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Bram Stoker

Photograph of Stoker c. 1912
Born Abraham Stoker
8 November 1847(1847-11-08)
Clontarf, Dublin, Ireland
Died 20 April 1912 (aged 64)
London, England, U.K.
Occupation Novelist
Nationality Irish
Period Victorian era
Genres Gothic, Romantic Fiction
Literary movement Victorian
Notable work(s) Dracula
Spouse(s) Florence Balcombe
Children Irving Noel Thornley Stoker
Relative(s) father: Abraham Stoker
mother: Charlotte Mathilda Blake Thornley
Official website

Abraham "Bram" Stoker (8 November 1847 – 20 April 1912) was an Irish novelist and short story writer, best known today for his 1897 Gothic novel Dracula. During his lifetime, he was better known as the personal assistant of actor Henry Irving and business manager of the Lyceum Theatre in London, which Irving owned.

Contents

Early life

Stoker was born in 1847 at 15 Marino Crescent, Clontarf.[1][2] His parents were Abraham Stoker (1799–1876), from Dublin, and the feminist Charlotte Mathilda Blake Thornley (1818–1901), who came from Ballyshannon, County Donegal. Stoker was the third of seven children.[3] Abraham and Charlotte were members of the Church of Ireland Parish of Clontarf and attended the parish church with their children, who were baptised there.

Stoker was bed-ridden until he started school at the age of seven, when he made a complete recovery. Of this time, Stoker wrote, "I was naturally thoughtful, and the leisure of long illness gave opportunity for many thoughts which were fruitful according to their kind in later years." He was educated in a private school run by the Rev. William Woods.[4]

After his recovery, he grew up without further major health issues, even excelling as an athlete (he was named University Athlete) at Trinity College, Dublin, which he attended from 1864 to 1870. He graduated with honours in mathematics. He was auditor of the College Historical Society and president of the University Philosophical Society, where his first paper was on "Sensationalism in Fiction and Society".

Early career

While still a student he became interested in the theatre. Through the influence of a friend, Dr. Maunsell, he became the theatre critic for a newspaper, the Dublin Evening Mail, co-owned by the author of Gothic tales Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. At a time when theatre critics were held in low esteem, he attracted notice by the quality of his reviews. In December 1876 he gave a favourable review of the actor Henry Irving's performance as Hamlet at the Theatre Royal in Dublin. Irving read the review and invited Stoker for dinner at the Shelbourne Hotel, where he was staying. After that they became friends. Stoker also wrote stories, and in 1872 "The Crystal Cup" was published by the London Society, followed by "The Chain of Destiny" in four parts in The Shamrock. In 1876, while employed as a civil servant in Dublin, Stoker wrote a non-fiction book (The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland, published 1879), which long remained a standard work on the subject.[4]

Bram Stoker's former home, Kildare Street, Dublin, Ireland.

Lyceum Theatre and later career

In 1878 Stoker married Florence Balcombe, daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel James Balcombe of 1 Marino Crescent, a celebrated beauty whose former suitor was Oscar Wilde[5]. Stoker had known Wilde from his student days, having proposed him for membership of the university’s Philosophical Society while he was president. Wilde was upset at Florence's decision, but Stoker later resumed the acquaintanceship, and after Wilde's fall visited him on the Continent.[6]

The Stokers moved to London, where Stoker became acting-manager and then business manager of Irving's Lyceum Theatre, London, a post he held for 27 years. On 31 December 1879, Bram and Florence's only child was born, a son whom they christened Irving Noel Thornley Stoker. The collaboration with Irving was very important for Stoker and through him he became involved in London's high society, where he met, among other notables, James Abbott McNeill Whistler and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (to whom he was distantly related). Working for Irving, the most famous actor of his time, and managing one of the most successful theatres in London made Stoker a notable if very busy man. He was absolutely dedicated to Irving and his memoirs of Irving show how he idolised him. In London Stoker also met Hall Caine who became one of his closest friends - he dedicated Dracula to him.

