Dracula is an 1897 Gothic horror novel by Irish author Bram Stoker. Famous for introducing the character of the vampire Count Dracula, the novel tells the story of Dracula’s attempt to move from Transylvania to England, and the battle between Dracula and a small group of men and women led by Professor Abraham Van Helsing. Dracula has been assigned to many literary genres including vampire literature, horror fiction, the gothic novel and invasion literature. The novel touches on themes such as the role of women in Victorian culture, sexual conventions, immigration, colonialism, and post-colonialism. Although Stoker did not invent the vampire, he defined its modern form, and the novel has spawned numerous theatrical, film and television interpretations.
Stoker had been publishing horror stories since 1875 and published his first novel, Snake’s Pass, in 1890. The horror genre, which was born of folk tales and legends, had received a boost in 18th century England through the Gothic movement. The Dead Un-Dead was one of Stoker’s original titles for Dracula, and up until a few weeks before publication, the manuscript was titled simply The Un-Dead. Stoker’s notes for Dracula show that the name of the count was originally “Count Wampyr”, but while doing research, Stoker became intrigued by the name “Dracula”, which means Devil in Romanian.
When it was first published, in 1897, Dracula was not an immediate bestseller It did not make much money for Stoker; the last year of his life he was so poor that he had to petition for a compassionate grant from the Royal Literary Fund, and in 1913 his widow was forced to sell his notes and outlines of the novel at a Sotheby’s auction, where they were purchased for a little over 2 pounds. It only reached its broad iconic legendary classic status later in the 20th century when the movie versions appeared.