For such a small dot on the map, we have produced more than our fair share of remarkable writers. You won’t believe the list of masterpieces to come from Dublin born novelists, playwrights and poets. If you love literature and cinema then you really must put Dublin on your wish list……
I bet you didn’t know that Dracula was written by an Irishman! – see what you’ve learned already!!!
Bram (Abraham) Stoker was born here in Dublin in 1847. He studied maths at Trinity College and worked as a civil servant.
In 1876 he met the famous actor Henry Irving and moved to London, taking up the position as actor-manager with Irving’s Lyceum Theatre (a post he held for 27 years). His first book was published in 1881. He was to write 18 books during his life, the most successful by far being Dracula.
Dracula appeared in 1897.
Solicitor Jonathan Harker travels to Transylvania to help the mysterious Count Dracula with a London property deal. He finds himself a prisoner in the castle and discovers that the Count possesses supernatural powers – he is a vampire attempting to go to England for new blood…… and so we immerse ourselves in a tale of good versus evil….
Vampires, seductive brides, form shifting…. what kind of dark mind must a tax collector from Dublin possess to create such a world – and are there Irish influences behind this inspiration?
Although middle class, he would not have been entirely shielded from the horrors of 19th Ireland. He was born during the famine years (1845 -1849) and no doubt grew up with tales of starving people – the undead- wandering the roads ( the original title was, in fact, ‘The Undead’). Sickly as a child, he spent long periods in bed where his mother entertained him with gruesome stories – she had lived through the cholera epidemic of 1832 and would have heard the rumours of victims being buried alive to prevent spread of the disease. Stoker may have been subjected to the popular Victorian practice of bloodletting by lancet or leech during his illness to remove ‘bad blood’. I suppose no one is going to write love stories after all that!!!
Initially, Dracula was interpreted as a straightforward horror novel. But throughout the 20th century, critics increasingly viewed the work from a Freudian perspective – dealing with the sexual desires of the unconscious mind. However, the novel continues to be also interpreted from other points of view – medicine, religion, politics and of course, folklore.
Trivia Moment: In the 1980’s, the original 541-page manuscript was found in a barn in Pennsylvania with the title ‘The Un-Dead’. No one knows how it got there. It was purchased by Paul Allen the co-founder of Microsoft.
Dracula at the Movies
Dracula was first represented on our screens in Nosferatu in 1922. The movie was unauthorised and although names and other details had been altered, Stoker’s widow successfully sued the filmmakers and all copies of the movie were to be destroyed. A few prints did survive and the movie is regarded as a classic….
The most famous version is that of 1931 starring Bela Lugosi who gave the count his distinctive character with his voice and mannerisms – not to mention his red lined cape !
Since then, Dracula has appeared in over 200 movies in some form or other, as well as spawning countless spin off characters and TV shows.
Quotable Bram Stoker Quotes!
Despair has its own calms.
How blessed are some people, whose lives have no fears, no dreads; to whom sleep is a blessing that comes nightly, and brings nothing but sweet dreams.
There are mysteries which men can only guess at, which age by age they may solve only in part.
No man knows till he has suffered from the night how sweet and dear to his heart and eye the morning can be.
The Bram Stoker Festival takes place at Halloween.