Bram Stoker – Count Mustachacula

Since Halloween is just around the corner one of the most famous horror stories of all time will be aired. You know it as Dracula. But the man behind Dracula wore a Mustache. Vampires may not cast a reflection in the mirror, they can turn into a bat and suck blood, but they do it best while wearing the Mustache.

Written in epistolary fashion, Stoker introduces us to the young solicitor Jonathan Harker as he travels to Transylvania to assist Count Dracula in a real estate transaction. While the first chapter starts off pleasantly enough, Harker soon begins to note odd happenings and details of the people and events he experiences while travelling deeper and deeper into the Carpathians. Gloomy castles standing high in the mountains, odd figures half-obscured by the dark, eerie landscapes with flashing lights, and howling wolves trail Harker as he journeys … unaware of the mystery and horrors he and his love Mina Murray are soon to become entangled with. Only with the help of such noted characters as Professor Van Helsing, John Seward, Arthur Holmwood, and Quincey Morris does good prevail over evil.

Dracula is often referred to as the definitive vampire novel, but it is possible that Stoker was influenced by Joseph Sheridan LeFanu’s (1814-1873) Gothic vampire novella Carmilla (1872). While Stoker wrote numerous novels and short stories, he is chiefly remembered today as the author of this best-selling novel. It has been translated to dozens of languages, inspired numerous other author’s works, been adapted to the stage and film including the first version, Nosferatu (1922), starring Max Schreck. Dracula is still widely read and remains in print today.

Abraham “Bram” Stoker was born on 8 November 1847 in Clontarf, a suburb of Dublin, Ireland, the third of seven children–William Thornley, Mathilda, Thomas, Richard, Margaret, and George–born to Charlotte Mathilda Blake Thornely (1818-1901) and Abraham Stoker (1799-1876), Civil Servant. He was a sickly child, spending great amounts of time bed-ridden, barely able to walk. However, having fully recovered, in 1864 he entered Trinity College, Dublin to study mathematics, and, despite his earlier years of illness became involved in athletics, winning many awards. He was also elected President of the Philosophical Society. After graduating with honours in 1870 he followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the Civil Service with Dublin Castle, which inspired his The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland (1879). From his great love of the arts Stoker also started to write theatre reviews for the Dublin Evening Mail. One particular review of a performance of William Shakespeare‘s Hamlet with actor [Sir] Henry Irving (1838-1905) in the lead role led to a great friendship between the two men and in 1878 Irving asked Stoker to be the manager of his Lyceum Theatre in London, England, a position he held for almost thirty years. Later Stoker would publish Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving (2 volumes, 1906) and Snowbound: The Record of a Theatrical Touring Party (1908) which includes such theatre-based stories as “The Slim Syrens”, “Mick the Devil”, and “A Star Trap

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