Bram Stoker is known to us for his creation of the immensely popular Dracula, but he also wrote plenty of other books and lived an interesting life.
Bram Stoker is known to us today as the author of the very influential ‘Dracula‘, but among his other less-heralded accomplishments is a glittering career as co-manager of the Lyceum theatre and a literary critic of some renown. Bram Stoker wrote seventeen other novels asides from ‘Dracula’, but it is to ‘Dracula‘ that he owes his enduring fame. The book was successful ever since the day it first came into print and is considered one of the most important and influential works of both the gothic and horror genres.
- Abraham (known as Bram throughout his life) Stoker was born on November 8, 1847, in Clontarf, a suburb of Dublin.
- Stoker became a drama critic for the Dublin Mail in 1871.
- Stoker started managing Henry Irving’s Lyceum Theatre in 1878
- Stoker published ‘Dracula’ in 1987
- Stoker published an autobiography of Henry Irving in 1906 titled ‘Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving’.
- Stoker excelled as an athlete in his youth, despite not walking till he was seven.
- Stoker wrote fan mails to Walt Whitman and was able to meet the poet on two separate occasions in the U.S.
- Stoker’s wife, Florence Balcombe ditched Oscar Wilde for Bram toker.
Famous Books by Bram Stoker
‘Dracula‘ is Stoker’s best-known novel. It was published in 1897 in epistolary form. It is composed of a series of letters and first-person narrations without employing a single protagonist. The novel opens with the plight of an English solicitor Jonathan Harker who is on a business trip to Count Dracula’s home in Transylvania. The story follows the Count’s attempts to hunt down Harker’s fiancee, Mina, who appears to be his long-lost love reincarnated, and a group of friends who make it their job to kill the Count before he can destroy the world as they know it.
‘The Lady of the Shroud‘ is Stoker’s eleventh novel and was published in 1909. In epistolary form, it tells the story of a young heir’s benevolence and bravery in saving defenseless people from their oppressive neighbors. It is a part mystery, a part-adventurous tale that involves Hollywood-style rescues and escapades, as well as some romance. It is not a book critics are particularly fond of.
‘Jewel of the Seven Stars‘ was written in 1907 and is Stoker’s most popular novel after Dracula. It features a passionate egyptologist’s attempt to bring a malevolent ancient Egyptian goddess back to life. The experiment ends so disastrously for all parties involved that Stoker was forced to revise the ending in a later edition.
‘The Lair of the White Worm‘ was published in 1911 by William Rider and Son. It is a horror novel about a malevolent giant worm who can turn into a woman and who wreaks havoc in the neighborhood. It follows an Australian man’s relocation to this neighborhood and his experiences with all its mysteries.
‘The Mystery of the Sea‘ published in 1902 is a political thriller that follows the adventures of a young man with a gift for premonitions as he hunts for treasures and falls in love with an American heiress during the context of a transgenerational Anglo-Saxon alliance against Spain.
Stoker published his first novel, ‘The Primrose Path’, in 1875. The next year he left Ireland for London where he met the actor Sir Henry Irving, who had become famous for his lead performance in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Irving had taken to Stoker after reading a number of favorable reviews of Irving’s works and performances by Stoker. Stoker soon began working at Irving’s Lyceum Theatre in 1878, which he found to be mismanaged and riddled with debts. He however oversaw a rise in the theatre’s popularity due to the popularity of Irving’s performances. Over time the Lyceum came to be regarded throughout Europe and America as one of the most successful theatres in London.
During this time Stoker got introduced into the literary circle of Oscar Wilde’s mother who wrote by the pen name ‘Speranza”. From there he would meet and strike up an enduring friendship with Oscar Wilde himself. Stoker would then fall in love with Wilde’s erstwhile lover, Florence Balcombe, winning her over and marrying her by December 4 1878. Around this period Stoker wrote ‘The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland’ (1879), based on his experiences as a civil servant. He also published a children’s book titled ‘Under the Sunset’ (1882). His third novel, ‘The Snake Pass‘, was published in 1890. From 1883 to 1904, Stoker and Irving would tour the United States, where they would stage some of the Lycium’s plays.
Stoker’s fortunes would plummet financially following after Henry Irving sprained his knee while performing Richard III at the Lyceum in 1898. His subsequent inability to fulfill other roles led to declining revenues for the theatre, which had to be closed for the season after piling up huge debts. Dracula’s publication in 1897 would come within a period of some financial difficulty for the Lyceum and Stoker himself. Early reviews of the novel swung between extreme praise to extreme contempt. However after the novel was dramatized at the Lyceum, its popularity was significantly boosted.
Stoker published other novels such as romances like ‘Miss Betty’ (1898), ‘The Man’ (1905), and ‘Lady Athlyne’ (1908). He also published other horror novels like ‘The Lady of the Shroud‘ (1909) and ‘The Jewel of Seven Stars’ (1903), the story of a resurrected Egyptian queen. ‘The Lair of the White Worm,’ his last novel, was published in 1911. After contracting Syphilis which he lived with for fifteen years, as well as gout and a kidney condition known as Bright’s disease, Stoker died on April 20, 1912.
More than anything else, Bram Stoker is remembered for writing ‘Dracula.’ By no means the first vampire novel, nor the most popular during Stoker’s lifetime, it has nevertheless established itself as by far the most influential vampire novel, creating a great and enduring cultural moment in the process. ‘Dracula’ massively popularized the vampire novel and introduced many of the tropes we have come to associate with the genre.
The character of Count Dracula has continued to surface in a number of vampire literature and media productions and has secured its place in the popular cultural lexicon. Notable film adaptations of Stoker’s novel include the silent film ‘Nosferatu’ (1922); the Universal Studios production ‘Dracula’ (1931), starring Bela Lugosi; a series of British films produced by Hammer Film Productions during the 1960s and 1970s, in which the title character was often portrayed by Christopher Lee; and ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula’ ( 1992), which was directed by Francis Ford Coppola.
Literature by Bram Stoker
Explore literature by Bram Stoker below, created by the team at Book Analysis.