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Bram Stoker: Author of Dracula (World Writers: Writers of Imagination) Library Binding – January, 1998
From School Library Journal
Grade 6 Up-While certainly a dutifully researched account, this biography fails to bring its subject to life. The writing, which often reads like a term paper, generates little interest, leaving readers with a flat recitation of events. Without providing any background, Whitelaw launches into Stoker's childhood, and from the sound of it, the tales that filled his youth would have traumatized any youngster. The author makes it clear that one reason Stoker was drawn to write such a lurid, supernatural tale was that he was fed a steady diet of similar stories from early on. However, the author repeats this point ad nauseum, forcing readers to search desperately for additional insights that might have had a bearing on his novel. The book ends abruptly with Stoker's death without placing his life or work in a historical context. Each chapter, however, begins with a list of concurrent events and cultural touchstones. A chapter-by-chapter list of sources, an appendix that briefly discusses the Dracula legend, a list of some of the many movies created about this character, and a short but helpful index are included. Black-and-white photographs, reproductions, and movie stills illustrate the text.ATim Wadham, Dallas Public Library, TX
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 6^-10. Bedridden as a young child, Bram Stoker grew up listening to his mother's terrifying tales of screaming banshees, blood-drinking fairies, and vampires rising from their graves. Perhaps just as horrific to an Irish child in the 1840s were the contemporary stories of starvation, death, and the abandonment of children during the potato famine. In later years, Stoker's fascination with horror stories would bear fruit in his novel Dracula. Whitelaw's well-documented biography pays particular attention to Stoker's management of the Lyceum (Henry Irving's theater in London), his American travels, his correspondence and meetings with Walt Whitman, and his career as a writer. Black-and-white photos illustrate the text. Appendixes include a time line, bibliography, source notes, and background information on the historical Dracula, Transylvania, vampires, and Dracula movies. There will be built-in interest for this biography. Carolyn Phelan
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Top customer reviews
Stoker did not walk until he was seven. As a child, he was often alone in his room, his vivid imagination fed by night-time visits from his beloved mother Charlotte. She was an excellent story-teller and lived to see and cheer on the publication of Dracula. The novel appeared too late to be popular: romanticism was giving way to realism in the arts. Also, a book-keeping oversight kept him from owning the copyright and therefore profits when the book was published in America.
Bram Stoker was a contemporary and friend of Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, the actor Henry Irving, and Oscar Wilde. Although writing and acting were not considered worthy vocations in Victorian England, he lived and worked in these venues all his adult life. He died in relative poverty at the age of 64.