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Page updated 23 October 2011


Private Notes to be Published

Long Lost Notebook Belonging to Dracula’s Author, Bram Stoker

-Bram Stoker Estate

The Bram Stoker Estate recently announced discovery of Bram Stoker’s

long-lost notebook, found resting in the attic of one of his great grandsons.  Now, Dacre Stoker of Aiken, S.C. and Dr. Elizabeth Miller of Toronto, Ontario have signed a deal with Robson Press of London, and the Notebook will be published in early 2012, to coincide with the Centenary of Bram Stoker’s death. 

The text of the Notebook, written between 1871 and 1881 in Dublin, Ireland, will captivate scholars of Gothic literature and Dracula fans alike.  Painstakingly transcribed and researched by Stoker and Miller, the entries offer intriguing new insights into the complex nature of the man who wrote Dracula more than one hundred years ago.  Assisted by a team of Dracula scholars and Stoker historians, Stoker and Miller, neatly connect the dots between contents of the Notebook; and Bram Stoker’s later work, most significantly Dracula

Until now, discussion of the very private Bram Stoker has by necessity been largely speculative. Other than names and dates provided by biographers, and Bram Stoker’s own sparse self-revelation in his non-fiction work, little has been available to support character studies of this fascinating Victorian gentleman.

This personal Notebook, covering a period when Stoker lived in Dublin, a student at Trinity College and a civil servant at Dublin Castle, records his earliest attempts at poetry and prose. The entries divulge his private thoughts and his developing creativity; both his dark side the world has long imagined, and his little known Irish sense of humor, all in a style that foreshadows the journalistic style of Dracula.  

Thanks to the generosity of Noel Dobbs, Bram Stoker’s great grandson, one hundred years after his death, Bram Stoker’s Notebook will give the world a previously unavailable glimpse into the creative mind of the author of one of the best known books of all time, Dracula.

Being prepped for publication by England’s Robson Press, Bram Stoker’s Dublin Notebook will be published in early 2012, to coincide with the Centenary of Bram Stoker’s death in 1912.


You might want to take another look in that attic.

-Bram Stoker Estate

What’s in those sketchy looking boxes? Somebody stuck them in the attic years and years ago, and now two generations later…what’s in those boxes, anyway?

Not too long ago, an attic on the Isle of Wight yielded a dusty old journal with a tattered cover, the private notebook of Bram Stoker, author of Dracula.  

The one hundred plus pages of Stoker’s jottings, some as cryptic as Twitter messages, are clearly the prelude to the journalistic style of Dracula. Scribbled from 1871 to 1881 when Stoker was a student at Trinity College Dublin; working in Dublin Castle as a clerk; and going to the theatre every chance he had; the entries include certain scenes and characters clearly recognizable as roots of Dracula (published in 1897).  Rough drafts of poetry, jokes his friends told, humorous scenes of daily life in Dublin, dreams from the night before, these memos served as reminders for a very busy man, who clearly planned to be a writer.  Further notations and clarifications in the notebook were made some years later by Florence Stoker, the Dublin beauty, who broke off her relationship with Oscar Wilde to marry Bram Stoker. 

The Bram Stoker Estate has announced that Dacre Stoker, Bram Stoker’s great grandnephew, and Dr. Elizabeth Miller of the Transylvanian Society of Dracula, aided by a team of Dracula scholars, have painstakingly transcribed and annotated Stoker’s journal, which will be published in early 2012 by Robson Press of London. The book with the simple working title of “Bram Stoker’s Dublin Notebook” will include images of the original pages, unpublished Stoker family photographs from the late 1800’s, and comments by Stoker’s great grandsons.

Bram Stoker died on April 20, 1912, and the Bram Stoker Estate’s release of this notebook will coincide with the 2012 Centennial of his death.

Bram Stoker’s Journal

  1. -Dacre Stoker

One of Bram Stoker’s great grandsons, Noel Dobbs, inherited quite a collection of letters, papers, photographs, etc. from his mother and his grandfather, Bram’s only son. Much of the collection of Stoker family papers is now at Trinity College Dublin, but this notebook remained with the family in England.

It has been largely overlooked, undoubtedly due to its unassuming, shabby appearance, which betrays its value. The cover is gone, the pages are frayed, and not many of the notes are easy to read. The notebook has languished over the years; with some time spent in the attic, and in more recent years being stashed on this shelf or that, stored with other bits and pieces of family history. Noel certainly knew it was there, but he had never done anything with it, and was not really sure of its significance.

