Bram Stoker’s reading featured in Festival of History

Paul Murray and Jason McElligott gave a talk on Bram Stoker on 3 October at City Hall.

Best known as the creator of Dracula, Bram Stoker walked through the graveyard of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin on Wednesday, 4th of July 1866 and followed the path past the gravestones to the steps which led up to the entrance of Marsh’s Library.Over the next year Stoker returned to the Library on six separate occasions. Detailed records happen to survive of what he consulted on his visits. Until now, we have known very little about Bram’s life in Dublin before he moved to London in 1878. These newly-discovered documents shed important light on the preoccupations and interests of the young Stoker, and may force us to abandon traditional Freudian interpretations of his literary works.

It may now be possible to reassess Stoker both as a writer consciously engaged with the great works of English literature, stretching all the way back to Chaucer, and as an avid reader of polemical books and pamphlets from the era of Oliver Cromwell and William of Orange. The talk explored how an appreciation of Puritanism in general, and polemical pamphlets from the seventeenth century in particular, lays bare some of the earliest and deepest roots of Stoker’s fiction.  The event was moderated by Professor Geoff Kemp of the University of Auckland.

Paul Murray is the author of From the Shadow of Dracula: A Life of Bram Stoker (2004).

Dr Jason McElligott is The Keeper of Marsh’s Library, Dublin.

Text from the Dublin Festival of History website

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