un uomo la cui vita è già una storia – Matthew Lewis

Matthew Gregory Lewis wrote his stories  in the early years of Romanticism, a period in which art and life were thought closely connected (= strettamente connesse). For this reason he was  happy to be identified with the protagonist of his most famous novel, The Monk, and to be called “Monk” Lewis. 
Lewis  was the son of a respectable man who had properties (= terreni) in Jamaica; his mother instead had an artistic temperament  and ran away with a music master. Mathew and his brothers lived with their father but Matthew never forgot his mother. When  he grew up (= da adulto) he visited and corresponded with her, acting sometimes as intermediary (= agendo da intermediario) between his parents. He studied in Oxford and while studying he visited Europe. In France he wrote for the theatre and in Germany he met Goethe and Wieland whose works influenced so much his way of writing.
He was divided into the duty (= dovere) his father taught him and the artistic vein (= vena) he had inherited from his mother. His father wanted him to become a diplomat, his mother encouraged him in his career as a writer. And in Holland, while on a diplomatic mission, Lewis started writing his masterpiece (= capolavoro), The Monk. His  literary successful future had began….
The novel was first published in 1795. Its reviews were favourable (= le recensioni furono favorevoli) and Lewis, obtained a seat as a Member of Parliament. His other works were not as successful  as the novel. He devoted his  energies (= dedicò le sue energie) to the theatre, producing original plays, adaptations and translations and exploiting (= sfruttando) the possibilities of new stage machinery and techniques.
Lewis remained a Member of Parliament until 1802,but  the death of his  father in 1812 ended his theatrical career.

Now, he was  a rich man, but with many responsabilities. In his estates (=possedimenti terrieri) in Jamaica worked about four hundred slaves: he  condemned the Slave Trade, approved of its abolition in Britain in 1807and instituted reforms aimed at (= che miravano) improving (= a migliorare) the lives of his slaves. Back in Europe he started travelling on the continent: He meet Lord Byron and Percy Shelley in Switzerland (where Mary Shelley was to write Frankenstein the following year) before going to Italy, returning to London in October 1817.
In November 1817, Lewis sailed (= salpò) again for Jamaica. He had already started keeping a  journal ( = diario) with valuable information about Jamaica. It was  published in 1834. There unfortunately he was infected by yellow fever, and on the journey back to London he died. He was  buried at sea and,  like the unfortunate hero of his most famous work, his body was taken by the waves (= fu trascinato dalle onde).