Author(s): David J. Skal
Bram Stoker, despite having a name nearly as famous as Count Dracula, has remained an enigma. David J. Skal, in a psychological and cultural portrait, exhumes the inner world and strange genius of the writer who conjured an undying cultural icon. Stoker was inexplicably paralysed as a boy and his story unfolds against a backdrop of Victorian medical mysteries and horrors: fever, opium abuse, bloodletting, quack cures and the obsession with "bad blood" that inform every page of Dracula. Stoker's ambiguous sexuality is explored through his acquaintance with Oscar Wilde, who emerges as Stoker's repressed shadow self-a doppelganger worthy of a Gothic novel. The psychosexual dimensions of Stoker's correspondence with Walt Whitman, his punishing work ethic and his adoration of the actor Henry Irving are examined in scholarly detail.
David J. Skal is a leading American cultural historian and critic of horror films and Gothic literature. The author of The Monster Show and Hollywood Gothic, he lives in Glendale, California.