Bram Stoker via Wikimedia
CAIRO – 8 November 2017: Acclaimed Irish novelist Bram Stoker was born November 8, 1847. He is best known for creating Dracula and helping transform vampirism from folklore into a prominent backbone of horror.
Born Abraham Stoker in Dublin, Ireland, the author’s childhood was one of illness, unable to fully leave his bed until the age of seven, when he eventually recovered. During this time, his mother would read him horror stories from Irish lore, planting the seeds of his future literature.
As he grew up, Stoker eventually graduated from Dublin’s Trinity College and went to work at Dublin castle as a civil servant. Stoker’s ancestry from his mother’s side was filled with outrageous figures which he drew from inspiration for his horror stories, such as the Sheriff of Galway, who reportedly hung his own son.
While working for the Dublin castle, Stoker also worked in the press as a theatre review writer for the local newspaper, for which he was unpaid. However, it did bring him to the attention of Sir Henry Irving, who is believed to have been an inspiration for the appearance of Count Dracula. Another source attributed as inspiration is the real life case of Vlad the Impaler, a vicious tyrant from 15th century Transylvania.
Stoker would eventually go to work in London as Sir Irving’s manager at the Lyceum Theatre. In 1875 he would publish his first novel, “The Primrose Path,” and would continue publishing various novels while working as manager for the theatre. His stories and strong love of art attracted some attention. A year prior he had founded the Dublin Sketching Club. In 1882 his short story collection “Under the Sunset” achieved critical acclaim, helping establish Stoker as a capable writer. His second novel was 1890’s “The Snake's Pass,” which retold the legendary story of how Saint Patrick drove all snakes out of Ireland.
On May 26, 1897 he published “Dracula,” creating one of horror’s most famous characters.
Taking place in Victorian England, “Dracula” follows a traveler who, on a dark stormy night, finds himself in the castle of Count Dracula, a mysterious and charming man. The traveler soon learns however that there’s more than meets the eye with Dracula. While Stoker did not invent the concept of vampires or much of the traits associated with them, he is responsible for propelling them into public consciousness. Following in the wake of William Polidori’s 1819 story “The Vampyre”, which helped kick start vampire stories, Stoker created the world’s most famous vampire and indeed, horror icon, especially helped by the cinematic portrayals from actors such as
After the success of “Dracula,” Stoker unfortunately was never able to truly replicate its success, even though he continued writing and publishing. He died at the age of 64 on April 20, 1912 in London.