Bram Stoker


Abraham (Bram) Stoker was born November 8, 1847 at 15 The
Crescent, Clontarf, North of Dublin, the third of seven children.
For the first 7 years of his life Stoker was bedridden with a
myriad of childhood diseases which afforded him much time to
reading. By the time he went to college, Stoker had somehow
overcome his childhood maladies and while at Trinity College,
Dublin, the honor student was involved in soccer and was a
marathon running champion. He was also involved in various
literary and dramatic activities, a precursor to his later
interests in the theater and his involvement with the rising
action Henry Irving, whose performance he had critiqued as a
student at Trinity. After graduation from college, and in his
father\'s footsteps, he became a civil servant, holding the
position of junior clerk in the Dublin Castle.

His literary career began as early as 1871 and in that year he
took up a post as the unpaid drama critic for the "Evening Mail,"
while at the same time writing short stories. His first literary
"success" came a year later when, in 1872, The London Society
published his short story "The Crystal Cup." As early as 1875
Stoker\'s unique brand of fiction had come to the forefront. In a
four part serial called the "Chain of Destiny," were themes that
would become Stoker\'s trademark: horror mixed with romance,
nightmares and curses. Stoker encountered Henry Irving again,
this time in the role of Hamlet, 10 years after Stoker\'s Trinity
days. Stoker, still very much the critic (and still holding his
civil service position), gave Irving\'s performance a favorable
review. Impressed with Stoker\'s review, Irving invited Stoker
back stage and the resultant friendship lasted until Irving\'s
death in 1905. The Stoker/Irving partnership solidified around
the year 1878. During this time Henry Irving had taken over his
own theater company called the London Lyceum, but he didn\'t like
the management, and therefore approached Stoker to handle
business, at which point Stoker gave up his government job and
became the acting manager of the theater. A short time after
Stoker began his new career, the publishing house of Sampson,
Lowe contacted him expressing interest in a collection of
Stoker\'s stories.

"Under the Sunset" was published in 1891 and was well received by
some of the critics, but others thought the book too terrifying
for children. Stoker was already fascinated with the notion of
the "boundaries of life and death" (Leatherdale, p.63) which made
this book too terrifying for children at least in some of the
reviewer\'s minds. By the time Stoker had received favorable
reviews for his romance novel "The Snake\'s Pass" (1890), he was
already making notes for a novel with a vampire theme, and by
1894 he was back to macabre themes. It seemed only a natural
consequence that "Dracula" would follow and was published in June
1897.

Reviews on "Dracula" were mixed, and the book never yielded much
money for Stoker. In a favorable review the "Daily Mail" compared
it with "Frankenstein" and Poe\'s "The Fall of the House of
Usher." "The Bookman" found it likeable in spots but commented
that the "descriptions were hideous and repulsive." (Leatherdale,
p.68)

For the next few years after "Dracula\'s" publication, events took
a downward spiral for both Irving and Stoker. There were troubles
with Irving\'s establishment and a fire destroyed part of the
theater (including some important scenery) and Irving eventually
sold it. Stoker did manage however to publish "The Jewel of the 7
Stars" in 1903, and it was a novel based on the information given
to Stoker by an Egyptologist. In 1905 Henry Irving died, leaving
the aging Stoker without a steady jot for the first time in his
life. A year after Irving\'s death Stoker wrote "Personal
Reminiscences of Henry Irving." Stoker managed to write other
novels after this point until the time of his death in 1912 at
the age of 64.