The Dracula legend as he created it, and as it has been portrayed in films and television shows, may be a compound of various influences.
- Many of Stoker’s biographers and literary critics have found strong similarities to the earlier Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu‘s classic of the vampire genre, Carmilla.
- In writing Dracula, Stoker may also have drawn on stories about the sídhe, some of which feature blood-drinking women. The folkloric figure of Abhartach has also been suggested as a source.
- In 1983, McNally additionally suggested that Stoker was influenced by the history of Hungarian Countess Elizabeth Bathory, who tortured and killed between 36 and 700 young women over a period of many years. It was later commonly believed that she committed these crimes in order to bathe in their blood, believing that this preserved her youth.
- In her book The Essential Dracula, Clare Haword-Maden opined the castle of Count Dracula was inspired by Slains Castle, at which Bram Stoker was a guest of the 19th Earl of Erroll.
‘The rugged Transylvanian Alps provide one of the most spectacular landscapes in Europe. Hawks soar around the craggy, snow-covered peaks, while bears and chamois take refuge in the dense forests below. Medieval villages and the ruins of once-proud castles can abruptly materialize through the mist, as if daring outsiders to uncover their secrets.’
* born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1847.
Famous for introducing the character of the vampire Count Dracula, the novel tells the story of Dracula’s attempt to relocate from Transylvania to England, and the battle between Dracula and a small group of men and women led by Professor Abraham Van Helsing.
Although Stoker did not invent the vampire, he defined its modern form, and the novel has spawned numerous theatrical, film and television interpretations.
Vampire legends have been a part of popular folklore in many parts of the world since ancient times. Throughout the Middle Ages and even into the modern era, reports of corpses rising from the dead with supernatural powers achieved widespread credence.
The Dracula family, which Stoker’s count describes with pride in the early chapters of the novel, is based on a real fifteenth-century family. Its most famous member, Vlad Dracula—or Vlad the Impaler, as he was commonly known—enjoyed a bloody career that rivaled that of his fictional counterpart. The Prince of Wallachia, Vlad was a brilliant and notoriously savage general who impaled his enemies on long spikes. The prince also had a reputation for nailing the turbans of disrespectful ambassadors to their heads.
While Stoker’s Count Dracula is supposed to be a descendant of Vlad, and not the prince himself, Stoker clearly makes the count resemble his fearsome ancestor. This historical allusion gives Dracula a semblance of truth.
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