Justin Beplate

Coming out of the Coffin

Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote Dracula

By David J Skal

Liveright 652pp £25 order from our bookshop

It must be difficult for biographers of Bram Stoker to reconcile the fantastic excesses of his fictional writing with the prosaic and meagre biographical material found in his surviving letters and journal entries. Stoker the public man was a prolific correspondent and cataloguer of the minutiae of everyday life, yet there is precious little evidence of him ever confiding his innermost thoughts to paper. As David J Skal admits in his introduction to Something in the Blood, his subject left almost nothing in the way of candid or personal writings and ‘no real accounting of his life’. Even the publication of Stoker’s Lost Journal in 2012, released to coincide with the centenary of his death, did little to reveal the secret springs of his creative life, conveying instead a disappointingly impersonal grab bag of callow sketches and poetic musings.

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