Bram Stoker
"I was afraid to raise my eyelids, but looked out and saw perfectly under the lashes. The girl went on her knees, and bent over me, simply gloating. There was a deliberate voluptuousness which was both thrilling and repulsive, and as she arched her neck she actually licked her lips like an animal, till I could see in the moonlight the moisture shining on the scarlet lips and on the red tongue as it lapped the white sharp teeth I could feel the soft, shivering touch of the lips on the super sensitive skin of my throat, and the hard dents of two sharp teeth, just touching and pausing there. I closed my eyes in languorous ecstasy and waited, waited with beating heart." (Dracula)

Abraham "Bram" Stoker was born near Dublin in 1847 where he spent his first seven years more often than not confined to his bed due to a mysterious and unexplained disorder. Making reparations for this period, by the time he went to Trinity College in Dublin he had become an adept sportsman and was commended as University Athlete before gaining honours in Mathematics. He was then employed in Dublin as a civil servant for eight years until 1878 when he became manager and actor at the Lyceum theatre under the direction of Henry Irving. He would later write Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving (1906) but, as you are doubtless aware, this is not the tome for which he is remembered.

Although he had published a collection of children's stories in 1882, called Under the Sunset (predictably, in retrospect, somewhat macabre) and his first novel, The Snake's Pass in 1890, it is Dracula (1897) that brought Stoker fame and a seminal role in the construction of the ubiquitous horror myth that filled the twentieth century's books and cinema. With contrasting Transylvanian and English settings and a mixture of the erotic, the macabre, and the thrilling adventure so typical of later nineteenth century fiction, Stoker created a novel and a character from which he and his reputation would never escape.

After the death of Irving and the closure of the Lyceum, Stoker continued to write. Notable works were The Lair of the White Worm (1911) and The Jewel of Seven Stars (1903), both of which were filmed in years to come - the latter famously as The Awakening in 1980. Yet these books created little of a stir and are hard to get hold of now. Just as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818) rapidly took on a life of its own and left the author forgotten, Dracula has become synonymous with Stoker and, given the lacklustre nature of his other works, that situation seems unlikely to change.
Links A brief biography on the author
Douglas Clegg's e-book For more horror online, try this great free e-book by Douglas Clegg called "Purity"
Bram Stoker Clan A biography and a link to the Bram Stoker Clan Resource site, including a brief biography and informative links about Bram Stoker Information about the musical based on Bram Stoker's Dracula

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