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Thursday, 8 November 2012

Icon Series: Bram Stoker and Dracula

English: Bram Stoker (1847-1912), novelist bor...
English: Bram Stoker (1847-1912), novelist born in Ireland, author of "Dracula" (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Seeing as Google has reminded me that it is Bram Stoker's 165th birthday, I almost felt obliged to put something up here on the bloke. He is not what I would consider to be an icon, but he certainly created one. The Dublin-born Stoker seems to be cast as a most unlikely candidate to pen one literature's most successful figures of the Gothic and the macabre. He was no Edgar Alan Poe in his lifestyle and psychology and, despite working in showbusiness, couldn't have been further from a Lord Byron. Being the business manager of the Lyceum theatre, accounts have him trying to impress and being totally dominated by the overbearing actor, Sir Henry Irving. However, Stoker was a close acquaintance of Oscar Wilde's - going back to their student days where Stoker had proposed him for membership to The Philosophical Society - and I heard once on a "South Bank Show" special documentary that Wilde had an affair with Stoker's wife. I am not sure what the evidence is for this claim, but Wilde was certainly a suitor for Florence Balcombe, a celebrated beauty of Victorian society. Wilde was apparently upset about Stoker marrying Florence, but later they reconciled and they remained friends even after Wilde's fall.