#OTD in 1912 – Death of Bram Stoker, the Dublin born writer who created Dracula.

Death of novelist Bram Stoker, author of Dracula which was first published in 1897. Born in Dublin, Stoker was bed-ridden for much of his childhood, but lived a relatively healthy life during his adulthood.

Educated at Trinity College, he moved to London in 1878 and married actress Florence Balcombe. Dracula received some praise on its publication. It was not until the movie Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi opened in 1931 that vampire mania really took off. Dracula was originally titled The Undead. As Dracula says: “My revenge is just begun! I spread it over centuries, and time is on my side.” To date, more than 1000 novels and 200 films have been made about the vampire Dracula.

A key inspiration for Dracula was always said to have been Vlad the Impaler, the 15th-century Transylvanian-born prince also known as Vlad III Dracula of Wallachia. However, historian Fiona Fitzsimons says: “Stoker did not use overtly Irish references in Dracula, but his main theme is taken from Irish history – the history, we now learn, of his own family – recast in the writer’s imagination. Manus the Magnificent (Manus O’Donnell, who once ruled much of Ireland) was Stoker’s direct ancestor and was an influence on the book.”

There remains some controversy about what killed Bram Stoker on 20 April 1912. Stoker’s nephew Daniel Farson published a biography in 1975 in which he suggested that the death certificate stating one of the causes of death as ‘Locomotor Ataxy 6 months’, a euphemistic way of avoiding public notice of citing the sexually transmitted disease syphilis. Stoker had previously suffered a series of strokes. Stoker’s cremated remains are located at Golders Green Crematorium in London.

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