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Dracula and The Historian

28 Sep

Dracula (1897), not only an incalculable influence on the world of supernatural fiction (and horror movies) but also one of the most famous of all literary characters, was the creation of Abraham (Bram) Stoker, who was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1847. As a child Stoker spent many hours listening to his mother’s grim tales of Irish folklore and real-life horrors. We therefore need look no further than his childhood to find the terrifying and haunting images which would later be the mark of much of Stoker’s literary output as an adult. Educated at Trinity College, Dublin (Ireland’s finest academic institution), Stoker in the end disappointed his father’s ambitions for him to become a lawyer and instead became the manager of the famous English actor, Sir Henry Irving. Stoker’s association with Irving brought him into contact with some of the finest writers of the day, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, George Bernard Shaw, Wilkie Collins and Walt Whitman, but for him the excitement of touring with an actor paled into comparison beside his true passion of writing. Strangely enough it was Irving, with his striking appearance and imposing presence that provided the template for the figure at the heart of Stoker’s life’s work: Count Dracula.

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