(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Bram Stoker is well known as the author of the best-selling gothic thriller DRACULA, but until Barbara Belford’s new biography, it was not really possible to get a complete picture of this multitalented, but modest, Victorian gentleman. Belford chronicles his life story from his early childhood in the mid-nineteenth century; to his happy and sociable university life at Trinity College, Dublin; to his apprenticeship writing unpaid drama reviews for the MAIL; to his short career as a petty sessions clerk in Ireland; to his marriage to Oscar Wilde’s first infatuation, Florence Balcombe; to his long and productive professional life as manager of the Lyceum Theater, during its heyday as the home of actors Henry Irving and Ellen Terry; to his writing of his own masterpiece DRACULA; and finally to his quiet death in 1912 with his wife and son at his side.

Because Bram Stoker devoted most of his mature years to the management of the Lyceum Theater and to Henry Irving’s distinguished theatrical career, and because Stoker sought out the important writers of his times, such as Walt Whitman, Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, and George Bernard Shaw, his biography will be of interest not only to enthusiasts of the DRACULA mythos but also to anyone curious about the development of the modern theater through the Victorian era, or the private lives of talented men of the arts in the nineteenth century.

Especially well chosen are the 87 black-and-white illustrations of locations and personages in Bram Stoker’s life, many of which illuminate the text of DRACULA in new and surprising ways.