In his lifetime, Bram Stoker (1847-1912) lived in the shadow of the man he served, the Victorian actor, Sir Henry Irving. In death, he was overshadowed by his most famous creation, the undead Count who continues to permeate our consciousness. Yet Stoker was no mere Renfield to Irving's imperious Dracula. Rather, he was a larger-than-life
individual with more than a hint of the Transylvanian Count in his own personality. A sickly child, he grew up to be a large and energetic adult who excelled in sport while an undergraduate at Trinity College, Dublin, where he was a contemporary of key Irish literary and political figures. At the same time, he was launching himself on a career as a
writer, while championing the new poetry of Walt Whitman and juggling the demands of a Civil Service job with journalism. He married the great love of Oscar Wilde's youth, Florence Balcombe, one of a number of beautiful women with whom he enjoyed close friendships. Devoting the best years of his adult life to Irving's Lyceum Theatre in
London, Stoker was also a prolific novelist and consummate short story writer. Interacting with many of the outstanding personalities of his time on both sides of the Atlantic - Gladstone, George Bernard Shaw, Ellen Terry, Tennyson, Mark Twain - he was himself one of the more remarkable characters of the Victorian era, an age he both personified and transcended. In this meticulously researched, ground-breaking new biography, Paul Murray illuminates a multi-faceted man of extraordinary creativity. Now, for the first time, Dracula is presented in the context of Stoker's life and entire fictional output. Rooted in his upbringing and active engagement with Victorian concerns, his dark masterpiece emerges as an imaginative tour de force which both mirrored and judged his era.
- Publication Date:
- 04 / 01 / 2002
- 153 x 234mm