Abraham "Bram" Stoker (November 8, 1847 – April 20, 1912) was an Irish novelist and short story writer, best known today for his 1897 Gothic novel Dracula. During his lifetime, he was better known as personal assistant of actor Henry Irving and business manager of the Lyceum Theatre in London, which Irving owned.

Bram Stoker by Alejandro Cabeza

Abraham "Bram" Stoker was born on 8 November 1847 in Clontarf, a suburb of Dublin, Ireland, the third of seven children born to Charlotte Mathilda Blake Thornely, a noted feminist, and Abraham Stoker, Civil Servant. He was a sickly child. The first seven years of his life he was bedridden with an undiagnosed disease which may have been anything from rheumatic fever, asthma or a form of nonparalytic polio. During these first years of his life, as he laid in his bed, he listened to stories his mother told him of the cholera epidemic of 1832; people buried alive, and entire families dying in a matter of days. At the age of 12 Bram left his home to attend school at Dublin’s Rutland Square under Reverend William Wood. During these years he made up for his childhood sickness by becoming involved in athletics and became an endurance walker. Having fully recovered, in 1864, following his older brothers, he entered Trinity College in Dublin to study mathematics. There he became involved in athletics, winning many awards. He was also elected President of the Philosophical Society. After graduating with honours in 1870 he followed in his father's footsteps and joined the Civil Service with Dublin Castle. Great lover of the arts, Stoker started to write theatre reviews for the Dublin Evening Mail . In December 1876, he gave a favorable review of the actor Henry Irving's performance as Hamlet at the Theatre Royal in Dublin. Stoker and Irving soon discovered they had much in common and became quick friends. In 1878 Stoker accepted a job working in London as Irving’s personal secretary, a position he held for almost thirty years.

In 1878 Stoker married actress Florence Balcombe, whose former suitor was Oscar Wilde. They had a son, Irving Noel Thornley (1879-1961). Stoker left his job in Dublin and the couple settled in London. It was here that Stoker became acquainted with many famous actors and such other notable authors of the time as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle , Oscar Wilde and William Butler Yeats . In the course of Irving's tours, Stoker travelled around the world though he never visited Eastern Europe, the location of a large part of what would become his most famous novel, Dracula. In 1890 Stoker holidayed in the North-east coast fishing village of Whitby in Yorkshire, where it is said he gleaned much inspiration for his novel Dracula .

Despite an active personal and professional life, Stoker supplemented his income by writing and publishing novels, beginning with The Snake's Pass in 1890. The best known of his novels was Dracula , published in 1897. Before writing Dracula , Stoker spent several years researching European folklore and stories of vampires. Dracula is generally regarded as the culmination of the Gothic vampire story. It was proceeded by other nineteenth century works: Dr. William Polidori's, The Vampyre, Thomas Prest's Varney the Vampyre, JS Le Fanu's Carmilla, and Guy de Maupassant's Le Horla. A large part of the novel's initial success was due, however, not to its Gothicism but to the fact, noted by Daniel Farson, that. "To the Victorian reader it must have seemed daringly modern."

On March 3rd, 1911 he began work on his last novel The Lair of the White Worm, which he completed on June 12th, that same year. Many historians attribute the books strange plot, about a 200 foot long and 2000 year old giant worm-woman named Lady Arabella, to drug induced hallucinations. In the last year of his life Stoker suffered from a number of illnesses from: Bright’s Disease (a painful kidney disease), gout, syphilis, and exhaustion. After suffering a number of strokes, Bram Stoker died on 20 April 1912, at the age of 64. His death certificate listed three causes of death: Locomotor Ataxy (tertiary syphilis), Granular Contracted Kidney (Bright’s Disease), and exhaustion. He was cremated and his ashes placed in a display urn at Golders Green Crematorium. After his son's death in 1961, his ashes were mingled with his son's. His wife Florence survived him by twenty-five years.

The Bram Stoker Society was founded in 1980 to encourage the study and appreciation of the work of Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula. The society has developed a program to promote the appreciation of Stoker's work.

Dracula, over 100 years after it was published, still remains one of the most popular books of all time. It’s author, Bram Soker, remains on of the most popular Victorian writers.

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