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Bram Stoker: Biography & Overview

Instructor: Debbie Notari
Bram Stoker was the creator and author of the famous novel ''Dracula,'' which has fueled the imaginations of people for generations. In this lesson, we will take a look at his life story.

Biography

Bram Stoker was Irish, born in Dublin on November 8th, 1847. His parents were humble people, very poor, and Stoker was sick during much of his childhood. While he was bedridden, Stoker's mother would tell him scary stories involving monsters such as vampires to keep him entertained.

Later, Stoker attended Trinity College, part of Dublin University, where he received a degree in math, although he dabbled in journalism. After he graduated, he moved to London and became the manager at the Lyceum Theatre, a job he was offered by his new friend and accomplished English actor, Sir Henry Irving. However, Stoker's family was not on board with this decision. The job was fun as it involved traveling with Irving around the world. However, it also involved a great deal of tedious letter writing on Irving's behalf.

Stoker continued to work for Irving for about 30 years until Irving died in 1905. Stoker died seven years later, on April 20th, 1912. The cause of his death is speculative; some say he died from exhaustion, and others say he passed from a stroke.

Bram Stoker
Bram Stoker

Famous Connections

It is interesting to note that Bram Stoker was friends with several now-famous people, some of whom he met through his theater connections. These included Oscar Wilde, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (author of Sherlock Holmes) and Walt Whitman, with whom he exchanged letters. Bram Stoker married Florence Balcombe in 1878, and they had one son, Noel, who was born in 1879. Florence had dated Oscar Wilde, as well. Some have speculated that their marriage was one more of convenience than love.

Stoker's Writing

Stoker was born at the end of the Romantic Era of art and literature, and he was fascinated with its Gothic elements; he had a love for the supernatural and dark, scary possibilities. The Romantic Era highly influenced Stoker's own writing. Some of his early works included The Chain of Destiny in 1875 and Under the Sunset in 1881. But he is most famous for Dracula, which he published in 1897. Dracula slowly became more and more popular, and it has been made into several movie versions that have both fascinated and horrified audiences for decades.

Dracula

Since Dracula is Stoker's most influential and popular book, let's briefly look at the plot. We know, of course, that it involves vampires. The main character is a lawyer named Jonathan Harker who travels to a country in Eastern Europe called Transylvania to work with Count Dracula on a business matter involving real estate. Everyone Harker meets along the way tells him to beware the castle, and they even give him crosses to protect him. This is scary for Harker, understandably, but he still proceeds.

Once he reaches the castle (after having his carriage attacked by a pack of wolves), Harker becomes imprisoned there by the count. Harker is almost bitten by three female vampires, but Count Dracula sends them off. Apparently, Harker is to be his victim.

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