In the course of Irving's tours, Stoker got the chance to travel around the world, although he never visited Eastern Europe, a setting for his most famous novel. Stoker particularly enjoyed visits to the United States, where Irving was popular. With Irving he was invited twice to the White House, and knew both William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. Stoker was a great admirer of the country, setting two of his novels there and using Americans as characters, the most notable being Quincey Morris. He also got a chance to meet one of his literary idols Walt Whitman.

The first edition cover of Dracula

Writings

While working as manager for actor Henry Irving, and as secretary and director of London's Lyceum Theatre, he began writing novels beginning with The Snake's Pass in 1890 and Dracula in 1897. During this period, Stoker was also part of the literary staff of the London Telegraph newspaper and wrote other works of fiction, including the horror novels The Lady of the Shroud (1909) and The Lair of the White Worm (1911).[7] In 1906, after Irving's death, he published his life of Irving, which proved very successful[4] and managed productions at the Prince of Wales Theatre.

Before writing Dracula, Stoker spent several years researching European folklore and mythological stories of vampires. Dracula is an epistolary novel, written as a collection of realistic, but completely fictional, diary entries, telegrams, letters, ship's logs, and newspaper clippings, all of which added a level of detailed realism to his story, a skill he developed as a newspaper writer. At the time of its publication, it was considered a "straightforward horror novel" based on imaginary creations of supernatural life.[7] "It gave form to a universal fantasy . . . and became a part of popular culture."[7]

According to the Encyclopedia of World Biography, Stoker's stories are today included within the categories of "horror fiction," "romanticized Gothic" stories, and "melodrama."[7] They are classified alongside other "works of popular fiction" such as Shelley's Frankenstein[8]:394 which, according to historian Jules Zanger, also used the "myth-making" and story-telling method of having "multiple narrators" telling the same tale from different perspectives. "'They can't all be lying,' thinks the reader."[9]

The original 541-page manuscript of Dracula, believed to have been lost, was found in a barn in northwestern Pennsylvania during the early 1980s.[10] It included the typed manuscript with many corrections, and handwritten on the title page was "THE UN-DEAD." The author's name was shown at the bottom as Bram Stoker. Author Robert Latham notes, "the most famous horror novel ever published, its title changed at the last minute."[8]

Stoker's inspirations for the story, in addition to Whitby, may have included a visit to Slains Castle in Aberdeenshire, a visit to the crypts of St. Michan's Church in Dublin and the novella Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu.[11]

Death

After suffering a number of strokes Bram Stoker died at No 26 St George's Square in 1912.[12] Some biographers attribute the cause of death to tertiary syphilis[13]. He was cremated and his ashes placed in a display urn at Golders Green Crematorium. After Irving Noel Stoker's death in 1961, his ashes were added to that urn. The original plan had been to keep his parents' ashes together, but after Florence Stoker's death her ashes were scattered at the Gardens of Rest. To visit his remains at Golders Green, visitors must be escorted to the room the urn is housed in, for fear of vandalism.

Beliefs and philosophy

Stoker was brought up as a Protestant, in the Church of Ireland. He was a strong supporter of the Liberal party. He took a keen interest in Irish affairs[4] and was what he called a "philosophical Home Ruler", believing in Home Rule for Ireland brought about by peaceful means - but as an ardent monarchist he believed that Ireland should remain within the British Empire which he believed was a force for good. He was a great admirer of Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone whom he knew personally, and admired his plans for Ireland[14].

Stoker had a strong interest in science and medicine and a belief in progress. Some of his novels like The Lady of the Shroud (1909) can be seen as early science fiction. Like many people of his time Stoker believed in the concept of scientific racism drawing on his belief in Phrenology and these fears form elements in novels like Dracula.[citation needed] This is also reflected in his interest in early theories of criminology - he read both Cesare Lombroso and Max Nordau and used them in Dracula.[citation needed]

Stoker had an interest in the occult especially mesmerism, but was also wary of occult fraud and believed strongly that superstition should be replaced by more scientific ideas. In the mid 1890s, Stoker is rumoured to have become a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, though there is no concrete evidence to support this claim.[15][16] One of Stoker's closest friends was J.W. Brodie-Innis, a major figure in the Order, and Stoker himself hired Pamela Coleman Smith, as an artist at the Lyceum Theater.

