Bram Stoker

Bram Stoker Biography.com

Author(1847–1912)
Irish writer Bram Stoker is best known for authoring the classic horror novel Dracula (1897).

Synopsis

Born in Dublin, Ireland, on November 8, 1847, Bram Stoker published his first literary work, The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland, a handbook in legal administration, in 1879. Turning to fiction later in life, Stoker published his masterpiece, Dracula, in 1897. Deemed a classic horror novel not long after its release, Dracula has continued to garner acclaim for more than a century, inspiring the creation of hundreds of film, theatrical and literary adaptations. In addition to Dracula, Stoker published more than a dozen novels before his death in 1912.

Early Life

Bram Stoker was born Abraham Stoker on November 8, 1847, in Dublin, Ireland, to father Abraham Stoker and mother Charlotte Matilda Blake Thornley Stoker. He was one of seven children.

In 1864, Stoker enrolled at the University of Dublin—founded by Queen Elizabeth I in 1592—where he attended the university's sole constituency, Trinity College. He graduated with honors from Trinity College in 1870, earning a mathematics degree. Not long after, he was hired as a civil servant at Dublin Castle, home to British royals in Ireland from the early 1800s to the early 1920s. (Stoker's father had also worked as a civil servant at the castle, and helped his son land a position there.)

While working at the castle, Stoker began juggling another role: In the evenings, he worked as an unpaid writer for a local newspaper, the Dublin Evening Mail (later the Evening Mail), penning reviews of various theatrical productions in the City of Dublin.

Lyceum Theatre

After nearly 10 years in civil service, Stoker left his position at Dublin Castle. Around that same time, Stoker established a friendship and working relationship that would soon prove to be an pivotal step for his career, inspiring his literary prowess and, ultimately, his most acclaimed work. Stoker was introduced to famed English actor Sir Henry Irving after reviewing a production of the Shakespearean play Hamlet, in which Irving was cast. The two quickly became friends, and in the late 1870s, Irving offered Stoker a management position at his production company/venue in England, the still-famous Lyceum Theatre in London's West End. His duties as manager included writing letters—sometimes up to 50 per day—for Irving, as well as traveling worldwide on Irving's tours.

Bram Stoker Books

Newly inspired by his travels and exposure to the arts, in 1875, Stoker published his first horror story, The Primrose Path. He continued to publish writings while managing the successful Lyceum Theatre, including the story Under the Sunset (1882) and the novel The Snake's Pass (1890), earning modest acclaim. More notably, he garnered public praise for his many roles dedicated to the arts.

In 1897, Stoker published his masterpiece, Dracula. While the book garnered success after its release, its popularity has continued to grow for more than a century. Deemed a classic horror novel today, Dracula has inspired the creation of numerous theatrical, literary and film adaptations. Among them are the 1931 film Dracula, starring actor Bela Lugosi, and F.W. Murnau's 1922 film Nosferatu, starring Max Schreck.

Following the release of Dracula, Stoker quickly began work on new writings. He would publish 19 novels before the end of his life. Among Stoker's later works are Miss Betty (1898), The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland 1879, The Mystery of the Sea (1902), The Jewel of Seven Stars (1904) and The Lair of the White Worm (1911), which was later published under the title The Garden of Evil.

Final Years

Stoker served as Lyceum's manager for nearly 30 years, until Irving's death in 1905. Seven years later, on April 20, 1912, Stoker died in London, England.

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