Dracula was by no means the first story about a bloodsucking supernatural aristocrat: John Polidori’s (1795–1821) The Vampyre had appeared in 1819, falsely attributed to Lord Byron (1788–1824).
But, largely thanks to its reinterpretation through the 20th century in plays and over 200 films, the tale by Irishman Abraham ‘Bram’ Stoker (1847–1912) became definitive of its genre.
Part of the popular wave of horror novels of the late 1800s, many of which featured Britain under threat from some unnatural force, Dracula was first published in 1897. Stoker was working as a London theatre manager at the time, writing fiction as a sideline.
Though hardly a sensation at first, it sold well enough, as this – the 13th edition from 1919, well after Stoker’s death – demonstrates.
Some of the novel’s action takes place in Whitby, which Stoker had visited on holiday – a factor behind the town’s modern status as a centre for Goth culture.