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The life and times of Bram Stoker, theatre critic

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Everyone's heard of the parasitic count from Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula. But his other works seem to go amiss, largely unheard-of, and rarely, if ever, adapted to stage or screen. This is in stark contrast to Dracula, who, according to the Guinness Book of Records, is the most filmed character in screen history (272 times). 

On the anniversary of Bram Stoker’s Death, we will delve briefly but a little deeper into the life and times of the writer and into the aforementioned unread, unappreciated works such as poems, novels, and journalistic articles, written by the Irish author of, more than just, Dracula.

  

Abraham ‘Bram’ Stoker was born on the 8th of November 1847 in Dublin. He attended Trinity College, from 1864 until 1870, and would become known as one of the most influential and dark romantic writers of the time. Stoker started off his writing career as a theatre critic, and held the role of Acting and business manager at Henry Irving's Lyceum Theatre in London for 27 years.

Stoker wasn't limited to novels, he wrote a few poems too. One of them, named “The Member of The Strand” was published seven years prior to the publication of Dracula. It first appeared on January the 8th, 1890 in a Newspaper named Judy. Not much has been published regarding Stoker’s poetry other than a book by John Edgar Browning, The Forgotten Writings of Bram Stoker. This could, of course, be because he remained unknown until the enormous global success of the sanguinary count.

 

Stoker also wrote numerous non-fiction pieces, including: books, theatre articles, speeches and interview transcriptions. He even interviewed Winston Churchill in 1907! This piece named "Mr. Winston Churchill: Talks of His Hopes, His Work, and his Ideals to Bram Stoker” was published first in Britain on January 15th, 1908 in The Daily Chronicle.

Probably the second-most read of Stoker’s novels is The Lair of The White Worm, which received mixed reviews and definitely is not as highly respected as the earlier Dracula, with some readers regarding some of the content misogynistic and racist. However, Stoker was seriously ill when he wrote this, his last book, and this may have been the cause of the incoherent writing and poor execution: he died a year later. The novel even achieved 12th place in the horror critic R.S. Hadji’s list of the worst horror novels ever written.

Stoker died on the 20th April 1912, 106 years ago today.

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