Abraham "Bram" Stoker (8 November 1847 – 20 April 1912) was an Irish novelist and short story writer, best known today for his 1897 Gothic novel Dracula. During his lifetime, he was better known as the personal assistant of actor Henry Irving and business manager of the Lyceum Theatre in London, which Irving owned.
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. After graduating with honours in 1870 he followed in his father's footsteps and joined the Civil Service with Dublin Castle. 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, a position he held for almost thirty years. Later Stoker would publish Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving and "Snowbound: The Record of a Theatrical Touring Party" which includes such theatre-based stories as "The Slim Syrens", "Mick the Devil", and "A Star Trap".
In 1878 Stoker married actress Florence Balcombe with whom he had a son, Irving Noel Thornley. Stoker left his job in Dublin and the couple settled in London. It was here that Stoker became acquainted with many famous authors of the time such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Oscar Wilde, and William Butler Yeats. Stoker started to write novels including The Primrose Path, The Snake's Pass, The Watter's Mou', The Shoulder of Shasta, Miss Betty and short stories collected in Under the Sunset.
In 1890 Stoker holidayed in the village of Whitby in Yorkshire, where it is said he gleaned much inspiration for his novel Dracula. Other works by Stoker include The Mystery of the Sea, his Egyptian mummy themed The Jewel of Seven Stars, The Man, Lady Athlyne, The Lady of the Shroud, Famous Impostors, and The Lair of the White Worm which also includes elements found in Dracula like unseen evil, strange creatures, inexplicable events, and supernatural horrors.
Bram Stoker died in London, England on 20 April 1912. His ashes were mingled with his son's and they now rest in the Golders Green Crematorium in London, England. His wife Florence survived him by twenty-five years and had "Dracula's Guest and Other Weird Stories" published in 1922. Some claim that the story "Dracula's Guest" was actually supposed to be the first chapter for his novel Dracula.
No man knows till he has suffered from the night how sweet and dear to
his heart and eye the morning can be.