New York : Liveright Publishing Corporation, 
xvii, 652 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm ISBN/ISSN:
9781631490101, 1631490109, Language:
"A groundbreaking biography reveals the haunted origins of the man who created Dracula and traces the psychosexual contours of late Victorian society. Bram Stoker, despite having a name nearly as famous as his legendary undead Count, has remained a puzzling enigma. Now, in this psychological and cultural portrait, David J. Skal exhumes the inner world and strange genius of the writer who conjured an undying cultural icon. Stoker was inexplicably paralyzed as a boy, and his story unfolds against a backdrop of Victorian medical mysteries and horrors: cholera and famine fever, childhood opium abuse, frantic bloodletting, mesmeric quack cures, and the gnawing obsession with "bad blood" that informs every page of Dracula. Stoker's ambiguous sexuality is explored through his lifelong acquaintance and romantic rival, Oscar Wilde, who emerges as Stoker's repressed shadow side--a doppelgänger worthy of a Gothic novel. The psychosexual dimensions of Stoker's passionate youthful correspondence with Walt Whitman, his punishing work ethic, and his slavish adoration of the actor Sir Henry Irving are examined in splendidly gothic detail."--
First published in 1897, Dracula has had a long and multifaceted afterlife--one rivaling even its immortal creation; yet Bram Stoker has remained a hovering specter in this pervasive mythology. Cultural historian David J. Skal exhumes the inner world and strange genius of the writer who birthed an undying cultural icon, painting an astonishing portrait of the age in which Stoker was born--a time when death was no metaphor but a constant threat, easily imagined as a character existing in flesh and blood. Skal draws on a wealth of newly discovered documents to challenge much of our accepted wisdom about Dracula, Stoker, and the late Victorian age. Staging Stoker's life against a grisly tableau of the myriad anxieties plaguing the Victorian fin de siecle, Skal investigates Stoker's "transgendered imagination," unearthing Stoker's unpublished, sexually ambiguous poetry and his passionate youthful correspondence with Walt Whitman--printed in full here for the very first time. Born into a middle-class Protestant family in Dublin in "Black 47"--the year the potato famine swept the country--Stoker's early years unfold alongside a parade of Victorian medical mysteries and horrors: cholera and typhus, frantic bloodletting, mesmeric quack cures and the gnawing obsession with "bad blood" that colors Dracula. While destined to become best known for his legendary undead Count, Stoker would become a prolific writer, critic, and theater producer, rubbing shoulders with Henry Irving, Hall Caine, and Lady lane Wilde and her salon set--including her fated-to-he-infamous son Oscar. In this probing psychological and cultural portrait of the man who brought us one of the most memorable monsters in history, Skal reveals a lifetime spent wrestling with the greatest questions of an era--a time riddled by disease, competing attitudes toward sex and gender, and unprecedented scientific innovation accompanied by rising paranoia and crises of faith. Stoker's battle resulted in a resilient modern folktale that continues to shock and enthrall; perhaps the most frightening thing about Dracula, Skal writes, "is the strong probability that it meant far less to Bram Stoker than it has come to mean to us."--Adapted from dust jacket
Bram Stoker: the final curtain? -- The child that went with the fairies -- Mesmeric influences -- Songs of Calamus, songs of Sappho -- Engagements and commitments -- Londoners -- Pantomimes from Hell -- The Isle of Men -- A land beyond the forest -- Undead Oscar -- Mortal coils -- The curse of Dracula
Related Searches: Stoker, Bram, -- 1847-1912Novelists, English -- Biography -- 19th centuryTheatrical managers -- Biography -- Great BritainBiographiesBiographies.Biography.Added--201701 abio
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