Posthumous

The short story collection Dracula's Guest and Other Weird Stories was published in 1914 by Stoker's widow Florence Stoker. The first film adaptation of Dracula was released in 1922 and was named Nosferatu. It was directed by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau and starred Max Schreck as Count Orlock. Nosferatu was produced while Florence Stoker, Bram Stoker's widow and literary executrix, was still alive. Represented by the attorneys of the British Incorporated Society of Authors, she eventually sued the filmmakers. Her chief legal complaint was that she had been neither asked for permission for the adaptation nor paid any royalty. The case dragged on for some years, with Mrs. Stoker demanding the destruction of the negative and all prints of the film. The suit was finally resolved in the widow's favour in July 1925. Some copies of the film survived, however and the film has become well known. The first authorized film version of Dracula did not come about until almost a decade later when Universal Studios released Tod Browning's Dracula starring Bela Lugosi.

Because of the Stokers' frustrating history with Dracula's copyright, a great-grandnephew of Bram Stoker, Canadian writer Dacre Stoker, with encouragement from screenwriter Ian Holt, decided to write "a sequel that bore the Stoker name" to "reestabish creative control over" the original novel. In 2009, Dracula: The Un-Dead was released, written by Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt. Both writers "based [their work] on Bram Stoker's own handwritten notes for characters and plot threads excised from the original edition" along with their own research for the sequel. This also marked Dacre Stoker's writing debut.[17][18]

Bibliography

Novels

Bram Stoker Commemorative Plaque, Whitby, England (2002)

Short story collections

Uncollected stories

  • "The Bridal of Death" (alternate ending to The Jewel of Seven Stars)
  • "Buried Treasures"
  • "The Chain of Destiny"
  • "The Crystal Cup"
  • "The Dualitists; or, The Death Doom of the Double Born"
  • "Lord Castleton Explains" (chapter 10 of The Fate of Fenella)
  • "The Gombeen Man" (chapter 3 of The Snake's Pass)
  • "In the Valley of the Shadow"
  • "The Man from Shorrox"
  • "Midnight Tales"
  • "The Red Stockade"
  • "The Seer" (chapters 1 and 2 of The Mystery of the Sea)

Non-fiction

  • The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland (1879)
  • A Glimpse of America (1886)
  • Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving (1906)
  • Famous Impostors (1910)
  • Bram Stoker's Notes for Dracula: A Facsimile Edition (2008) Bram Stoker Annotated and Transcribed by Robert Eighteen-Bisang and Elizabeth Miller, Foreword by Michael Barsanti. Jefferson NC & London: McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-3410-7

Critical Works on Stoker

References and notes

  1. ^ Belford, Barbara (2002). Bram Stoker and the Man Who Was Dracula. Cambridge, Mass.: Da Capo Press. p. 17. ISBN 0-306-81098-0. 
  2. ^ Note, as location has led to multiple edits: The location was, and is, in the Civil Parish of Clontarf. Clontarf extends to the east side of the Malahide Road and borders Marino. Fairview is further west commencing just after Marino Mart.
  3. ^ His siblings were: Sir (William) Thornley Stoker, born in 1845; Mathilda, born 1846; Thomas, born 1850; Richard, born 1852; Margaret, born 1854; and George, born 1855
  4. ^ a b c d Obituary, Irish Times, 23 April 1912
  5. ^ Irish Times, 8 March 1882, page 5
  6. ^ "Why Dracula never loses his bite". Irish Times. last modified 2009. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/weekend/2009/0328/1224243595688.html. Retrieved 2009-01-04. 
  7. ^ a b c d Encyclopedia of World Biography, Gale Research (1998) vol 8. pgs. 461-464
  8. ^ a b Latham, Robert. Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Review Annual, Greenwood Publishing (1988) p. 67
  9. ^ Zanger, Jules. Blood Read: The Vampire as Metaphor in Contemporary Culture ed. Joan Gordon. Univ. of Pennsylvania Press (1997), pgs. 17-24
  10. ^ http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122514491757273633.html
  11. ^ Boylan, Henry (1998). A Dictionary of Irish Biography, 3rd Edition. Dublin: Gill and MacMillan. p. 412. ISBN 0-7171-2945-4. 
  12. ^ "Bram Stoker". Victorian Web. last modified 1998. http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/stoker/bio.html. Retrieved 2008-12-12. 
  13. ^ Gibson, Peter (1985). The Capital Companion. Webb & Bower. pp. 365–366. ISBN 0863500420. 
  14. ^ Murray, Paul. From the Shadow of Dracula: A Life of Bram Stoker. 2004.
  15. ^ Ravenscroft, Trevor (1982). The occult power behind the spear which pierced the side of Christ. Red Wheel. pp. p165. ISBN 0877285470. 
  16. ^ Picknett, Lynn (2004). The Templar Revelation: Secret Guardians of the True Identity of Christ. Simon and Schuster. pp. p201. ISBN 0743273257. 
  17. ^ Dracula: The Un-Dead by Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt
  18. '^ Dracula: The Undeads overview
  19. ^ http://muse.jhu.edu/login?uri=/journals/victorian_studies/v044/44.2glover.html

