To this day, the Gothic novel Dracula by Bram Stoker remains one of the most renowned horror stories and the most well-known vampire novel. The plot is about a Transylvanian aristocrat who drinks people’s blood, turns into a bat, and sleeps in coffins.
You have probably seen a version of the story to this day. It has been used in movies, TV shows, animated cartoons, comics, and many more.
That novel set the benchmark for all other writers of the vampire afterward. But how much do you know about the original novel? Do you know what inspired Stoker? Let’s take a look at some interesting facts about the famous Gothic novel.
Nightmares are common. They were common back in the day as well. And thanks to one nightmare, Dracula was born.
Stoker told his biographer, Harry Ludlam, that he was compelled to write the story after dreaming of “a vampire king rising from the tomb”.
The writer wrote notes about the dream, and used them for his famous novel.
Stoker began writing Dracula in 1890, just two years after Jack the Ripper terrorized London. And that is one of the reasons why Dracula was so successful.
Jack created a lurid atmosphere that made it more interesting for fans to read the novel.
One theory suggests that Henry Irving, Stoker’s boss of almost 30 years served as inspiration for Dracula as well. He was a renowned Shakespearean actor and owner of the Lyceum Theatre in London.
Stoker was Irving’s business manager, press agent, and secretary. And as many other Hollywood assistants, his job started early and ended late, with a lot of ego boosting in between.
Some people believe that the charismatic Irving was the basis for Dracula.
Stoker’s novel made Transylvania a popular tourist attraction. But the fun part is he never visited the country. Instead, he researched the setting as best as he could. He then imagined the rest.
The best part is his readers didn’t know the difference at the time. One of the reasons for that is Stoker added details from travel books, like train timetables, hotel names, and many more to make the novel believable.
Many people might not know this. But the working title of the famous Gothic novel was The Dead Un-dead, and was later shortened to The Un-dead.
Right before it was published, Stoker changed the name once more, this time to Dracula.
Dracula is nowadays considered the most famous Gothic novel. But it didn’t became the legend it is nowadays until the stage and screen adaptations started appearing in the 20th century.
When it was published, sales were nothing spectacular. By the end of his life, Stoker was so poor, he had to ask for a compassionate grant from the Royal Literature Fund.
Dracula was not an instant hit, we said that before. But Stoker still held onto the theatrical copyright. Following his death in 1922, a German film company made the classic movie Nosferatu.
They changed the names of the characters for it, but still didn’t get permission to use the story. Even more, Stoker’s widow sued and the German court ordered that every copy of the movie should be destroyed.
But luckily, one survived, and made its way into the United States. That copy developed a cult following and it is considered one of the definitive pieces of horror cinema.
If you haven’t watched it yet, go watch the silent German expressionist horror movie directed by F.W. Murnau.
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