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Bram Stoker

Bram Stoker Bram Stoker[2†]

Bram Stoker, born as Abraham Stoker on November 8, 1847, in Clontarf, County Dublin, Ireland, is best known as the author of the Gothic horror tale Dracula[1†][2†]. Due to illness, Stoker could not stand or walk until he was seven years old[1†]. He later became an outstanding athlete and football (soccer) player at Trinity College (1864–70) in Dublin, where he earned a degree in mathematics[1†].

Bram Stoker is an Irish writer renowned for his 1897 Gothic horror novel, Dracula[1†]. During his lifetime, he was better known as the personal assistant of actor Sir Henry Irving and business manager of the West End’s Lyceum Theatre, which Irving owned[2†]. His early years were marked by illness, rendering him unable to stand or walk until the age of seven[1†]. Despite this, he went on to excel as an athlete at Trinity College in Dublin, where he also earned a degree in mathematics[1†].

Early Years and Education

Bram Stoker was born on November 8, 1847, at 15 Marino Crescent, Clontarf in Dublin, Ireland[2†]. His parents were Abraham Stoker and Charlotte Mathilda Blake Thornley, who was raised in County Sligo[2†]. Stoker was the third of seven children[2†].

Due to an unknown illness, Stoker was bedridden and could not stand or walk until he was seven years old[1†][2†]. Of this time, Stoker wrote, "I was naturally thoughtful, and the leisure of long illness gave opportunity for many thoughts which were fruitful according to their kind in later years"[2†].

After his recovery, he grew up without further serious illnesses, even excelling as an athlete at Trinity College, Dublin, which he attended from 1864 to 1870[1†][2†]. He graduated with a BA in 1870, and paid to receive his MA in 1875[2†]. Though he later in life recalled graduating “with honours in mathematics”, this appears to have been a mistake[2†]. He was named University Athlete, participating in multiple sports, including playing rugby for Dublin University[2†]. He was auditor of the College Historical Society (the Hist) and president of the University Philosophical Society (he remains the only student in Trinity’s history to hold both positions), where his first paper was on Sensationalism in Fiction and Society[2†].

Career Development and Achievements

After graduating from Trinity College, Stoker followed in his father’s footsteps and worked as a civil servant at Dublin Castle for 10 years[2†][3†]. During this time, he also wrote literary and theatrical criticisms for the Dublin Evening Mail[2†][1†][2†]. His passion for the arts was evident in his writings[2†][3†].

Stoker’s career took a significant turn when he met his idol, actor Sir Henry Irving[1†][2†]. In 1878, he became Irving’s manager and would hold this position for the next 27 years until Irving’s death[1†][2†]. His role involved writing as many as 50 letters a day for Irving and accompanying him on his American tours[1†]. After Irving’s death, Stoker published Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving (1906), a biography of Irving that includes a great deal of biographical detail about Stoker himself[1†].

Stoker’s first book, The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland, a handbook in legal administration, was published in 1879[1†]. He turned to fiction later in life, publishing his first novel, The Snake’s Pass, a romantic thriller set in bleak western Ireland, in 1890[1†].

However, Stoker’s most notable work is the Gothic horror novel Dracula, published in 1897[2†][1†][2†]. The novel was written chiefly in the form of diaries and journals kept by the principal characters[1†]. The story is that of a Transylvanian vampire who, using supernatural powers, makes his way to England and there victimizes innocent people to gain the blood on which he survives[1†].

First Publication of His Main Works

Bram Stoker’s first published work was not a novel, but a handbook in legal administration titled “The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland”, which was published in 1879[1†][2†]. However, he is most renowned for his novels, particularly his Gothic horror works. Here are some of his main works:

Analysis and Evaluation

Bram Stoker’s works, particularly his novel Dracula, have had a profound impact on the genre of Gothic horror[6†][1†]. His novel Dracula is considered the most popular literary work derived from vampire legends and has become the basis for an entire genre of literature and film[6†][1†].

Stoker’s novel Dracula is written chiefly in the form of diaries and journals kept by the principal characters[6†][1†]. This unique narrative style adds a layer of realism to the supernatural events of the story, enhancing the horror and suspense[6†][1†].

The novel explores themes of sexuality, gender roles, and Victorian societal norms[7†]. The character of Count Dracula is seen as a symbol of repressed Victorian sexuality[7†]. The novel also reflects Victorian anxieties about “the other” and the erosion of traditional social and religious values[7†].

Stoker’s unique ideas, along with distinct literary qualities, won applause from his readers, critics, and other fellow writers[5†]. His works continue to be studied for their depth of meanings and their contribution to Gothic literature[5†].

Personal Life

Bram Stoker was married to Florence Balcombe in 1878[8†][9†]. Florence was the daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel James Balcombe[8†]. There has been much speculation about the Stokers’ family dynamic, some of which suggests that the marriage was loveless[9†]. The couple had a son, Irving Noel Thornley Stoker, born on December 31, 1879[8†].

Stoker died on April 20, 1912[8†]. The cause of his death has been a subject of speculation, with some suggesting it was due to tertiary syphilis and others attributing it to overwork[8†].

Conclusion and Legacy

Bram Stoker passed away on April 20, 1912[1†][2†][10†]. The cause of his death has been a subject of speculation, with some suggesting it was due to complications from a stroke, exhaustion, or syphilis[10†]. Financially, Stoker’s life could not be counted as a success. He had to request funds from the Royal Literary Fund in 1911, and his wife Florence spent the rest of her life struggling against infringements of the copyright of Dracula to preserve what meager royalties she obtained from it[1†][11†].

Despite the financial struggles, Stoker’s legacy has endured through his most famous work, Dracula, which has inspired the creation of numerous theatrical, literary, and film adaptations[10†]. His novel Dracula is considered one of the best-known works in English literature[1†][2†]. Stoker’s unique ideas, along with distinct literary qualities, won applause from his readers, critics, and other fellow writers[1†][12†]. His works continue to be studied for their depth of meanings and their contribution to Gothic literature[1†][12†].

Key Information

References and Citations:

  1. Britannica - Bram Stoker: Irish writer [website] - link
  2. Wikipedia (English) - Bram Stoker [website] - link
  3. Book Analysis - Bram Stoker [website] - link
  4. Goodreads - Book: The Complete Works of Bram Stoker by Bram Stoker [website] - link
  5. Literary Devices - Bram Stoker [website] - link
  6. Britannica - Dracula: novel by Stoker [website] - link
  7. UKEssays - A Cultural Analysis Of Bram Stokers Dracula English Literature Essay [website] - link
  8. SunSigns - Bram Stoker Biography, Life, Interesting Facts [website] - link
  9. The Victorian Web - Bram Stoker: A Brief Biography [website] - link
  10. Biography - Bram Stoker [website] - link
  11. Springer Link - Bram Stoker - Chapter: Conclusion [website] - link
  12. Cambridge University Press - Bram Stoker - Chapter: Conclusion [website] - link
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