Dracula (1931)

Written By: Ken Hulsey

The former Londen Lyccum Theatre manager, Bram Stoker is often credited with creating modern vampire lore through his Victorian novel Dracula, which was published on May 18, 1897. Though the inspiration for dozens of films, TV series, books and plays, Dracula was not a successful novel and is not considered an important work in Victorian literature. It is modern folklore that the inspiration for the vampire in his book was the infamous Vlad III Dracula (“Vlad the Impaler”) yet most scholars agree that is not the case. Though Stoker did discover the name “Dracul” (Dragon) while studying Romanian history and used it for the name of his vampire character, that is where the connection ends. It is a fact that the author was inspired by earlier vampire stories such as Emily Garads “Transylvania Superstitions (1885), Sheridan Le Fanu’s “Carmilla” (1871), John Polidori’s “The Vampyre” (1819) and Lord Byron’s “The Giaour” (1813). The main inspiration, however, would come from the Hungarian Countess Elizabeth Bathory who reportedly killed 700 servant girls to bathe in or drink their blood in attempt to achieve everlasting life. Yet another inspiration was the former Lyceum Theatre manager Henry Irving. Dracula’s mannerisms and gestures were directly copied from Irving, who Stoker often tried to convince to play the vampire in a stage performance of his novel. Regardless of the true origins of Stoker’s Dracula the character has now become the stereotype for which all vampire adaptations that followed have been based.

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