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English Book Club: ‘Dracula’ by Bram Stoker

dracula-cover-2Dracula is a gothic horror novel. It introduced Count Dracula character and established many conventions of subseqüent vampire fantasy.

The novel tells the story of Dracula’s attempt to move from Transylvania to England so that he may find new blood and spread the undead curse, and of the battle between Dracula and a small group of men and a woman led by Professor Abraham Van Helsing.

The story is told in epistolary format, as a series of letters, diary entries, newspaper articles, and ships’ log entries, whose narrators are the novel’s protagonists, and occasionally supplemented with newspaper clippings relating events not directly witnessed.

The events portrayed in the novel take place chronologically and largely in England and Transylvania during the 1890s and all transpire within the same year between 3 May and 6 November. A short note is located at the end of the final chapter written 7 years after the events outlined in the novel.

Throughout the 1880s and 1890s, authors such as H. Rider Haggard, Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle, and H. G. Wells wrote many tales in which fantastic creatures threatened the British Empire.

Victorian readers enjoyed Dracula as a good adventure story like many others, but it did not reach its legendary status until later in the 20th century when film versions began to appear.

Before writing Dracula, Stoker spent seven years researching European folklore and stories of vampires, being most influenced by Emily Gerard’s 1885 essay “Transylvania Superstitions” which includes content about a vampire myth.[10][11] Some historians are convinced that a historic figure, Vlad III Dracula, often called Vlad the Impaler, was the model for Stoker’s Count although there is no supporting evidence.

bramstockerAbraham “Bram” Stoker (8 November 1847 – 20 April 1912) was an Irish author, best known today for his 1897 Gothic novel Dracula. During his lifetime, he was better known as the personal assistant of actor Henry Irving and business manager of the Lyceum Theatre in London, which Irving owned.

Stoker was the third of seven children and was bedridden with an unknown illness until he started school at the age of seven. He was educated in a private school and then graduated with honours as a B.A. in Mathematics.

Stoker worked during 27 years as acting and business manager of Herny Irving’s Lyceum Theatre, London. Working for Irving, the most famous actor of his time, and managing one of the most successful theatres in London made Stoker a notable if busy man.

Stoker visited the English coastal town of Whitby in 1890, and that visit is said to be part of the inspiration for Dracula. He began writing novels while manager for Henry Irving and secretary and director of London’s Lyceum Theatre, beginning with The Snake’s Pass in 1890 and Dracula in 1897.

After suffering a number of strokes, Stoker died in London on 20 April 1912. Some biographers attribute the cause of death to tertiary syphilis, others to overwork. He was cremated, and his ashes were placed in a display urn at Golders Green Crematorium in north London.

The story of Dracula has been the basis for numerous films. You can know more about cinema adaptations in an article published at the Prestatge Virtual de Cinema of Xarxa de Biblioteques Municipals de la Diputació de Barcelona.

The English Book Club will meet again to coment this book on saturday November 11th.

Here you can see the movie tràiler of Bram Stoker’s Dracula by Francis Ford Coppola.

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