Mina hates him and accuses him of spreading anti-vampire propoganda, but millions adore Bram Stoker for creating the world’s first modern vampire in his novel, Dracula, published in 1897. (To download a free version, visit Project Gutenberg.)
Readers might be surprised to know that Stoker, born in Ireland, never visited Eastern Europe and he led a relatively normal life: He married, had a son, had day-jobs in the theater, at a newspaper and as a civil servant.
It was his role as assistant to actor Henry Irving and business manager of the Lyceum Theatre in London that helped launch his assent into the upper echelons of society and literary circles, where he was exposed to the idea of a vampire, as well as Eastern European folklore.
Stoker spent nearly a decade researching Eastern European vampire folklore before penning Dracula. Major influences include:
- “Transylvania Superstitions,” an essay by Emily Gerard
- Carmilla, by Sheridan Le Fanu (who was an associate of Stoker’s)
- The Vampyre by John Polidori
- Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia with Political Observations Relative to Them by William Wilkenson
Scholars continue to argue over who and what was an influence, but the bottom line is that Stoker’s Dracula has become an influence of its own, inspiring countless film adaptations and literary spin-offs. Some notable ones include:
But wait, there’s more!