Today on May 26, 1897, the iconic horror novel Dracula debuts across London, England.
The renowned Irish novelist, Bram Stoker, began writing Dracula several years before its debut. Only seven years earlier, he published his first horror novel named The Snake’s Pass. Stoker eventually went on to become one of the most famous gothic writers of the Victorian era. Throughout his career, he published a total of seventeen novels with Dracula being his most well-known achievement. The iconic book was written in a unique form compared to most literary works today. The story is presented as a series of journal and diary entries from its main characters. The plot centers on the main character Count Dracula; a vampire from Transylvania (located in present-day Romania) who makes his way to Yorkshire, England.
The Count begins preying on the local population shortly after arriving in England. As a vampire, he needed to bite and drink the blood of humans to stay alive. Original tales of vampires date all the way back to ancient times. From early on, the various myths suggest vampires were dead humans who left their graves at night to feast of the blood of the living. Interestingly, Stoker initially pegged the vampire’s name as Count Wampyr. However, he came across the name Dracula after reading a history book on the Wallachia region of Eastern Europe.
Dracula enjoyed modest success in its early days but failed to become mainstream before Stoker’s death in 1912. The story was adapted for Broadway in the 1920s, leading to a massive spike in production and sales. In 1931, Universal Studios released its blockbuster film, Dracula, which was directed by Tod Browning and featured Bela Lugosi. Stoker ultimately paved the way for many of the common conventions now associated with vampires. Dracula has since been adapted into countless new plays, films, and spin-off novels. Vampire folklore continues to be popular among western societies thanks to Stoker’s literary genius.