Tuite’s Literary Criticism of Lewis’ The Monk
I would like to preface this by saying that one of the things I learned from this exercise is that, just because an article exists in published form, does not necessarily mean that it is a good article. This is the conclusion I reached after plowing, dictionary in hand, through two articles that were, respectively, ridiculously elementary after one hacked through the jargon, and entirely absurd and unsupported. Disheartened, I went searching again, and this time, came up with "Cloistered Closets: Enlightenment Pornography, The Confessional State, Homosexual Persecution and The Monk," by Clara Tuite, and it is this article that I am writing about.
Tuite's only fault in this article is perhaps that she tries to tackle too much. (Something else I'm discovering as I try to summarize it.) Essentially, she tries to prove the existence of visible homoerotic elements in The Monk, and their link to antiCatholicism. No small feat. She quotes Coleridge in his review of The Monk as saying, the novel blends "with an irreverent negligence, all that is most awfully true in religion with all that is most ridiculously absurd in superstition" (1). The reason this is problematic for Coleridge, according to Tuite, is that it reveals the inherent hypocrisy in the English Church, that is, that the Church condemns, with superstitious intensity, the rituals and superstitions of the Catholic Church. Coleridge fears, "Lewis' contamination of Protestantism by Catholicism" (2). Since at this time a great deal of the English State/Church depended on the assumption that Catholicism was low and wrong and Protestantism the ultimate right, the parallels drawn between Protestantism and Catholicism by Lewis were ...
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...Lewis attempts, through this, to disassociate homosexuality with Catholicism, thereby trying to make a Hated Other, at least hated only once over, not twice (9).
This, I thought, was an excellent article. Tuite has some very good points, which explained, at least partially, some of the questions I had as to Lewis' intentions with the homoerotic elements in the novel, which to my mind, he had included, but never really developed. Essentially, Tuite clarified for me why, though Ambrosio commits every other kind of sinful" excess, this is one he leaves untouched. And I think she proves a very valid argument.
Tuite, Clara. "Cloistered Closets: Enlightenment Pornography, The Confessional Sate, Homosexual Persecution anal The Monk." Romanticism On the Net 8 (November 1997): n. pag. Online. Internet. (4/5/98) http://users.ox.ac.uk/~scat0385/closet.html