Today marks the 165th birthday of Abraham Bram Stoker, the brains behind one of the most iconic and terrifying figures of all time, Dracula. Joining the dead on the 20th of April 1912 Stoker’s works still today remain in both print and interest all over the world.
Some of his best-known novels include The Mystery of the Sea, The Lair of the White Worm, The Lady of the Shroud and The Jewel of the Seven Seas though Dracula was undoubtedly his most successful work. First published in 1897 Dracula both frightened and enthralled readers whilst provoking a new kind of interest in the supernatural that still remains today.
The novel, which has been translated into over 50 languages and is the most filmed story of all time (close second being Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) features some of Yorkshire’s own landscapes that inspired Stoker as he penned the pages of Dracula and created the iconic monster whose “face was a very strong-aquiline, with high bridge of the thin nose and peculiarly arched nostrils; with lofty domed forehead, and hair growing scantily round the temples, The mouth […] with peculiarly sharp white teeth; that protruded over the lips” (Chapter 1).
Spending summers in his house on the West Cliff of Whitby, Stoker was inspired by the town’s architecture, coastline and Abbey when writing the novel. Though the most commonly associated location to Dracula remains Transylvania, it was in fact Whitby that inspired many scenes in the novel, with three chapters predominately located in the town. Well-known moments from the novel were created from Stoker’s experiences by the coast for example, the haunting shipwreck scene was inspired by a true shipwreck Stoker witnessed and many descriptions of Whitby remain accurate to the town today:
“Right over the town is the ruin of Whitby Abbey, which was sacked by the Danes, and which is the scene of part of “Marmion,” where the girl was built up in the wall. It is a most noble ruin, of immense size, and full of beautiful and romantic bits” (Chapter 6)
To celebrate the literary icon Bram Stoker and to celebrate Whitby’s contribution to the novel here are some of the most un-deadly quotes taken from Dracula:
• ”My revenge has just begun! I spread it over centuries and time is on my side.” (Chapter 23)
• ”No man knows till he experiences it, what it is like to feel his own life-blood drawn away into the woman he loves.” (Chapter 10)
• “You are but mortal woman. Time is now to be dreaded – since once he put that mark upon your throat.” (Chapter 23)
• “He was very pale, and his eyes seemed bulging out as, half in terror and half in amazement, he gazed at a tall, thin man, with a beaky nose and black moustache and pointed beard…” (Chapter 13)
• ”I don’t care for the pale people; I like them with lots of blood in them, and hers had all seemed to run out.” (Chapter 21)
• “What manner of man is this, or creature is it in the semblance of man?” (Chapter 3)