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Stoker, Bram

Entry updated 23 October 2023. Tagged: Author, Theatre.

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(1847-1912) Irish author, civil servant, theatrical manager closely associated with Henry Irving and the actress Ellen Terry, and playwright. He is best known as the author of Dracula (1897; rev with cuts 1901), the classic Vampire novel. Although his fantasies are in the weird and occult fields, his writings do contain sf elements. These, however, are generally treated as products of Magic rather than of science, as in The Snake's Pass (1890), a tale featuring a search for the crown of the Western Irish snake king, and as in The Jewel of Seven Stars (1903), in which an Ancient Egyptian princess, adept in an ancient science, rests in a form of Suspended Animation. The Lair of the White Worm (1911; cut 1925; vt The Garden of Evil 1966), centres on an antediluvian and malignly intelligent serpent-like Monster obscurely linked to a secretly murderous woman [for the Lamia theme, see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy unde links below]; this novel was very freely adapted for Ken Russell's film The Lair of the White Worm (1988). Other fantasy works include Under the Sunset (coll 1881), consisting of allegorical fairy tales for children; The Mystery of the Sea (1902), centred on the Baconian cipher (see Francis Bacon); the Ruritanian romance The Lady of the Shroud (1909); and Dracula's Guest and Other Weird Stories (coll 1914; vt Dracula's Curse 1968), in which the title story is a chapter excised from Dracula.

Although not a direct influence in sf, Stoker is of considerable importance to weird fiction. Dracula has been filmed on many occasions, though never entirely in keeping with the novel, and has often been imitated. The novel's importance as Proto SF lies partly in its systematization of the vampire mythos as a quasi-scientific scholium which defines Vampires' strengths and weaknesses, and underlies most later sf rationalizations of the theme; it is also a paradigm iteration of the complex of apprehensions and sexualized loathings (see Sex) that characterizes Imperial Gothic in its prime. [JE/DRL]

see also: Hall Caine; Iron Maiden; The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; Fred Saberhagen.

Abraham Stoker

born Dublin, Ireland: 8 November 1847

died London: 20 April 1912




  • Dracula (London: Archibald Constable and Company, 1897) [Dracula: hb/nonpictorial]
    • Dracula (London: Archibald Constable and Company, 1901) [rev of the above with cuts: Dracula: pb/Nathan]
    • Dracula (London: Penguin Books, 1993) [rev of the above with corrected text plus additional material: edited with introduction by Maurice Hinkle: pb/photo of Henry Irving]
    • Dracula, A Mystery Story and Other Tales (London: Flame Tree, 2021) [vt of the above: exp as a coll: includes "Dracula's Guest" below: hb/]
  • Dracula; or, The Un-Dead: A Play in Prologue and Five Acts (Nottingham, Nottinghamshire: Pumpkin Books, 1997) [play: first performed Lyceum Theatre, Dublin, May 18, 1897: edited by Sylvia Starshine: hb/]
  • Dracula's Guest, and Other Weird Stories (London: George Routledge and Sons, 1914) [coll: Dracula: hb/Handforth]
    • Dracula's Curse (New York: Tower Books, 1968) [coll: vt of the above: Dracula: pb/]

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