English Blood, Irish Heart
Abraham (‘Bram’) Stoker was born in 1847, when Le Fanu was hoping to achieve an independent Ascendancy Irish parliament. He was a sickly child, nursed by his formidable mother, Charlotte Thornley Stoker (probably the inspiration for his heroine, Mina Harker). He survived to become a noted athlete at Trinity College. His father had been a clerk in the Irish colonial administration and got Bram a job there. The son surpassed the father, becoming clerk of inspection of petty sessions before he was 30 and producing a standard textbook, Duties of the clerks of petty sessions, in 1878. By then he had resigned from the civil service to become business manager for the actor Henry Irving, influenced, perhaps, by his conversion to the cause of Irish Home Rule. He remained Irving’s manager until the actor died in 1906, published a memoir of his association and died in April 1912. Meanwhile, he published many minor novels, of which The jewel of the seven stars may have inspired the mummy horror movies, and he produced Dracula.