Horror writer Bram Stoker’s classic vampire tale, Dracula, is first offered for sale in London on this day.
Through fictional journal entries and letters written by the novel’s principal characters, Dracula tells the story of a Transylvanian vampire and his English victims. Stoker had been publishing horror stories since 1875 and published his first novel, Snake’s Pass, in 1890. The horror genre, which was born of folk tales and legends, had received a boost in 18th century England through the Gothic movement. It persisted in the 19th century thanks to works like Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein.
Stoker was born in Dublin and bedridden for his first seven years of life. However, he later distinguished himself as an athlete at the University of Dublin. He worked in civil service for a decade while writing drama reviews. In 1878, he became the manager of Sir Henry Irving, an actor he admired. He managed Irving for 27 years. Stoker wrote several other novels before his death in London in 1912, but none equaled the popularity of Dracula.