Abraham “Bram” Stoker was born in Clontarf, Dublin, Ireland on November 8th, 1847. His mother, Catherine Stoker (nee Thornley) came from Sligo Town.
After spending his early childhood bedridden by an unidentified illness, Stoker developed himself into an athlete in his adolescence, playing soccer and being named University Athlete at Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated with honours in Mathematics. Bram’s father, a civil servant himself, secured a place for his son at Dublin Castle. There Bram wrote his first work, Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland: Collected Works of Bram Stoker, but it was not published until 1879, after he was already famous.
He began publishing his stories in magazines regularly during his eight-year term at Dublin Castle: The Crystal Cup (1872), The Chain of Destiny (1875), The Spectre of Doom (1880). He also took un-paid positions as a theatre critic for Dublin’s Evening Mail and as editor of The Irish Echo. In 1878 Stoker accepted the job as business manager for Sir Henry Irving’s Lyceum Theatre. He left his civil service job, married Florence Balcombe (Stoker competed with Oscar Wilde for Florence‘s hand), and moved to London.
In 1882, Stoker published his first book, Under the Sunset and his first full-length novel, The Snake’s Pass followed in 1890. He began researching for his next novel during the same time period, and in 1897, the book, Dracula, was published.
“How blessed are some people, whose lives have no fears, no dreads, to whom sleep is a blessing that comes nightly, and brings nothing but sweet dreams.” (Dracula)
Dracula tells the story of a vampiric Count, pursued relentlessly by those who would see him destroyed. Written in diary format, the story begins with Jonathan Harker, a solicitor, being summoned to Dracula‘s palace in Transylvania under the guise of helping the Count secure property in London. While there, he learns Dracula‘s terrible secret, and Harker decides, with help from few other characters, to kill the Count. While Stoker‘s book has been made in to countless movies, including Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), few capture the original sinister nature of Stoker‘s novel.
Bram Stoker’s biographers, Harry Ludlam and Daniel Farson, both agreed that it was the stories re-told to a young Bram Stoker by his mother, which inspired him to write his famous gothic novel in later life.
In 1905, Sir Henry Irving died, and his death caused Stoker to have a stroke, but Stoker continued to write, publishing, among others, The Jewel of Seven Stars (1903), Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving (1906), and The Lair of the White Worm (1911). Stoker died on April 20th, 1912.