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BRAM STOKER

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Bram Stoker's (1847 - 1912) imagination bloomed during his childhood as an invalid. He later recovered the use of his legs and went on to become a football(soccer) player at the University of Dublin. He lived in Ireland most of his life, spending 27 years as a secretary to Sir Henry Irving, the actor. Stoker is best known for his novel "Dracula" (1897). The novel, in epistolary form, is written from the perspective of four principal characters: Jonathan Harker, a lawyer employed by Count Dracula; Mina Harker, his wife; Dr. Sweard, an esteemed doctor; and Lucy Westenra, who falls prey to the Count. When the Count travels from Transylvania to seek fresh victims in London, the authors chronicle their attempts to destroy the Count after learning of his true nature. Stoker's writing is taut as he explores the interplay between the protagonist's grim discoveries and Victorian home life.

He was born on November 8, 1847 in Clontarf, Ireland, a coastal village near Dublin. Until he was 8 years old, he was ill and could neither stand up nor walk on his own. This illness and helplessness was a traumatic experience which is noticeable in his literary work. Everlasting sleep and the resurrection from the dead, which are the central themes of his Dracula, were of great importance for him, because he was forced to spend much of his life in bed.

Not only his illness but also his total convalescence were miracles for his doctors. After that he became a normal young man, who even became an athlete and soccer-star at the University of Dublin. He studied history, literature, mathematics and physics at Trinity College. He became a civil sevant, a work that couldn't satisfy him. So he started to work as a journalist and as a drama critic (The Evening Mail). His interest in theatre lead to a lifelong friendship with the actor Henry Irving.

Stoker married Oscar Wilde's former girlfriend Florence Balcombe in 1878 and moved with her to London where he became business manager of Irving's Lyceum Theatre. The collaboration with Irving was very important for Stoker. Through him he became involved in London's high society, where he met James McNeil Whistler and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In the course of Irving's tours he got the chance to travel around the world.

He supplemented his income by writing a large number of sensational novels, his most famous being the vampire tale Dracula which he published in 1897. Parts of it are set around the town of Whitby, where he was living at the time.

In 1890 he met the Hungarian professor Arminius Vanbéry, who told him the legend of the Romanian prince Vlad Tepes, better known as Dracula. This person became Count Dracula the vampire in Stoker's fictional novel. In the same year Bram started to write his book Dracula, which he finished 7 years later. For his book he studied the culture and religion of the people on the Balkan and explored the life of the historical person Vlad Tepes. Dracula is the basis of countless films and plays.

Bram Stoker died on April 20, 1912 in London, England and was interred at Golders Green Crematorium, London.