Bram Stoker, 1847-1912



Abraham "Bram" Stoker was born near Dublin on November 8, 1847, the third of seven children. An unidentified illness kept him virtually bedridden until age seven. Was the ailment of physical or psychological origin? Was it responsible for Stoker's periodic lapses into morbidity? As with so much of Stoker's life, the truth of this matter remains shrouded in mystery. Young Bram had always dreamed of becoming a writer, but his father had safer plans. Yielding to the elder's wishes, he followed his father into a career as a civil servant in Dublin Castle. Year 1890 marks the beginning of Stoker's research for his masterwork, Dracula, which, seen years later, would launch its bloodthirsty protagonist, Count Dracula (if not the author himself), on a course toward world-wide acclaim.

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Bram Stoker began his notes for the story in 1890, a full seven years before publication. He chose Whitby as his English location, a popular shipping port, and supposedly a favorite vacation site of his. A ruined cathedral overlooking the ocean there served as the inspiration for the pivotal location of Carfax Abby. As for the choice of Transylvania and the name Dracula, both came much later, almost as an afterthought before publication. As Stoker researched the vampire myth, he was drawn inextricably to the cradle of the vampire myth in Europe, the Balkans. Prince Vlad Tepes (nicknamed "Dracula", Hungarian for "Son of the Dragon") features quite prominently in Balkan history, both for his role as defender of the Christian faith against the Turks, and for his legendary cruelty.

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