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Bram Stoker: Creator of the first vampire novel, ‘Dracula’

Introduction to Bram Stoker’s life

Bram Stoker

Bram Stoker was an Irish writer who was  best known as the author of the Gothic horror tale Dracula. Although he was an invalid in early childhood, Stoker outgrew his weakness to become an outstanding athlete and football (soccer) player at Trinity College in Dublin, where he earned a degree in mathematics.

After 10 years in the civil service at Dublin Castle, he met the actor Sir Henry Irving and, from 1878 until Irving’s death 27 years later, Stoker acted as his manager, writing as many as 50 letters a day for him and accompanying him on his American tours. Stoker turned to fiction late in life, he published his first novel, The Snake’s Pass, which was a romantic thriller. But his masterpiece, Dracula, was published in 1897.

The novel is written chiefly in the form of diaries and journals kept by the principal characters. The story is that of a Transylvanian vampire who, using supernatural powers, makes his way to England and there victimizes innocent people to gain the blood on which he survives. The novel became immensely popular and went on to be adapted into several versions of a play and into a film. Dracula is an epistolary novel written as a collection of realistic but completely fictional diary entries, telegrams, letters, ship’s logs, and newspaper clippings. An epistolary novel is one that is written in first person, in the from of letters (usually).

Two years after Stoker’s death, his widow, Florence Stoker, published as part of a posthumous collection of short stories Dracula’s Guest, which, most contemporary scholars believe, text editors had excised from the original Dracula manuscript. In 2009, Dacre Stoker, who is the great grandnephew of the author and Ian Holt produced Dracula: The Un-Dead, a sequel that is based on the novelist’s own notes and excisions from the original. Stoker wrote several other novels, such as The Mystery of the Sea (1902), The Jewel of Seven Stars (1903), and The Lady of the Shroud (1909). None of these novels gained the popularity that Dracula did.

After suffering a number of strokes, Bram Stoker died at No. 26 St George’s Square London on 20 April 1912 possibly because of tertiary syphillus, or overwork. He was cremated, and his ashes were placed in a display urn at Golden Greers Crematorium in north London.