A masterpiece of gothic fiction, The Monk is a cautionary tale of madness, horror, lust and despair. Father Ambrosio, the most pious and venerated monk in all of Madrid, is held as a paragon of virtue. But after thirty years of study and prayer, evil thoughts begin to permeate his mind. As two plots cleverly converge, torture, murder, incest, rape, poison and magic prevail, sustained by an elegance in the writing of the nineteen-year-old Matthew Lewis. The book was banned upon its initial publication in 1796 but later caught the attention of Lord Byron and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, with Coleridge naming it ‘the offspring of no common genius’.