Bram (Abraham) Stoker was born on November 8th, 1847 at 15 The Crescent, Clontarf, Dublin 3.Quite a sickly child until he was seven years old, he attended a private day school and entered Trinity College on November 2nd, 1864.He revelled in life at Trinity and enjoyed a rich academic, sporting and social life there.
When he graduated he followed his father’s footsteps into the Civil Service at Dublin Castle where he was appointed a clerk of the Petty Sessions. He lived at various addresses close to Trinity – in Harcourt Street, St Stephen’s Green and Kildare Street, and took a keen interest in drama.He especially admired the acting skills of British actor, Henry Irving who he had first seen performing in 1867 at the Theatre Royal.Stoker wrote a drama column for the Dublin Evening Mail newspaper in the 1870’s.He eventually met Henry Irving and the two became personal friends.By now his heart was in the theatre rather than the Civil Service.
In December 1878, Bram Stoker married Florence Balcombe and moved to England to become manager to Irving and his London theatre, The Lyceum.He was to remain with the actor for 27 years until Irving’s death in 1905.
Stoker’s first book, ‘The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland’ was published in 1879 – and is still a standard text!He went on to write some 18 books in all and the book that made him famous, the gothic masterpiece ‘Dracula’, was first published in 1897.Stoker died on April 20th, 1912 and was cremated at Golder’s Green Cemetery, London.
Bram Stoker has been very much the forgotten man of Irish Literature.Now, however, international scholars agree that the advent of the Bram Stoker Summer School in Dublin has changed all that.The “fangs for the memory” emphasis on Stoker and his great creation (Dracula) has been changed to a more scholarly approach.
Also the Summer School has brought the ‘Irishness’ of Stoker and Dracula to the fore. It has been forgotten that Stoker lived his first 31 years in Dublin and the Dublin and Irish influences on his output of writings is enormous.