On May 26, 1897, a novel goes on sale in London that would become the quintessential gothic novel.  The writer, Irish born, Bram Stoker, the novel, Dracula.

bram-stoker-dracula-1

Although an invalid as a child, Bram Stoker grew up to become a football (soccer) star at Trinity College in Dublin Ireland.  After college he was in civil service at Dublin Castle for ten years.  While there, he wrote drama reviews for the Dublin Mail and became the manager for Sir Henry Irving where he remained for three decades.  He handled Sir Henry Irving’s correspondence and travel with him to the United States.  During this time, Stoker wrote horror stories for magazines and in 1890 published his first novel, The Snake’s Pass.

Bram Stoker

Bram Stoker

He would eventually publish 17 novels but it was his novel, Dracula, published in 1897 that would bring him fame.  Dracula is considered to be the masterpiece of Victorian-era Gothic Literature.  It is the story of a vampire that travels from Transylvania to England and preys on the innocent to get the blood he needs to live.

The story of vampires was nothing new; however Stoker’s novel, Dracula brought them into 20th century literature.  Stokers died in 1912 and in the 1920s, Dracula became a big success due to a Broadway adaptation.  In 1931 when there was a blockbuster film from Universal starring Bela Lugosi, Stoker’s novel was catapulted into high gear.

Bela Lugosi

Bela Lugosi

The vampire became the subject of numerous television shows, movies and literature and it all started with Dracula.

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4 responses

  1. Such is it popularity Maryann it was still being taught at my school as part of a gothic lit course…..

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  2. a gray says:

    Before Bela Lugosi, I am not sure there was a Dracula.

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  3. Birgit says:

    This book started it all. I am certain he had heard about Vlad Dracula (son of Dracul) better known as Vlad the Impaler. The great German silent film, Nosferatu, was astounding but they got into trouble with Bram Stoker’s widow, hense the change in the name and it took place in Bremen instead of London. Other than that a faithful retelling. Max Shrek as Nosferatu is still really creepy. Lugosi made the count sexy.

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  4. jazzfeathers says:

    I haven’t read the novel yet, but I’ve read other stories by Stoker, and I have to say, he was very good 🙂
    HIs stories are smooth and still they have great atmosphere, even where there isn’t a spculative element to them.

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