Autodidact: self-taught


The Monk Covers

by V. L. Craven

A great book for October is Matthew Lewis The Monk . It’s attributed with being the first Gothic novel, and it’s a classic in its own right. It has the best ending of any book I’ve yet read.

It was written in 1796, before the author was twenty and over the course of ten weeks. It’s about a man who was found on the steps of a monastery and is thought to be the most virtuous person–completely virtuous in every way–and the story is about his downfall. No one has ever fallen so far. This one is fantastic for fans of Titus Andronicus because there’s rape, incest, murder, sacrifice. Unlike Titus Andronicus, there’s no cannibalism (bummer, I know), but there is a Faustian deal that ends… If you want the ultimate plot spoiler, check the Wikipedia article . I’m just going to say that I have a very dark, cynical sense of humour and the end made me laugh and clap my hands with glee.

Now, this is the cover of the copy I read:

However, when I was looking for that cover, I discovered that several other covers were wonderful. And some…not so much.

This is the image used on the updated Penguin Classics version:

This is the cover of the Broadview Press Edition:

It’s all right. Gloomy and stark, which works.

This one is Vintage Classics:

I’m not usually a huge fan of a lot of red on book covers, but this one is evocative.

Then, the Most Boring Cover for a Rip-Roaring Book goes to…

Oxford World Classics, I would have expected more of you.

I’m going to finish this post with the covers most likely to turn on the people who’d love it most, but turn off the literary types (who would also love it).

The monk on this cover would appear to be a woman…possibly wearing nothing beneath her robe, which is not a super accurate representation of the book…

I don’t remember the character in this next one… Though it could possibly show up in the last few pages. I hope no one’s reading this for the red-eyed scary thing…

This one… I don’t even know… They took a great font and title piece and put… things on it.

And for the vintage, available at the grocery store feel:

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