"Published when Matthew 'Monk' Lewis (1775-1818) was only twenty, this Gothic fiction combines sensationalism with an exploration of sexual desire and the abuse of power."--BOOK JACKET. "Savaged by critics for its blasphemy and obscenity, particularly since the author was a Member of Parliament, The Monk soon attracted thousands of readers keen to see if it lived up to its lurid reputation. With acute psychological insight, Lewis shows the diabolical decline of Ambrosio, a worthy Capuchin superior who is tempted by Matilda - a young girl who has entered his monastery disguised as a boy - and eventually succumbs to magic, murder, incest and torture. The novel was greatly admired by the Marquis de Sade, who saw it as a response to upheavals of the French Revolution, yet it also reveals something far more universal: the way powerful, violent, and erotic impulses lurking within us all can break through every barrier of social restraint."--BOOK JACKET.