Bram Stoker report




Bram Stoker was born in Dublin, Ireland on November 8th, 1847. His father
was a civil servant in Dublin Castle, and his mother, Charlotte, was a women’s lib
advocate. They had seven children in nine years; the third of which was Bram. The
first seven years of his life he was bedridden with an undiagnosed disease which
may have been anything from rheumatic fever, asthma or a form of nonparalytic
polio. During these first years of his life as he laid in his bed he listened to stories
his mother told him of the cholera epidemic of 1832; people buried alive, and
entire families dying in a matter of days.
At the age of 12 Bram left his home to attend school at Dublin’s Rutland
Square under Reverend William Wood. During these years he made up for his
childhood sickness by becoming involved in athletics and became an endurance
walker.
Following his older brothers lead in 1863, at the age of 17, he entered
Trinity College in Dublin. Only ten years after he took his first steps he was now
six foot two and 175 pounds. He joined several clubs and groups; he became
president of the Philosophical Society, auditor of the Historical Society, he played
soccer, was unbeatable in his walking marathons, and after two years he became
the athletics champion of Trinity. In 1866 Bram took a one year leave of absence
from Trinity to work as a clerk in the Registrar of Petty Sessions at Dublin Castle.
Later in the year he saw the play The Rivals playing the lead, Captain Absolute,
was the British actor Henry Irving, a person who would play a major role in
Bram’s life. He was so impressed by Irving’s performance he wrote:
“What I saw, to my amazement and delight , was a patrician figure as
real as the person of one’s dreams, and endowed with the same poetic
grace. A young soldier, handsome, distinguished, self-dependent;
compact of grace and slumberous energy. A man of quality who stood
out from his surroundings on the stage as a being of another social
world. A figure full of dash and fine irony, and whose ridicule
seemed to bite; buoyant with the joy of life; self-conscious; an
offensive egoist envy in his love-making; of supreme and
unsurpassable insolence, veiled and shrouded in his fine quality of
manner.”
He returned to Trinity after his absence and graduated in 1871 with a degree
in science, he then stayed on to earn his masters degree in pure mathematics. After
graduation he assumed a position as the unpaid drama critic for the “Evening
Mail,” he also wrote short stories on the side. A year later, in 1872, The London
Society published his short story The Crystal Cup, and in 1875 his four part serial
The Chain of Destiny this was Bram’s first horror story. At about this same time he
quit his job at the Evening Mail to take a job as drama critic at the Dublin Mail.
Three years later he became editor of The Halfpenny Press, but quit after four
months.
In 1876 Henry Irving returned to Dublin, Stoker went to see Irving in the
play Hamlet. Stoker praised the actor in his newspaper column when he wrote; “In
his fits of passion there is a realism that no one but a genius can ever effect.”
Irving read this the next morning and asked the manager of the theater to introduce
him to Bram, they met that night for dinner at the Shelbourne Hotel. Stoker saw
Irving in Hamlet two more time hoping to find some flaw in the performance.
Stoker and Irving met often and soon discovered they had much in common and
became quick friends. On December 11th, 1876 Irving was awarded two honors
from Trinity College, the first was an address drafted by Stoker, the second was a
performance of Hamlet starring Irving himself.
After Irving left Stoker continued his job as a clerk at Dublin Castle. In
1878 he was promoted to Inspector of Petty Sessions, he received a pay raise but
this also required him to travel for weeks at a time. Because of this he missed
opening nights, so he resigned his job as drama critic of the Dublin Mail. In 1978
Bram wrote his first book entitled The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in
Ireland, this book outlined how clerks were to carry out their various
responsibilities from how to deal with lunatics to how to license dogs. Irving
returned several times to Dublin over the next year, he performed at Trinity
College, and also performed pieces