Abraham “Bram” Stoker was born on 8 November 1847 and died 20 April 1912, known worldwide as an Irish author and creator of Dracula. Through his lifetime, he was better known as the personal assistant of actor Henry Irving and business manager of the Lyceum Theater in London, which Irving owned.
Stoker became interested in theater while he was a student. Very fast he became the theater critic for the Dublin Evening Mail, co-owned by the author of Gothic tales, Sheridan Le Fanu. In December 1876, he gave a favorable review of Henry Irving’s Hamlet at the Theater Royal in Dublin.
Stoker also wrote several stories, and “The Crystal Cup” was published by the London Society in 1872, followed by “The Chain of Destiny” in four parts in The Shamrock. In 1876 , Stoker wrote the non-fiction book The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland that was published in 1879. Moreover, he possessed an concern in art, and was a founder of the Dublin Sketching Club in 1879.
He gain more popularity after he published his novel “Dracula”. It looks like he was inspired to write this book after he visited the English coastal town of Whitby in 1890.
He began writing novels while he was manager of Henry Irving and secretary and director of London’s Lyceum Theatre, beginning with “The Snake’s Pass” in 1890 and “Dracula” in 1897.
Before writing “Dracula”, Stoker met Armin Vambery, a Hungarian writer and travelers. Public opinion says that Dracula likely emerged from Vambery’s dark stories of the Carpathian Mountains. Stoker then spent several years researching European folklore and mythological stories of vampires that helped him to describe some visions about those times.
Stoker’s original research notes for the novel are kept by the Rosenbach Museum and Library from Philadelphia. A facsimile edition of the notes was created by Elizabeth Miller and Robert Eighteen-Bisang in 1998.
Also is interesting to know that Stoker was raised as a Protestant in the Church of Ireland. He was a strong supporter of the Liberal Party and took a keen interest in Irish affairs. He believed in progress and he believed in science and science-based medicine. Some Stoker novels represent early examples of science fiction, such as “The Lady of the Shroud”.
After suffering a number of strokes, Stoker died on 20 April 1912. He was cremated, and his ashes were placed in a display urn at Golders Green Crematorium in north London. Many years after his death, he continued to live in his novels and in every heart which read and appreciated his writer work. In our days, Stoker’s stories are included in the categories of “horror fiction”, “romanticized Gothic” stories, and “melodrama”. The novels are classified close to other “works of popular fiction”, such as Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”.