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Who Was Dracula?: Bram Stoker's Trail of…

Who Was Dracula?: Bram Stoker's Trail of Blood (edition 2013)

by Jim Steinmeyer

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Title:Who Was Dracula?: Bram Stoker's Trail of Blood
Authors:Jim Steinmeyer
Info:Tarcher (2013), Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:biography, history

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Who Was Dracula?: Bram Stoker's Trail of Blood by Jim Steinmeyer



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For fans of Bram Stoker's classic novel Dracula, this book provides a fascinating insight into the life and times of Mr. Stoker as well as various other figures whom the author argues influenced Stoker's work including Henry Irving, Walt Whitman, and Oscar Wilde. The book reads well as the author writes in a straightforward style. Aside from the material about the creation of Dracula as a novel, the stories of each of the gentlemen above who allegedly influenced the work also make for interesting reading.

On the down side, the author's arguments that Jack the Ripper was influential is a bit silly and seemingly included only for shock value, as was the argument that the novel was sexual in nature. While a good writer, these are perhaps the most glaring of the author's failed attempts at deeper insights into Mr. Stoker's work. ( )
  la2bkk | May 7, 2016 |
Who was Dracula? Well apparently he was much more than just his creator, Bram Stoker. At best, Stoker was for the most part, a mediocre writer, gaining very little acknowledgement from critics in his time. He was, however, an excellent manager for one of the Victorian era's major stage actors, Henry Irving. Stoker dedicated his life to helping Irving, who has almost vanished into history, achieve fame on the English stage. In turn, Stoker borrowed freely from Irving's character to help characterize Dracula. Bram also drew from other personalities of the time, with whom he was well acquainted, notably Walt Whitman, Oscar Wilde, and perhaps even Jack the Ripper. The book notes in detail Stoker's interactions with these personalities. It attempts to detail what characteristics Bram borrowed either consciously or unconsciously, to invest in his character, Dracula. It would take Stoker seven years to meld his thoughts with some of the characteristics of these persons, thus giving birth to Dracula. Although Dracula appears in only 60 or so pages of his 400 page opus, Stoker created a character that would take on a life of it's own. This book much like it's subject, Dracula, is at times lusty and full of life, while at other times it can descend into the dryness and dust of history. Book provided for review by the well read folks at Tarcher/Penguin. ( )
  Ronrose1 | Feb 25, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 014242188X, Hardcover)

An acclaimed historian sleuths out literature’s most famous vampire, uncovering the source material – from folklore and history, to personas including Oscar Wilde and Walt Whitman – behind Bram Stoker’s bloody creation.

In more than a century of vampires in pop culture, only one lord of the night truly stands out: Dracula. Though the name may conjure up images of Bela Lugosi lurking about in a cape and white pancake makeup in the iconic 1931 film, the character of Dracula—a powerful, evil Transylvanian aristocrat who slaughters repressed Victorians on a trip to London—was created in Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel of the same name, a work so popular it has spawned limitless reinventions in books and film.

But where did literature’s undead icon come from? What sources inspired Stoker to craft a monster who would continue to haunt our dreams (and desires) for generations? Historian Jim Steinmeyer, who revealed the men behind the myths in The Last Greatest Magician in the World, explores a question that has long fascinated literary scholars and the reading public alike: Was there a real-life inspiration for Stoker’s Count Dracula?

Hunting through archives and letters, literary and theatrical history, and the relationships and events that gave shape to Stoker’s life, Steinmeyer reveals the people and stories behind the Transylvanian legend. In so doing, he shows how Stoker drew on material from the careers of literary contemporaries Walt Whitman and Oscar Wilde; reviled personas such as Jack the Ripper and the infamous fifteenth-century prince Vlad Tepes, as well as little-known but significant figures, including Stoker’s onetime boss, British stage star Henry Irving, and Theodore Roosevelt’s uncle, Robert Roosevelt (thought to be a model for Van Helsing).

Along the way, Steinmeyer depicts Stoker’s life in Dublin and London, his development as a writer, involvement with London’s vibrant theater scene, and creation of one of horror’s greatest masterpieces. Combining historical detective work with literary research, Steinmeyer’s eagle eye provides an enthralling tour through Victorian culture and the extraordinary literary monster it produced.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:14 -0400)

"An acclaimed historian sleuths out literature's most famous vampire, uncovering the source material--from folklore and history to personas including Oscar Wilde and Walt Whitman--behind Bram Stoker's bloody creation"--Dust jacket flap.

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