External links

Online texts


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

No man knows till he has suffered from the night how sweet and dear to his heart and eye the morning can be.

Abraham Stoker (8 November 184720 April 1912) was an Irish novelist and short story writer, best remembered as the author of the influential horror novel Dracula; he wrote under the name Bram Stoker.

Contents

Sourced

Dracula (1897)

  • I heard a heavy step approaching behind the great door, and saw through the chinks the gleam of a coming light. Then there was the sound of rattling chains and the clanking of massive bolts drawn back. A key was turned with the loud grating noise of long disuse, and the great door swung back.
    Within, stood a tall old man, clean shaven save for a long white moustache, and clad in black from head to foot, without a single speck of colour about him anywhere. He held in his hand an antique silver lamp, in which the flame burned without a chimney or globe of any kind, throwing long quivering shadows as it flickered in the draught of the open door. The old man motioned me in with his right hand with a courtly gesture, saying in excellent English, but with a strange intonation.
    "Welcome to my house! Enter freely and of your own free will!"
    • Jonathan Harker's journal
  • I am Dracula, and I bid you welcome, Mr. Harker, to my house. Come in, the night air is chill, and you must need to eat and rest.
    • Dracula to Jonathan Harker
  • We are in Transylvania, and Transylvania is not England. Our ways are not your ways, and there shall be to you many strange things.
    • Dracula to Jonathan Harker
  • Listen to them - children of the night. What music they make.
    • Dracula referring to the howling of the wolves to Jonathan Harker.
Nothing is too small. I counsel you, put down in record even your doubts and surmises. Hereafter it may be of interest to you to see how true you guess. We learn from failure, not from success!
  • No man knows till he has suffered from the night how sweet and dear to his heart and eye the morning can be.
    • Jonathan Harker
  • Despair has its own calms.
    • Jonathan Harker
  • Nothing is too small. I counsel you, put down in record even your doubts and surmises. Hereafter it may be of interest to you to see how true you guess. We learn from failure, not from success!
    • Professor Van Helsing to Dr. Seward
  • He seemed so confident that I, remembering my own confidence two nights before and with the baneful result, felt awe and vague terror. It must have been my weakness that made me hesitate to tell it to my friend, but I felt it all the more, like unshed tears.
    • Dr. John Seward
  • Oh, friend John, it is a strange world, a sad world, a world full of miseries, and woes, and troubles. And yet when King Laugh come, he make them all dance to the tune he play.
    • Professor Van Helsing to Dr. Seward
  • You reason well, and your wit is bold, but you are too prejudiced. You do not let your eyes see nor your ears hear, and that which is outside your daily life is not of account to you. Do you not think that there are things which you cannot understand, and yet which are, that some people see things that others cannot? But there are things old and new which must not be contemplated by men's eyes, because they know, or think they know, some things which other men have told them. Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all, and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain. But yet we see around us every day the growth of new beliefs, which think themselves new, and which are yet but the old, which pretend to be young, like the fine ladies at the opera.
    • Professor Van Helsing to Dr. Seward
  • One and all we felt that the holy calm that lay like sunshine over the wasted face and form was only an earthly token and symbol of the calm that was to reign for ever.
    • Dr. Seward of Lucy Westenra
  • I have always thought that a wild animal never looks so well as when some obstacle of pronounced durability is between us. A personal experience has intensified rather than diminished that idea.
    • The Keeper in the Zoological Gardens
  • The sun was almost down on the mountain tops, and the shadows of the whole group fell upon the snow. I saw the Count lying within the box upon the earth, some of which the rude falling from the cart had scattered over him. He was deathly pale, just like a waxen image, and the red eyes glared with the horrible vindictive look which I knew so well. As I looked, the eyes saw the sinking sun, and the look of hate in them turned to triumph. But, on the instant, came the sweep and flash of Jonathan's great knife. I shrieked as I saw it shear through the throat. Whilst at the same moment Mr. Morris's bowie knife plunged into the heart. It was like a miracle, but before our very eyes, and almost in the drawing of a breath, the whole body crumbled into dust and passed from our sight. I shall be glad as long as I live that even in that moment of final dissolution, there was in the face a look of peace, such as I never could have imagined might have rested there.
    • Mina Harker
  • Seven years ago we all went through the flames. And the happiness of some of us since then is, we think, well worth the pain we endured.
    • Jonathan Harker

