Introduction by Stephen King
When The Monk first appeared in 1796, critics were shocked and outraged. That a Member of Parliament should publish a novel filled with blasphemy, rape, murder, incest, rotting corpses, and devil worship was unthinkable and unprecedented. But efforts to suppress the book failed, readers loved it, and it became a worldwide bestseller. Today it is regarded as one of the finest Gothic horror novels ever written.
M.G. Lewis’s novel — written when he was only nineteen — centers on Ambrosio, a monk renowned for his piety, who finds himself faced with temptation when his passions are aroused by Matilda, a beautiful girl who has entered the monastery disguised as a boy. But after he succumbs to her charms, Ambrosio’s lust for sensual gratification quickly becomes insatiable, and he begins a precipitous descent into depravity, indulging in sorcery, demonic rituals, rape, and murder as he seeks to sate his unquenchable desires. . . .