Matthew Lewis

Matthew  Lewis

Matthew Gregory Lewis (1775-1818) was an English novelist and dramatist who became known as Monk Lewis after the success of his Gothic novel The Monk, published in 1796. Lewis, along with Charles Robert Maturin and Mary Shelley, is usually categorized as a Gothic horror author. The Secrets of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe and Caleb Williams by William Godwin were undoubtedly influential on Lewis. In fact, Lewis wrote a letter to his mother a few months before starting to write The Monk in which he remarked that the villain Montoni from The Mysteries of Udolpho and himself had a striking likeness. Lewis' literary approach contrasted from Radcliffe's fascination with the supernatural and Godwin's narrative drive and emphasis in crime and punishment.

Unlike Radcliffe, who used the terror-Gothic genre to hint to imagined horrors, Lewis distinguished himself by revealing the details of the terrible events, garnering him the moniker of Gothic horror novelist. Lewis creates a more novelistic experience for the reader by providing actual details rather than the scared sensations prevalent in Radcliffe.