Matthew Gregory Lewis, 1775-1818

Biographical note

Novelist, son of Matthew Lewis, Deputy Secretary in the War Office, was educated at Westminster and Oxford. Thereafter he went to Germany. From his childhood tales of witchcraft and the supernatural had a powerful fascination for him, and in Germany he had ample opportunities for pursuing his favourite study, with the result that at the age of 20 he became the author of The Monk, a tale in which the supernatural and the horrible predominate to an unprecedented extent, and from which he is known as “Monk Lewis” The same characteristic appears in all his works, among which may be mentioned Tales of Terror [1779], Tales of Wonder (to which Sir W. Scott contributed), and Romantic Tales [1808]. Though affected and extravagant in his manners, Lewis was not wanting in kindly and generous feelings, and in fact an illness contracted on a voyage to the West Indies to inquire into and remedy some grievances of the slaves on his estates there was the cause of his death.

[From A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature by John W. Cousin, 1910]

Works

  • The Effusions of Sensibility (unfinished)
  • Tales of Terror (1779)
  • The Monk [1795]
  • Village Virtues: A Dramatic Satire(1796)
  • The Castle Spectre (1796)
  • The Minister: A Tragedy, in Five Acts (1797)
  • The East Indian: A Comedy in Five Acts (1800)
  • Tales of Wonder (1801)
  • Alfonso, King of Castile: A Tragedy in Five Acts (1801)
  • The Bravo of Venice (1805)
  • Adelgitha; or, The Fruit of a Single Error. A Tragedy in Five Acts (1806)
  • Romantic Tales (1808)
  • Journal of a West India Proprietor (1833)
  • The Life and Correspondence of M. G. Lewis (1839)
  • "My Uncle’s Garret Window"
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