Thursday, April 25, 2013

March Readings

As one of the pillars on which the Gothic genre stands (the other being Anne Radcliffe's work). The Monk (1796) has been on my radar for some time. I didn't know what I expected but I didn't expect a page turner.

The American Psycho of its day, The Monk created an uproar because of its graphic (by the standard of those times) sex scenes and violence. Though I found the latter harder to read, I still think it's inferior to Melmoth the Wanderer (1820). There is a clear parallel between Melmoth and Monk - the monastic theme, particularly the chase through the subterranean passages under a monastery.

Though I read many disparaging reviews, I see The Monk for what it is - a huge leap forward for the whole Genre, and Lewis - a trailblazer. Albeit a deranged and sadistic one. No wonder De Sade praised him to the stars.

I guess I've been desensitised by Huysmans, David Madsen and such, but I found The Nun a bit underwhelming. I was, however, shocked to find that whole scenes in Melmoth were pretty much copied from this book. Well, Melmoth laid foundation for The Picture of Dorian Gray, so I guess this fact can be overlooked.

This book popped up during a lunchtime conversation at work one day. Actually, it was the movie that was mentioned first. I looked it up, watched the trailer than read a few extracts from the book. The next day I went ti the library and got the book. I put all other reading on hold and smashed through it in two sittings. Loved every moment of it. Little gems like that just brighten up my day.

I've never lived in sharehouses, but I crashed on a few brown couches all along the Southern shore so I can at least recognise most of the situations even if I can't directly relate to them.

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