A Short History of Bram Stoker

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Abraham Stoker (his friends called him Bram), was an Irish writer and novelist. He was born on November 8, 1847. He died on April 20, 1912. Bram Stoker came from a large, Protestant family. He was the third of seven children.

Bram was born with infirmity. He was bedridden, due to unknown causes, until he was seven years old. At that time he made a full recovery. He grew up healthy and was an athlete at Trinity College in Dublin. He graduated with honors in 1870 and received a degree in mathematics.

Despite his scientific studies, Bram enjoyed fiction. His early years of being bedridden resulted in endless hours of contemplation and fantasizing. As a young adult he was interested in the theater. After marrying Florence Balcombe, Bram and his new wife moved to London. Bram then became the acting and business manager of the Lyceum Theater.

Bram and Florence only had one child, Noel Thornley Stoker. Bram worked at the Lyceum Theater for 27 years. Bram’s wages weren’t enough to support him and his family. Bram began writing to supplement his income. Bram spent several years researching vampire folklore throughout Europe. He was fascinated with tales of vampires. He visited gothic sites such as the crypts of St. Michan’s Church in Dublin and Slains Castle in Aberdeenshire. These and other travels only fueled Bram’s interest in the morbid.

Bram went on to write several gothic, horror, and fantasy novels including The Jewel of Seven Stars (1903), The Lady of the Shroud (1909), and The Lair of the White Worm (1911). However, none would become as popular as his 1897 novel, Dracula. But Bram made a major mistake after publishing Dracula. He failed to follow copyright procedure and as a result, Dracula was in the public domain in the United States from its initial publication.

Dracula was largely unappreciated during it’s time. The novel would not see mainstream-success for several decades. In 1922 Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau filmed an unauthorized adaptation of Dracula titled Nosferatu. After the release of Nosferatu, the popularity of Bram’s novel Dracula increased significantly. Bram’s widow tried to have the film banned, but because Dracula was in the public domain her challenges to the film failed.

Bram Stoker died on April 20, 1912 at St. George’s Square. It is speculated that the cause of Bram’s death was due to tertiary syphilis. He suffered a number of strokes before passing away. Bram was cremated and his ashes placed in an urn that is now on display at Golders Green Crematorium. Visitors who wish to visit the urn must be escorted to the room the urn is housed in, due to fears of vandalism.

In 1914, two years after Bram’s death, his widow published the short story Dracula’s Guest. It is widely speculated that this work was the original first chapter of Stoker’s Dracula.

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