectre. Passages in Life of Kemble demonstrate the terrifying effect the Fontainville Forest ghost had on the audience that would certainly have been served by the ghost in The Monk.
Works Cited Backscheider, Paula R. Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Dramatists. Detroit MI: Gale Research, Bayer-Berenbaum, Linda. Boaden, James.
The Monk: A Romance
Aurelio and Miranda Larpent Collection. The Life of Mrs Jordan. London: Bell, Memoirs of Mrs Siddons. London: H. Colburn, Memoirs of the Life of John Philip Kemble.
Boaden, James, and Steven Cohan. The Plays of James Boaden.
Eighteenth-century English Drama. New York: Garland, Boaden, James and John Litchfield. Philadelphia: James Humphreys, Booth, Michael R.
English Melodrama. Jenkins, New York: Oxford UP, Brockett, Oscar G. History of the Theatre.
The Monk: A Romance by M. G. Lewis
She had thrown up her veil in order to take a clearer look round the Cathedral. Her hair was red, and She squinted. The Cavaliers turned round, and renewed their conversation.
The Cavaliers again broke off their discourse, but for this time they were not contented with looking up: Both started involuntarily from their seats, and turned themselves towards the Speaker. The voice came from a female, the delicacy and elegance of whose figure inspired the Youths with the most lively curiosity to view the face to which it belonged.
This satisfaction was denied them. Her features were hidden by a thick veil; But struggling through the crowd had deranged it sufficiently to discover a neck which for symmetry and beauty might have vied with the Medicean Venus. It was of the most dazzling whiteness, and received additional charms from being shaded by the tresses of her long fair hair, which descended in ringlets to her waist.
Her figure was rather below than above the middle size: It was light and airy as that of an Hamadryad. Her bosom was carefully veiled. Her dress was white; it was fastened by a blue sash, and just permitted to peep out from under it a little foot of the most delicate proportions. A chaplet of large grains hung upon her arm, and her face was covered with a veil of thick black gauze. Such was the female, to whom the youngest of the Cavaliers now offered his seat, while the other thought it necessary to pay the same attention to her companion.
The old Lady with many expressions of gratitude, but without much difficulty, accepted the offer, and seated herself: The young one followed her example, but made no other compliment than a simple and graceful reverence.
Download Links for 'The Monk: A Romance': Categories All ebooks.Categories All ebooks. Do not encourage the idea that the Crowd was assembled either from motives of piety or thirst of information. Lewis aligns himself with the tradition of reformative verse satire by introducing the novel with an imitation of Horace, and he continues to mimic Horace's urbanity throughout the novel. In Lewis's sprawling novel, however, when he dismembers the objects of his satire he finds nothing beneath each layer but another layer of corruption.
Brockett, Oscar G.
The struggle between maintaining monastic vows and fulfilling personal ambitions tempts its main character into breaking his vows. Both were young, and richly habited.
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