Something in the Blood

Something in the Blood

The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote Dracula

Book - 2016
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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.
Publisher: New York : Liveright Publishing Corporation, [2016]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781631490101
1631490109
Characteristics: xvii, 652 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm

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aafleming
Aug 06, 2017

This is supposedly a biography of Bram Stoker. There is quite a lot of information about Bram Stoker's life and the possible influences which lead him to write Dracula, but to get it you have to wade through reams and reams and reams of either unrelated or only peripherally related material. This author is obsessed with the playwright Oscar Wilde, who was a contemporary of Stoker's though not a close friend. Stoker's wife was once engaged to Wilde. One reviewer on Amazon says "this is a great biography of Oscar Wilde" and he was not far off the mark. This author is also obsessed with homosexuality in the 1800's (Bram Stoker lived from 1847 to 1912) and in addition to huge portions devoted to Oscar Wilde, this whole massive book absolutely throbs with the author's belief that Stoker was a closet homosexual who may or may not have ever acted on his supposed desires. It's certainly a possibility but the amount of time this author spends on the subject is ridiculous, and quite tedious. What I eventually did was skim over all the extraneous material and just read the parts that were actually about Bram Stoker but it was a very irritating experience.

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