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Biography

Bram Stoker
Bram Stoker
 

Abraham Stoker was the personal assistant of actor and owner of the Lyceum Theater Henry Irving. Besides his work for Irving, he wrote prolifically novels and short stories. Being involved in the theater world, he knew very well the taste for dramatic action, high adventure and gothic fantasy. He used such knowledge to engage the reader in his novels.
  Bram, as he was generally known, had been brought up in County Donegal, the third son of seven children. His mother, Charlotte Thornely, was an early feminist. The family were cultured but not well off, and as a child Stoker suffered a great deal of illness. He was bedridden until the age of seven. During this time, his mother used to read him and tell him ghost stories; he was an imaginative child and as he used to say himself, illness provided him with ideas that became fruitful.
  At the age of seven, Bram made a miraculous recovery, completed education, and went on to study at the Trinity College, in Dublin. Then he became a theatre critic for a local paper. After reviewing a performance of Hamlet by Henry Irving, he and Irving became friends. Later, Stoker and his wife moved to London, where he began work for Irving, whom he had come to idolize.
  An intelligent, cultured man, Stoker read widely and had many fields of interest, including the world of folklore, science, medicine, criminology and the occult. He was profoundly fascinated by mesmerism, a therapeutic technique involving hypnotism. He had great belief in science and medicine over superstition and ironically enough, he created the most evil vampire character of all time.
  Stoker joined a literary group who had a especial fondness of the supernatural. It was called The Sublime Society of the Bistecs, after whom he finally ventured writing. In 1882 Stoker published Under the Sunset, his first work of fiction.
  Stoker was later on related with a obscure society called The Order of the Golden Dawn. This society was founded by W. W. Westcott, W. R. Woodman and S. L. Mathers around 1888. Soon they became the archetype of a magical society and started to perform rites dealing with magics and occultism. There, Stoker took part in rites with famous writers like Yeats or actresses like Florence Marr.
  The last years of his life were not very pleasant for Stoker. In 1905 his long friend Irving died, and Stoker himself started to deteriorate. In addition to this, he started to have financial problems and some representations failed at the theater. On April 12, 1912, Stoker died at the age of 64.
  Although prolific, his works such as The Snake's Pass (1889-90), Miss Betty (1898), The Mystery of the Sea (1902) among others, never became as popular as Dracula, published in 1897. Stoker will certainly be remembered for his vampire, and his contribution to universal literature acknowledged.


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