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Bram stoker

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.



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