Matthew Gregory Lewis (July 9, 1775-May 14, 1818), British novelist and playwright

At the tender age of 19, Lewis became an overnight success with the publication of his Gothic novel The Monk (1796), which earned him his lifelong nickname "Monk" Lewis. The novel, which he tossed off in only 10 weeks, was an extravagant tale of a murderous and lecherous monk which thrilled and titillated readers. Lewis was influenced by British novelist Ann Radcliffe and German Romantic authors, and would later serve as a small influence on Sir Walter Scott. Later, he would go on to pen other literary works and serve in Parliament, from 1796 to 1802.

Despite the overwrought nature of his work, Lewis himself was a highly sensitive soul, known to burst into tears when given a compliment. In 1812, he inherited a fortune which included properties and 500 slaves in Jamaica. Genuinely concerned about the conditions of those slaves, he made two voyages to the West Indies. On the second one, he contracted yellow fever and died at sea returning to England.

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