Bram Stoker – The man behind ‘Dracula’

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Abraham Stoker or Bram Stoker as most ‘Dracula’ fans know him, was born the 8th of November 1847. He died in 1912 at the age of 64. He Is an Irish author best known for the novel ‘Dracula.’  He published ‘Dracula’ at the age of 50. Bram spent the early part of his childhood confined to his bed because of a mysterious illness. Looking back on this part of his life Bram mentions that “I was naturally thoughtful, and the leisure of long illness gave opportunity for many thoughts which were fruitful according to their kind in later years.” Bram married Florence Balcome and they had only one child together. This child they named Irving.

Here are some interesting facts about Bram Stoker:

Bram Stoker was the third child of seven.

Even though bed-ridden for most of his childhood he later on excelled in athletics being named University Athlete at Trinity College in Dublin.

Before Florence Balcome married Bram Stoker she actually had another suitor interested in her. His name was Oscar Wilde. Florence chose to be with Bram instead of Oscar. This left Oscar upset enough that he left the country.

Henry Irving and Bram Stoker became close friends. This happened when Bram wrote a review of Hamlet that impressed Henry. A few years later Bram ended up managing Henry Irving’s theatre and career.

‘Dracula’ was inspired by an essay written by Emily Gerard called ‘Transylvania Superstitions.’ Stoker himself had never visited Eastern Europe so he spent a lot of time on research, 7 years in fact.

‘Dracula’ was originally titled ‘The Un-dead’ and ‘Count Dracula’ was originally going to be called ‘Count Wampyr.’

‘Dracula’ wasn’t the first story ever written about vampires. The story ‘Camilla’ written by Sheridan Le Fanu was about a lesbian vampire who stalked young women in 1871. There also happened to be a horror series by James Malcolm Rymer called ‘Varney the Vampire,’ that also came before ‘Dracula.’

Walt Whitman was one of his favourite authors.

Bram’s death didn’t attract much attention in 1912 because it was around the same time as the Titanic hit an iceberg. The Titanic was big news at the time.

There are many different opinions on what the final cause of Bram’s death was. Daniel Farson, Bram Stoker’s grandnephew says in his biography the cause of death was Locomotor Ataxy – know in those days as general paralysis of the insane.

Check out some of Bram Stokers other writing:

The Snakes Pass

Seven Golden Buttons

The Watter’s Mou

The Lair of the White Worm

The Lady of the Shroud

The Jewel of the Seven Stars

The Shoulder of Shasta

The Man (A.K.A The Gates of Life)

Lady Athlyne

The Mystery of the Sea

 

Short Stories:

Under the Sunset (Eight fairy tales for children)

Snowbound: The Record of a Theatrical Touring Party

Dracula’s Guests and Other Weird Stories

 

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Andrew Mcgahan: An Author of Many Genres

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Andrew McGahan was born 1965 in Dalby, Queensland, Australia. He grew up on a wheat farm with 9 other brothers and sisters. After finishing school he went to the University of Queensland to do an Arts degree, but ended up dropping out half-way through it. He then went on to write his first novel, but unfortunately this was never published. The next few years became a ‘floating’ stage in life for him, doing an array of jobs, until he published his first book in 1992. This book was Praise. When he wrote Praise in 1991 he received The Australian/Vogel Literary Award for unpublished novels. Praise is about the truth and dark humour of a young person growing up in Australia. It is also about a relationship sustained by drugs, alcohol and sex. Some say that this novel is a some-what an auto biography. Praise is considered to be in the genre of grunge literature.

In 1995 Andrew went on to write a prequel to Praise called 1988. When Andrew tried to write a third novel after 1988, he found it difficult. Instead of writing something in the genre of grunge literature he ended up writing a crime novel. This novel was called Last Drinks. Last Drinks won a Ned Kelly Award for crime writing. From this point forward nothing seemed to be able to stop Andrew from writing great novels. He went on to write The White Earth , Underground, Wonders of a Godless World, The Coming of the Whirlpool and The Voyage of the Unquiet Ice. Andrew McGahan has written in many different genres throughout his writing career and it has proven to be a great success.

Andrew Mcgahan is an Australian author that shows writing is a struggle, but if you stick with it you may just make it.

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Some things you didn’t know about J. R. R. Tolkien

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Everyone knows that J. R. R. Tolkien wrote the Lord of the Rings books, but what else do you know about Tolkien? John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was his full name. He was born in South Africa on the 3rd of January 1892 and died on the 2nd of September 1973 at the age of 81-82. He began living in England at the age of 3, a decision made by his mother after his father passed away. He was best known for his fantasy novels: The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. Tolkien was one of the authors to bring the genre of fantasy to the forefront in literature.

Here are some interesting facts on Tolkien:

Most of Tolkien’s ancestors were craftsmen. The surname Tolkien comes from the German word Tollkuehn, which means fool-hardy.

As a young teen Tolkien started to explore languages. The first 3 languages that Tolkien worked on were Animalic, (which he didn’t invent himself) Nevbosh (means ‘new nonsense’) and Naffarin (he worked on by himself).

Tolkien’s wife Edith was 3 years older than him. He was not allowed to marry her until he turned 21. On the day he turned 21, he wrote to Edith asking her when he would see her again and declared his love. Edith wrote back telling him that she was already engaged to another man. The reason for this was that she believed Tolkien had forgotten about her. Tolkien got on a train to see her as soon as he heard. She returned the engagement ring to the other man and accepted Tolkien’s proposal.

Tolkien fought in World War I and lost many of his friends there.

Tolkien wrote an essay in 1936 Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics. ‘Beowulf’ wasn’t highly regarded at the time as great literature. After Tolkien’s essay things changed and people started to see ‘Beowulf’ in a different light. If it wasn’t for Tolkien many of us would never of even heard of ‘Beowulf.’

Tolkien was friends with C.S. Lewis.

When Tolkien’s son Michael entered the army and had to fill in paper work, he put down that his father’s profession was a ‘Wizard.’

Tolkien enjoyed forming clubs while he was at university. One was a Viking club and the other was a club called ‘the inklings.’ ( a literary discussion group)

Tolkien always saw himself as a scholar first and a writer second. He was skeptical of his fans, believing that they were incapable of really appreciating his work.

Most people think of The Lord of the Rings books as a trilogy, because that is how they were published, but in fact it is meant to be one novel.

Tolkien didn’t see ‘Frodo’ as being the main hero of The Lord of the Rings. He always claimed that ‘Sam’ was the real hero of the story. If most people knew this before they read the books, it would definitely change how it is seen.

The Lord of the Rings took Tolkien 14 years to write. It is also believed that when he needed a copy of the manuscript, he didn’t have the resources to make one, so he retyped the whole thing again himself.

Some of Tolkien’s publications that you should consider reading are: Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics.

The Hobbit

The Lord of the Rings

The Silmarillion

Unfinished Tales and The History of Middle-Earth

The Children of Hurin

The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun

Children’s stories:

The Father Christmas Letters

Mr Bliss

Roverandom

Tree and Leaf

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil

On Fairy-Stories (an essay)

Smith of Wootton Major

Farmer Giles of Ham

J. R. R. Tolkien was an author with the ability to create worlds that were as believable as our reality.

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