‘Dracula’ is Stoker’s more well-regarded and influential work and even though his other books failed to reach the artistic heights of ‘Dracula’, many of them are good reads in their own right.
‘The Lady of the Shroud’
Stoker’s eleventh novel and told in an epistolary form, ‘The Lady of the Shroud‘ is an adventure story about the heroics of a young man who unexpectedly finds himself the heir of a massive fortune accessible only on the condition that he spends a year at a castle in a remote country. It was first published in the UK in 1909 by William Heinemann.
Our hero is Rupert and his love story with a mysterious lady (Teuta), as well as his heroics in helping the locals in the small Balkan country the castle is located in to fight off their more powerful neighbor- the Turks- drives the plot. Although introduced to us as a possible black sheep of the family, Rupert quickly grows to be a pretty much perfect character who proposes unconditional love to a woman he believes to be a vampire and helps in a dangerous war against the Turks.
At one point he is able to rescue his lover’s kidnapped father by lowering Teuta into the ruined castle her father was imprisoned in through a rope from an airplane and then single-handedly drawing them back up the silent plane in a manner reminiscent of modern Hollywood hero films.
The book is bogged down by its unreasonably extended length, and the early elimination of the mystery of the lady in Shroud turning out to be a mortal human being, rather than a vampire. Its apparent sexism is also a knock. But aside from all this, it is a simple story that one can enjoy.
‘Jewel of the Seven Stars’
The ‘Jewel of Seven Stars’ was written in 1903. After ‘Dracula’ it is one of Stoker’s most popular and acclaimed novels. The novel was written as interest in egyptology soared around Europe. It is about a young man, Malcolm, who is roped into participating in an experiment to bring back an ancient mummified Egyptian Queen, Tera, back to life. The leader of this project, the daring egyptologist, Trelawny, appears to have been attacked by some mysterious forces in his home, so his daughter, Margaret, solicits Malcolm’s help in protecting her father. Malcolm was devoted to her and was motivated by his desire to protect Margaret.
The mystery behind Trelawny’s attacks was revealed when a colleague of his arrives to tell of their adventures at Tera’s tomb. Trelawny himself comes to later on and declares his intentions to resurrect Tera by arranging some of the artifacts he brought from Tera’s tomb in a particular order. The experiment is done to disastrous consequences as it leaves everybody, save Malcolm, dead, with the resurrected spirit of Tera free and roaming England.
This ending was deemed too horrific and Stoker was forced to revise it in a later republication, allowing all the participants to survive this time. The book helped solidify Stoker’s reputation as a master of the Gothic horror genre in the early twentieth century. The book demonstrated Stoker’s deep knowledge of Egyptology and undeniable mastery of horror.
‘The Lair of the White Worm’
Also known as ‘The Garden of Evil‘, ‘The Lair of the White Worm’ is Bram Stoker’s twelfth and final novel and was published in 1911 by William Rider and Son, Limited. It is a horror story that features an evil woman, Arabella, who terrorizes the neighborhood by turning into a giant white worm.
The story is focused on Adam Salton, who relocates from Australia to England at the request of his only surviving relative, Richard Salton, who wants to make Adam heir of his estate. Adam’s arrival at Richard Salton’s house in Mercer would plunge him into the center of mysterious and inexplicable occurrences. The book was adapted into a British horror film in 1988 British which starred Hugh Grant and Amanda Donohoe.
‘Mystery Of The Sea’
Often described as a political thriller, the ‘Mystery of the Sea’, published in 1902, sees Stoker dabble into the politics of the Spanish-American war as well as the sixteenth-century war between England and Spain. A young man who was only seeking a nice, quiet vacation in Aberdeenshire is plagued by terrible visions and premonitions, signaling a tenuous possession of some kind of prophetic vision that aids him in his quest of finding a treasure sent passed over from the Spaniards during the English-Spanish war of the sixteenth century.
A love story with an American Heiress adds a tinge of romance, and the prevailing of the essentially Anglo-Saxon forces forming solidarity between English and American actors over Spanish kidnappers is symbolic of Stoker’s own political leanings. It uses thrilling events to explore themes like national identity and changing concepts of womanhood. ‘The Mystery of the Sea‘ was
published with very favorable reviews, although it has been heavily overshadowed by Dracula.
‘Dracula‘, published in 1897, is Bram Stoker’s most critically acclaimed, successful, and influential book. A classic of the Gothic horror genre, it is about a Vampire’s attempts to gain a foothold in England and terrorize its citizens. He attempts to do this by first luring a young English lawyer to his quaint castle in a remote part of Scandinavia with the objective of finalizing the acquisition of properties in England.
Dracula would pose a great invasive threat that reflects the typical Victorian Englishman’s anxieties about the ethnicities, nationalities, and tribes within the fringes of the British empire. Dracula’s defeat at the hands of Van Helsing and his associates not only marks the elimination of a present danger to the lives of regular Englishmen, but also the elimination of foreign threats, the possible sprouting of unfavorable sexual proclivities, the corruption of the Englishman, and other threats Dracula possesses.
This legitimately scary work is not the first about Vampires, but it is the most enduring within the public consciousness, inspiring numerous adaptations in film, drama, and a host of other mediums.
What is Bram Stoker’s first notable book?
Although he wrote a couple of minor fiction prior, Stoker’s non-fictional, The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland which was published in 1879 represents his first notable work.
What is Stoker’s most important work?
‘Dracula’ is Stoker’s most important and memorable work. It is the work that catapulted him to fame and led to the explosion of the vampire in fiction.
How well was ‘Dracula’ received upon publication?
Dracula was favorably received by critics of the time when it was first published. After a play based on the book was performed at the Lyceum, it became even more popular