Lewis, Matthew Gregory


Lewis, Matthew Gregory

biographical name

(born July 9, 1775, London, Eng.—died May 4, 1818, at sea) English novelist and dramatist. The sensational success of his gothic novel The Monk (1796) earned him the nickname “Monk” Lewis. Its horror, violence, and eroticism brought it a wide readership, though it was universally condemned. Lewis also wrote a popular music drama in the same vein, The Castle Spectre (1798). After inheriting a large fortune in Jamaica in 1812, he sailed twice to the island to inquire about the treatment of slaves on his estates there, and he died at sea. Journal of a West India Proprietor (1834) attests to his humane and liberal attitudes.

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