Dracula's Guest (1914)

  • Go home, Johann — Walpurgis nacht doesn't concern Englishmen.
    • Jonathan Harker
  • THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST
    • Inscription found on the tomb of Countess Dolingen of Gratz by Jonathan Harker
  • Be careful of my guest — his safety is most precious to me. Should aught happen to him, or if he be missed, spare nothing to find him and ensure his safety. He is English and therefore adventurous. There are often dangers from snow and wolves and night. Lose not a moment if you suspect harm to him. I answer your zeal with my fortune.
    • Telegram to Bistritz from Count Dracula.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

"BRAM STOKER (1847-1912), Irish author, was born in Dublin Nov. 8 1847 and was educated at a private school there and at Trinity College. He entered the Irish civil service, to which his father also belonged, and wrote critical articles for various newspapers. He was called to the English bar, but in 1878 he joined Sir Henry Irving at the Lyceum theatre and was for many years his secretary and finally his biographer. He wrote a number of novels, of which Dracula (1897) was the best known, as well as Personal Reminiscences of Sir Henry Irving (1906). He died in London April 20 1912.


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Simple English

File:Bram
Bram Stoker

Abraham "Bram" Stoker (November 8, 1847April 20, 1912) was an Irish writer, best remembered as the author of the influential horror novel Dracula.

Contents

Life

He was born on November 8, 1847 at 15 Marino Crescent—then as now called "The Crescent"—in Clontarf,[1] a coastal suburb of Dublin, Ireland. His parents were Abraham Stoker (born in 1799; married Stoker's mother in 1844; died on October 10, 1876) and the feminist Charlotte Mathilda Blake Thornley (born in 1818; died in 1901). Stoker was the third of seven children.[2] Abraham and Charlotte were members of the Church of Ireland and attended the Clontarf parish church (St. John the Baptist) with their children where both were baptised. Until he started school at the age of seven—when he made a complete, astounding recovery—Stoker was an invalid. Of this time, Stoker wrote, "I was naturally thoughtful, and the leisure of long illness gave opportunity for many thoughts which were fruitful according to their kind in later years."

After his recovery, he became a normal young man even excelling as an athlete at Trinity College, Dublin (1864–70), from which he was graduated with honors in mathematics. He was auditor of the College Historical Society and president of the University Philosophical Society, where his first paper was on "Sensationalism in Fiction and Society". In 1876, while employed as a civil servant in Dublin, he wrote theater reviews for The Dublin Mail, a newspaper partly owned by fellow horror writer J. Sheridan Le Fanu. His interest in theatre led to a lifelong friendship with the English actor Henry Irving. In 1878 Stoker married Florence Balcombe, a celebrated beauty whose former suitor was Oscar Wilde. The couple moved to London, where Stoker became business manager of Irving's Lyceum Theatre, a post he held for 27 years. The collaboration with Irving was very important for Stoker. Through him he became involved in London's high society, where he met, among other notables, James McNeil Whistler and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In the course of Irving's tours he got the chance to travel around the world.

