Bram Stoker: 10 facts about Dracula author
By Martin Chilton, Digital Culture Editor
It was 100 years in april since Bram Stoker, the creator of Dracula, died and he is now the subject of a Google doodle. Here are 10 facts about the former Daily Telegraph journalist.
• Bram Stoker wrote 12 novels, including Dracula and The Jewel of Seven Stars, and also published collections of short stories. Dracula (1897) was originally titled The Undead. As Dracula says: “My revenge is just begun! I spread it over centuries, and time is on my side.” To date, more than 1000 novels and 200 films have been made about the vampire Dracula.
• Bram Stoker, who had been an occasional freelance contributor to The Daily Telegraph in the 1890s, began working regularly for the paper as part of the literary staff from 1905 until 1910 – during which time he also wrote theatre reviews for the paper. During this period, he was also working on The Lair of the White Worm.
• Born in Dublin, Stoker had an ancient, colourful lineage on his mother’s side – including the legendary sheriff of Galway, who hanged his own son. It was material the writer mined in his fiction.
• A key inspiration for Dracula was always said to have been Vlad the Impaler, the 15th-century Transylvanian-born prince also known as Vlad III Dracula of Wallachia. However, historian Fiona Fitzsimons says: “Stoker did not use overtly Irish references in Dracula, but his main theme is taken from Irish history – the history, we now learn, of his own family – recast in the writer’s imagination. Manus the Magnificent (Manus O’Donnell,who once ruled much of Ireland) was Stoker’s direct ancestor and was an influence on the book.”
• Stoker went to London as business manager to the great actor Henry Irving of the Lyceum Theatre, who mesmerised him on their first meeting with a spine-chilling recitation of Thomas Hood’s verse horror story The Dream of Eugene Aram.
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• He was a frequent visitor to the United States – and met Presidents William McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt. He also met one of his literary idols, Walt Whitman.
• Stoker had a lifelong interest in art, and was a founder of the Dublin Sketching Club in 1874.
• Stoker, born near Dublin on 8 November 1847, was a sickly child, mostly bed-ridden during his early years. During this time, his mother entertained him with stories and legends from Sligo, which included supernatural tales and accounts of death and disease.
• In 1878 Stoker married actress Florence Balcombe, they settled in London and together had a son named Irving Noel Thornley. During this time, he became friends with fellow Irishmen Oscar Wilde and William Butler Yeats, as well as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the famous Sherlock Holmes.
• There remains some controversy about what killed Bram Stoker on 20 April 1912. Stoker’s nephew Daniel Farson published a biography in 1975 in which he suggested that the death certificate stating one of the causes of death as ‘Locomotor Ataxy 6 months’ – a euphemistic way of avoiding public notice of citing the sexually transmitted disease syphilis. Stoker had previously suffered a series of strokes. Stoker’s cremated remains are located at Golders Green Crematorium in London.http://www.telegraph.co.uk
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