Bram Stoker

From Academic Kids

Abraham "Bram" Stoker (November 8, 1847April 20, 1912) was an Anglo-Irish writer, best remembered as the author of the influential horror novel Dracula.

Contents

Early life

He was born on November 8, 1847 at Clontarf in Ireland, a coastal village near Dublin. Until he was 8 years old, recurring illness insured that he could neither stand up nor walk on his own. This illness and helplessness was a traumatic experience which is noticeable in his literary work. Everlasting sleep and the resurrection from the dead, which are the central themes of his Dracula, were of great importance for him, because he was forced to spend much of his life in bed.

Not only his illness but also his convalescence were considered miracles by his doctors. After his recovery, he became a normal young man who even became an athlete and soccer-star at the University of Dublin, where he studied history, literature, mathematics and physics at Trinity College. He was also auditor of the College Historical Society. He became a civil servant, a work that couldn't satisfy him. So he started to work as a journalist and as a drama critic (The Evening Mail). His interest in theatre lead to a lifelong friendship with the actor Henry Irving.

Stoker married Oscar Wilde's former girlfriend Florence Balcombe in 1878 and moved with her to London where he became business manager of Irving's Lyceum Theatre, a post he held for 27 years. The collaboration with Irving was very important for Stoker. Through him he became involved in London's high society, where he met James McNeil Whistler and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In the course of Irving's tours he got the chance to travel around the world.

Novels

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Bram_Stoker_Plaque_Whitby_England.jpg
Bram Stoker Commemorative Plaque, Whitby, England (2002)

He supplemented his income by writing a large number of sensational novels, his most famous being the vampire tale Dracula which he published in 1897. Parts of it are set around the town of Whitby, where he was living at the time. Dracula is the basis of countless films and plays.

An interesting critical interpretation of the novel is Talia Schaffer's recent "Homoerotic History of Dracula." Schaffer's analysis is a fairly convincing attempt to "out" Bram Stoker, or to prove that he was a closeted homosexual using his fiction as an outlet for the frustrations of concealing his true sexuality. His marriage to Oscar Wilde’s former girlfriend is also a point of contention. Schaffer analyzes a wealth of detail suggesting that Stoker modeled Dracula closely on the events of Oscar Wilde's public scandal over his conviction for sodomy. Stoker's trauma over his friend and countryman's public humiliation provided the grist for the catharsis of writing the novel. (Talia Schaffer, "'A Wilde Desire Took Me'": The Homoerotic History of Dracula," ELH 61 (1994), 381-425)

His other novels include The Snake's Pass (1890), The Jewel of Seven Stars (1903), and The Lair of the White Worm (1911).


Bram Stoker died on April 20, 1912 in London and was interred at Golders Green Crematorium, London.

Works

Novels

Short Story Collections

  • Under the Sunset (1881)
    • Under the Sunset
    • The Rose Prince
    • The Invisible Giant
    • The Shadow Builder
    • How 7 Went Mad
    • Lies and Lilies
    • The Castle of the King
    • The Wondrous Child
  • Dracula's Guest (1914)
    • Dracula's Guest
    • The Judge's House
    • The Gipsy Prophecy
    • The Coming of Abel Behenna
    • The Burial of the Rats
    • A Dream of Red Hands
    • Crooken Sands
    • The Secret of the Growing Gold

Uncollected Stories

  • Bridal of Dead (alternative ending to The Jewel of Seven Stars)
  • Buried Treasures
  • The Chain of Destiny
  • The Crystal Cup
  • The Dualitists; or, The Death Doom of the Double Born
  • The Fate of Fenella
  • The Gombeen Man
  • In the Valley of the Shadow
  • The Man from Shorrox'
  • Midnight Tales
  • The Red Stockade
  • The Seer

Biography

  • Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving (Two Volumes) (1906)

Non-Fiction

  • The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland (1879)
  • A Glimpse of America (1886)
  • Famous Impostors (1910)

References

See also

Online texts

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