Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Saturday, February 23, 2019

BRAM STOKER



BRAM STOKER - Abraham "Bram" Stoker was born in 1847 to Abraham Stoker, a senior civil servant, near Dublin, Ireland. Bedridden and ill until he started school, he recovered and attended Trinity College, where he met Oscar Wilde. Stoker married Florence Balcombe, whose former suitor was Wilde. The notorious Wilde was initially upset, but later resumed a social and literary relationship with Stoker. Bram had one child, a son named Irving Noel Thornley Stoker, born in 1879. Stoker involved himself in London's high society and wrote theater reviews. He became assistant to actor Sir Henry Irving and business manager of the Lyceum Theatre, which Irving owned. He toured America with Irving, where he met President McKinley and Roosevelt, along with his literary idol Walt Whitman. Stoker wrote for The Daily Telegraph newspaper: The Crystal Cup, The Chain of Destiny, The Snake's Pass, The Lady of the Shroud and The Lair of the White Worm. Before Dracula, Stoker met Hungarian Ármin Vámbéry, who shared folklore/ myths of the Carpathian Mountains. On a visit to Whitby, England; Stoker became inspired to write Dracula, in 1897. Stoker began Dracula mere weeks after Oscar Wilde's conviction for homosexuality. He visited castles, crypts and the locales featured in Carmilla, written by Sheridan Le Fanu. He conducted research at The London Library but never traveled to Transylvania. An epistolary novel, Dracula is a collection of diary entries, telegrams, letters, ship's logs, and newspaper clippings, a style developed while working as a newspaper writer. Stoker corresponded with/ participated in long-term relationships with many important men over his lifetime. Walt Whitman, Henry Irving, Oscar Wilde and Hall Caine, to name a few. Reportedly, his marriage was sexless and he died of syphilis, just like Oscar Wilde. His letters, research and journals were released posthumously, filled with pledges to men as comrades, Grecian themes, and codes for homosexuality. Much of Dracula’s homoeroticism is said to derive from his own repressed/ thinly veiled sexual fantasies. Late in life, he demanded imprisonment of homosexual authors, in order to divert attention from himself, and to pay penitence for his own self-loathing. The monster in Wilde’s book The Portrait of Dorian Gray, literally a painting, is a self-portrait of the writer, so is the vampire depicted in Stoker’s Dracula. The vampire, a mincing monster in evening wear, creeps secretively in shadows, imprisoned by his own vices, feasting on young blood. Victorians were terrified of being outed, a source of the longing, captivity, coded language, and secrecy imbued in these writings. The specter of death was central to Stoker’s most famous character, yet his best book was relatively unknown in his lifetime. After several strokes, Stoker died in 1912. Florence published Dracula's Guest and Other Weird Stories in 1914. When FW Murnau released Nosferatu in 1922, starring Max Schreck as Count Orlok, Florence sued for copyright infringement and won. The court ordered all existing prints burned, but a single print survived which had already been distributed. Duplicated over the years, it took on its own life as a fan favorite. Universal Studios released the first authorized version in 1931, starring Bela Lugosi as Dracula. A pre-code production, staged with a similar extravagance as The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Phantom of the Opera. Dracula was forever cemented as an icon of popular culture, largely due to Universal and Lugosi. Vampire legends weren’t new, yet Dracula’s/ vampire fiction’s place in film, TV, radio, comics and novels never waned in popularity ever since. Lost until the 80s, the original 541-page manuscript of Dracula was found in Pennsylvania. Typed pages, with handwritten notations scribbled in the margins, with THE UN-DEAD on the title page, changed at the last minute to DRACULA. Who says there’s anything wrong with changing your mind at the last minute? 






18 comments:

  1. When we get stock in the classical (most readed) books of each author, we lose some precious reading possibilities. The drama in Bram Stoker life is new for me, and I agree with you, it can be recognized in this alter ego of drácula, the seductive and afected posture. Thank you!

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  2. I love reading from you as I always end up more inspired to read. I just finished a book(Girl, stop apologizing) and I am looking for one. Thanks

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  3. I studied Dracula when I did my undergraduate degree and I agree with you that it's a fascinating book. So much more than just a horror story. As you say, it says a lot about Victorian fears about sexuality and change. One of the great classics in my opinion.

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  4. The 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.

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  5. This was a very good read. I’m excited to see more.

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  6. This is very timely because I was just watching clips of Dracula last night. It's actually one of my favorite novels.

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  7. Woah, Bram Stoker was an interesting guy. Had no clue about Dracula author backstory. Going to put Dracula on my summer reading list.

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  8. I learned way more about Bram Stoker than I ever cared to know. How did he ever NOT go to Transylvania, LOL. And his imprisonment of those he was like himself. WOW!

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  9. Bram Stoker such a great author and I love reading thriller books like Dracula I would love to read this!

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  10. I love reading books a lot but never tried to read a book about the interesting story of Dracula. I will definitely add this on my reading list, thanks for sharing this story and letting me know Bram Stoker.

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  11. I LOVE Dracula! It's such an amazing story and Bram Stoker did such a great job. Thanks for sharing!

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  12. My mom has always been a fan of all things Dracula. Bram Stroker is her fave.

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  13. The books looks good to read. During my school days Hooror is of my favorite books to read. Nice I would love to find this book!

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  14. I have watched Dracula before but got the chance to read the book and it sounds like an interesting premise. I think I need to have a copy of this.

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  15. I’m always on the lookout for book to read. Dracula like an interesting one since I love reading horror. I’ll have to add it to my list!

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  16. This author gave me nightmares when I was a kid! Dracul was too traumatizing for a 12 year old haha.

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  17. I definitely had Dracula-related nightmares as a kid haha. I love reviewing books on my blog, but it would be cool to review something I read as a kid again as an adult

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  18. I haven't read any Dracula stories yet. I just watch it in movies. I think this book would be a very great read... Thanks for the recommendation...

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