Matthew Gregory Lewis 1775–1818

  • Ian McGowan
Part of the St. Martin’s Anthologies of English Literature book series (AEL)


By the age of twenty-one, Lewis had attended Oxford, visited Weimar and met Goethe, been attached to Britain’s embassy in Holland, written The Monk (publ. 1796), and become an MP. He knew Scott and, later, Byron and Shelley. His dramas and other tales of terror were overshadowed by his most notorious essay in the ‘gothic’ novel, which he censored after attacks by Coleridge and others. The Monk relates the moral disintegration of a Spanish cleric, who in ignorance rapes his sister and murders her and his mother, and is finally destroyed in his pride by Lucifer.


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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Nature America Inc. 1989

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  • Ian McGowan

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