They had one son, Irving Noel Stoker who was born 31 December 1879.

Dracula

[[File:|thumb|Dracula by Bram Stoker, 1st edition cover, Archibald Constable and Company, 1897]]

He supplemented his income by writing a large number of sensational novels, his most famous being the vampire tale Dracula which he published in 1897. Before writing Dracula, Stoker spent eight years researching European folklore and stories of vampires. Dracula is an epistolary novel, written as collection of diary entries, telegrams, and letters from the characters, as well as fictional clippings from the Whitby and London newspapers. Stoker's inspiration for the story was a visit to Slains Castle near Aberdeen. The bleak spot provided an excellent backdrop for his creation.

Dracula has been the basis for countless movies and plays. The first was Nosferatu directed by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau and starring Max Schreck as Count Orlock. Nosferatu was produced while Florence Stoker, Bram Stoker's widow and literary executrix, was still alive. Represented by the attorneys of the British Incorporated Society of Authors, she eventually sued the filmmakers. Her chief legal complaint was that she had been neither asked for permission for the adaptation nor paid any royalty. The case dragged on for some years, with Mrs Stoker demanding the destruction of the negative and all prints of the movie. The suit was finally resolved in the widow's favour in July 1925. Some copies of the movie survived, however, and Nosferatu is now widely regarded as an innovative classic. The most famous movie version of Dracula is the 1931 production starring Bela Lugosi and which spawned several sequels that had little to do with Stoker's novel.

Stoker wrote several other novels dealing with horror and supernatural themes, but none of them achieved the lasting fame or success of Dracula. His other novels include The Snake's Pass (1890), The Jewel of Seven Stars (1903), and The Lair of the White Worm (1911).

Bibliography

Novels

  • The Primrose Path (1875)
  • The Snake's Pass (1890)
  • The Watter's Mou' (1895)
  • The Shoulder of Shasta (1895)
  • Dracula (1897)
  • Miss Betty (1898)
  • The Mystery of the Sea (1902)
  • The Jewel of Seven Stars (1903)
  • The Man (AKA: The Gates of Life) (1905)
  • Lady Athlyne (1908)
  • Snowbound: The Record of a Theatrical Touring Party (1908)
  • The Lady of the Shroud (1909)
  • Lair of the White Worm (1911)

Short story collections

File:Bram Stoker Plaque Whitby
Bram Stoker Commemorative Plaque, Whitby, England (2002)
  • Under the Sunset (1881)
  • Dracula's Guest (1914) Published posthumously by Florence Stoker

Uncollected stories

  • Bridal of Dead (alternative ending to The Jewel of Seven Stars)
  • Buried Treasures
  • The Chain of Destiny
  • The Crystal Cup (1872)- published by 'The London Society'
  • The Dualitists; or, The Death Doom of the Double Born
  • The Fate of Fenella (1892), Chapter 10, "Lord Castleton Explains" only.
  • The Gombeen Man
  • In the Valley of the Shadow
  • The Man from Shorrox'
  • Midnight Tales
  • The Red Stockade
  • The Seer

Non-fiction

  • The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland (1879)
  • A Glimpse of America (1886)
  • Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving (1906)
  • Famous Impostors (1910)

References and notes

  1. Belford, Barbara (2002). Bram Stoker and the Man Who Was Dracula. Cambridge, Mass.: Da Capo Press. pp. 17. ISBN 0-306-81098-0. 
  2. His siblings were: Sir (William) Thornley Stoker, born in 1845; Mathilda, born 1846; Thomas, born 1850; Richard, born 1852; Margaret, born 1854; and George, born 1855

Other pages

  • Blood from the Mummy's Tomb (film adaptation of The Jewel of Seven Stars)
  • Bram Stoker Award

Other websites

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