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The Monk: A Romance (Penguin Classics) by Lewis, Matthew (1998) Paperback Paperback
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This book is exceptional and its a fast read full of side stories and sub plots. I loved it. So far the best of this genre (not counting the classic classics: Drac, Frank).
The style was easy to read too not like you might expect. English was the authors first language so there was no sloppy translating.
I am currently reading Melmoth The Wanderer and it's good so far.
The gypsy? Why does the author have her who she is? She mocks those that are not who they are with gleeful joy, she sees the precipice of hell and dances near it to envoke the anger of demons and mock them, she tells people who they really are, but she is no demon, she asks for money openly and tells it like it is, she even warns people by her manner that to be near her is to unveil disguises, so beaware of the truth -- the truth can be funny, that is what separates comedians (a high art) from clowns.
Theodorious disguises himself out of love for his master his intentions are entirely different, his intentions are purely of the heart.
The book supports Rousseau's ideas and is in-line with Romantic thinking of the time that society should not place people in chains and perhaps supports Rousseau's statement (in one of the most controversial statements ever and is really the root of public education) gthat people must be forced to be free.hObviously the Monk has many candidates whose lives might be made happier under such a standard
A solid book, if it is taken in the right spirit. A literary momento mori in several places as well. It was also interesting that it was written by a nineteen year old. A definite advocation for the Romantic/Humanist Natural Man of Rousseau, Jefferson (he wrote a Bible with all the miracles taken out and the Declaration of Independence, by-the-way), Beethoven, Byron etc. A fine work of its genra and era. It is easy to see how personal these ideas must have been in Lewis' life and the the choices he was going to undertake, plus the particular situation of his mother and father's relationship as he was growing up.
Some see contradiction between this book and Lewis' stance against slavery. Slavery, in the Protestant world, was largely justified by religious superstition, Lewis' heroes are obviously not superstitious; so I see no contradiction. It must be remembered that Jefferson, Rousseau, Beethoven, Washington, Byron etc. had much more in common with Jerry Garcia than Jerry Fallwell.