The vampire in the library

Abraham “Bram” Stoker was born on November 8, 1847 in Clontarf, Ireland, a suburb of Dublin. The third of seven children, he overcame a childhood illness and later became a successful athlete at Trinity College, University of Dublin. After graduation he joined the Irish Civil Service, which allowed him to travel, and then worked as a part-time theater critic in Dublin and London.

His positive reviews of famous actor and theater director Henry Irving’s performances in Dublin led to a friendship and an offer in 1878 for Stoker to join Irving at the Lyceum Theater in London as acting director and then commercial director. Stoker agreed, and their close association lasted 29 years, until Irving’s death in 1905.

During this time, he began to write short stories and work on novels. “Dracula”, published in 1897, was his fifth novel. He has written four non-fiction books, including a two-volume reminiscence of Irving.

Perhaps surprisingly, the master of horror also wrote eight children’s fairy tales, published in 1881 in a book called “Under the Sunset”.

Stoker spent years researching vampirism while writing “Dracula”, and copies of texts he was known to have consulted as part of his early research are included in this collection, such as the earliest documents printed on vampirism, reports from related theatrical performances and the like. materials.

With “Dracula”, Stoker wanted to reach out to the masses rather than limiting his work to a wealthy audience. The novel’s circulation included the yellow back market, which allowed it to reach the working class and helped spread its popularity. The yellow backs, with their yellow blankets, were cheap and sensational novels sold in railroad stalls.

Dracula’s story has been adapted into plays, films, operas and ballets. Interest in vampire culture has remained persistent throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, with a noticeable peak in recent years. Vampire-themed books have surged, with two young adult series, “Twilight” and “Vampire Diaries,” becoming a hugely popular film franchise and TV series, respectively.

The popular television series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1997-2003) reached a level of success that far surpassed the 1992 film on which it was based. “Dark Shadows”, the American Gothic soap opera that aired in the late 1960s, inspired a remake in the 1990s and a movie in 2012.

In the film industry, notable “Dracula” tales have included everything from a classic 1931 Bela Lugosi version to a 1979 remake starring Frank Langella and Laurence Olivier, to a 1992 rework with Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Keanu Reeves and Anthony Hopkins.

The enduring appeal of “Dracula” can be attributed in part to the themes that run through it and that still resonate today.

These include the battle between good and evil, science and religion, female innocence and sexual assertion, madness and reality, and modern knowledge and “old” ways, among others. . The items in the Stoker Collection will provide students, faculty and researchers with many avenues to explore.

“The hope is that students will engage in all parts of the collection, some of which feature the famous vampire and others that provide insight into the important literary and dramatic worlds inhabited by Stoker,” says the English teacher. Sheila Cavanagh, who will co-teach a spring collecting-based class.

“In ‘Dracula’, Stoker clearly created a figure that resonates deeply with future generations. Our students will have the opportunity to explore the dark appeal of this character as well as countless other topics embedded in the archives. “

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