DUBLIN ON THE WORLD STAGE – FAMOUS LITERARY WORKS – #1 DRACULA

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……

Dracula

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.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Bram_Stoker_1906-794x1024.jpg

Dracula appeared in 1897.

Original Cover, 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.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Bela_Lugosi_as_Dracula_anonymous_photograph_from_1931_Universal_Studios-786x1024.jpg
Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula, 1931.

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.

Visiting Dublin?

The Bram Stoker Festival takes place at Halloween.

Dublin Writers’ Museum

Literary Walking Tour

15 thoughts on “DUBLIN ON THE WORLD STAGE – FAMOUS LITERARY WORKS – #1 DRACULA

  1. The ruins of Whitby Abbey in Yorkshire are said to have helped inspire Stoker to write Dracula. The town of Whitby has taken him to its heart, and goths can often be seen roaming the streets there (except during Covid restrictions, obviously!) Every year the Whitby holds a goth festival, helping Bram Stoker’s memory to live on!

    1. It’ll come up in a quiz some day .. In which European capital was Dracula’s creator, Bram Stoker, born?…. and you’ll be the only one to get it right!!! 😅 😂

  2. Well I didn’t know that about the original manuscript. In early 2008 I was staying around the corner from the Irish Writers’ Centre and popped in. I don’t recall much of a museum then though.

    1. There’s not a whole lot there but its a nice homage to Irish writers, all located in one spot. There’s an audio tour which fills out the details…..

Leave a Reply to Lyssy In The City Cancel reply