'Graphic, almost pornographic tale of darkness and evil' Guardian
Matthew Lewis was born on 9 July 1775 in London. He was educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford. He later worked as an attache to the British Embassy in Holland and an MP. When he was nineteen years old he wrote The Monk, which was published in 1796 and became a huge popular success, leading to the author being nicknamed 'Monk Lewis'. Lewis also wrote plays, poetry, translations and a memoir. He died on 14 May 1818 on a voyage home from the estate he had inherited in Jamaica.
One of the most shocking Gothic novels * Independent *
What distinguishes The Monk from a whole raft of lesser imitations is the quality of the storytelling... judicious use of humour...great visual immediacy. Though predating the invention of cinema by a century, The Monk contains many scenes which are structured like a film script... a remarkable understanding of human psychology. The relationship between sex, violence, power and celebrity is explored in a way that strikes definite chords. Ambrosio is an intellectual with the charisma of a rock idol who has risen to the top by the suppression of his passions and, when they are released, they seethe with an intensity which burns off the page * Sunday Times *