Bram Stoker

Black and White Image of Dracula

Stoker was born on 8th November 1847 in Clontarf, the northside of Dublin, Ireland. His parents were Abraham Stoker (1799–1876), from Dublin, and Charlotte Mathilda Blake Thornley (1818–1901), from Ballyshannon, County Donegal. As a child, Bram endured a sickly childhood and didn't walk until he was seven years of age. However, his recovery was full and he went on to win sporting medals while studying for a degree in Trinity College. He graduated with honours as a B.A. in Mathematics.

During his time at Trinity he was auditor of the College Historical Society ('the Hist') and president of the University Philosophical Society, where his first paper was on "Sensationalism in Fiction and Society". Following graduation Bram followed his father's footsteps taking up work with the old Imperial Civil Service at Dublin Castle. Drama was however, always going to be his passion. He had become interested in theatre as a student, becoming the theatre critic for the Dublin Evening Mail. Furthermore, he possessed an interest in art, and was a founder of the Dublin Sketching Club. 

In 1878 Stoker married Florence Balcombe, daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel James Balcombe. The couple moved to London, where Bram became acting manager and then business manager of the Lyceum Theatre, London, owned by english stage actor Henry Irving, a post he held for 27 years. On 31st December 1879, Bram and Florence's only child was born, a son whom they christened Irving Noel Thornley Stoker. While manager for Irving and secretary and director of London's Lyceum Theatre Bram began writing novels, beginning with The Snake's Pass in 1890 and Dracula in 1897. During this period, Stoker was also part of the literary staff of the The Daily Telegraph in London, and wrote other fiction, including the horror novels The Lady of the Shroud (1909) and The Lair of the White Worm (1911).

Before writing Dracula, Bram met Ármin Vámbéry, a Hungarian writer and traveler. Literary historians argue that Dracula most likely emerged from Vámbéry's dark stories of the Carpathian mountains. Bram then spent several years researching European folklore and mythological stories of vampires. Dracula is an epistolary novel, written as a collection of realistic, but completely fictional, diary entries, telegrams, letters, ship's logs, and newspaper clippings, all of which added a level of detailed realism to his story, a skill he developed as a newspaper writer. According to literary historians Nina Auerbach and David Skal in the Norton Critical Edition, the novel has become more significant for modern readers than it was for contemporary Victorian readers, most of whom enjoyed it just as a good adventure story; only reaching its iconic legendary classic status later in the 20th century when the movie versions appeared.

After suffering a number of strokes, Stoker died on 20th April 1912.