Abraham “Bram” Stoker, famous for his sensational novel, Dracula, was a sickly child, so weak that he was unable to stand up unaided until the age of seven. He outgrew his childhood weakness, however, and became a champion athlete while at Dublin University, from which he graduated in 1867. For the next ten years he worked as an Irish civil servant. From 1871 to 1876 Stoker served as an unpaid drama critic for the Dublin Mail, work which won for him the friendship of the actor Henry Irving (1838-1905). As a result of their friendship, Stoker served as Irving’s manager for many years.
After touring America with Irving, Stoker wrote a series of lectures about life in the United States to deliver to English audiences. The success of the lectures when printed in pamphlet form caused Stoker to consider other kinds of writing. Dracula appeared in 1897. The novel, written in the form of journal entries and letters, tells of the vampire Count Dracula’s attempt to spread his evil to London and his eventual defeat. The tale has been produced on stage and in several film versions. The work represents a late nineteenth century development of the earlier gothic novel, and its marked success stimulated other authors to imitate the type. Other works by Stoker worth noting are The Jewel of Seven Stars and The Lair of the White Worm, both novels, and Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving, which recounts Stoker’s life with Irving and with the Lyceum Theatre. During his last years Stoker was also on the literary staff of the London Telegraph.