Abraham “Bram” Stoker was born on this day in Clontarf, Ireland, in 1847. If he was alive today, he’d be 166 years old. Instead, he passed away on April 20, 1912, aged 64. A series of Stoker and Dracula events and publications took place mark the 100th anniversary of his death, last year (Hogg 2012).
There’s not much I can say about the legacy of his 1897 masterpiece, Dracula, that hasn’t already been said. Though I will mention a whole field—Dracula Studies—has spawned from the book’s impact. As I’ve mentioned before (Hogg 2013), I’m a member of the Transylvanian Society of Dracula (Canadian chapter), “an international, non-profit organization dedicated to the study of both Count Dracula of fiction and Vlad (Tepes) Dracula of history” (Miller 2008).
I borrowed a copy of Stoker’s Dracula from my high school library, soon after my interest in vampires kicked off (Hogg 2009). It’s still one of my favourite books.
In 1998, my uncle gave my family a little dog and I named him after the author. I tossed up between his first name and surname: his first name won. Here’s a picture of Bram in 1999, when he was still a pup:
He died on December 30, 2007. To be honest, even mentioning that makes me sad. Fortunately, we still have his son, Ulysses—Ya Ya for short (go figure that one!).
Anyway, Stoker’s legacy is something vampire writers—and scholars—all over the world are indebted to. The book was a moderate seller on its release—but only his mother, Charlotte, of all people—realised its archetypal power:
“My dear,” she wrote from Ireland, “it is splendid, a thousand miles beyond anything you have written before, and I feel certain will place you very high in the writers of the day—the story and style being deeply sensational, exciting and interesting.” And a few days later she added, “I have seen a great review of ‘Dracula’ in a London paper. They have not said one word too much of it. No book since Mrs. Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ or indeed any other at all has come near yours in originality, or terror—Poe is nowhere. I have read much but I never met a book like it at all. In its terrible excitement it should make a widespread reputation and much money for you” (Ludlam 1962, 108–9).
If only she knew! Happy birthday, Bram—wherever you are.
Hogg, Anthony. 2012. “Dracunews.” The Vampirologist, January 9. http://thevampirologist.blogspot.com.au/2012/01/dracunews.html.
———. 2013. “The Proposition.” The Vampirologist, September 1. https://thevampirologist.wordpress.com/2013/09/01/the-proposition/.
———. 2009. “Why I’m an Amateur Vampirologist.” VampChix, October 23. http://vampchix.blogspot.com.au/2009/10/vampirologist-anyone.html.
Ludlam, Harry. 1962. A Biography of Dracula: The Life Story of Bram Stoker. London: The Quality Book Club.
Miller, Elizabeth. 2008. “Transylvanian Society of Dracula.” Dracula’s Homepage. Accessed November 8, 2013. http://blooferland.com/tsd.html.
Ashok. 2012. “Google Doodle Bram Stoker’s 165th Birth Anniversary, Dracula’s Father!” AcutezMedia, November 8. Accessed November 8, 2013. http://www.acutezmedia.com/internet/google-doodle-bram-stokers-165th-birth-anniversary-draculas-father/.