According to Noel, a researcher for the most recent Stoker biography by Paul Murray, had access to the journal,and incorporated elements of into his biography. The biography’s mention of a notebook, in fact, is how Elizabeth Miller and I first knew of its existence. We were fascinated by the prospect of what the notebook might reveal, so I asked Noel if I could take a look at it. I am in the U.S., and he had the pages carefully photographed, and sent to me. That was the easy part.

The next part of process was incredibly time-consuming, that being transcription. These were notes for Bram’s own reference, so many of the entries are cryptic, and the handwriting is terrible. Fortunately, Elizabeth is very familiar with Bram’s writing, having transcribed Bram’s “Notes for Dracula”, for the Rosenbach Museum. Even so, it was like putting together an incredibly difficult jigsaw puzzle. To construct the framework necessary to understand Bram’s life, and to decipher certain words and phrases, we researched newspapers corresponding to dates in the journal, and studied obscure books about Dublin, records from Trinity College Dublin, theatre personalities, dialects, etc.

Bram kept this notebook during the ten years just prior to his marriage to Florence Balcombe and their move to London, a period of his life about which very little has been known.  Not only do the notes provide a snapshot of Dublin, between 1871 & 1881, they provide a very personal look at a young man who would somehow become the author of Dracula.

There are some definite parallels between this notebook and Jonathan Harker’s journal, and certain entries from Bram’s notebook actually resurfaced twenty-something years later in Dracula.  Because he wrote little about himself, Dracula fans and Stoker scholars, have largely been free to speculate about Bram. Rumors and myths have taken on a life of their own.  Now, with this chapter of Bram’s life revealed, the rest of his life will be more accurately interpreted.

Bram Stoker's notebook offers cryptic clues to Dracula

Private notebook discovered by author's great-grandson has 'clear parallels' with Jonathan Harker's journal in vampire novel

Alison Flood

18 October 2011

The discovery of Bram Stoker's private notebook has shed new light on his classic vampire tale Dracula.The private notebook of Bram Stoker has been discovered in an attic on the Isle of Wight, offering cryptic clues into the origins of the author's most famous work, Dracula.

Providing a snapshot of Dublin between 1871 and 1881, as well as a window on the life of the very private Stoker, the notebook was found by the author's great-grandson, Noel Dobbs. Dobbs sent photographs of pages from the book to his relative, Stoker's great-grandnephew Dacre Stoker, author of the recent novel Dracula: The Un-Dead, and Stoker has worked to decipher his ancestor's "terrible" handwriting with Dr Elizabeth Miller of the Transylvanian Society of Dracula. The Lost Journal, complete with annotations, is now lined up for publication by Robson Press next year, marking the centenary of Bram Stoker's death in 1912.

The 100-odd-page notebook covers the period when Stoker was a student at Trinity College in Dublin and a clerk at Dublin Castle, written in a clear precursor to the journalistic style of Dracula and containing the author's earliest attempts at poetry and prose. "There are some definite parallels between this notebook and Jonathan Harker's journal, and certain entries from Bram's notebook actually resurfaced twentysomething years later in Dracula. Because he wrote little about himself, Dracula fans and Stoker scholars have largely been free to speculate about Bram. Rumours and myths have taken on a life of their own. Now, with this chapter of Bram's life revealed, the rest of his life will be more accurately interpreted," said Dacre Stoker.

The notebook opens with an entry entitled Night Fishing – the earliest known example of Stoker's writing – which Dacre Stoker and Miller said "shows an aspiring writer composing an excessively descriptive passage in flowery prose". It also reveals the author's connection with the sea and his respect for the people at its mercy, an interest which would re-emerge in published works including Dracula (1897), The Watter's Mou' (1894), The Mystery of the Sea (1902) and Greater Love (1914).

Another entry reads "A man builds up a shadow on a wall bit by bit by adding to substance. Suddenly the shadow becomes alive", and would later become the kernel for Stoker's story The Shadow Builder. A note reading "'Palace of Fairy Queen. Child goes to sleep & palace grows – sky changes into blue silk curtains" foreshadows Stoker's frequent use of dreaming children in stories including Lies and Lilies and The Wondrous Child.

Although the notebook ends eight years before Stoker would begin writing Dracula, there are "several entries" in the book which have "distinct resonances" in the novel, said Dacre Stoker and Miller, including a man who "who reflects everybody's self who meets him" – a central motif of Dracula is that a vampire casts no reflection.

Another mentions "a little boy who put so many flies into a bottle that they had not room to die". "This image is very interesting to me as it is a precursor to the tendencies of Bram’s Renfield character in Dracula," said Dacre Stoker.

Dublin birth of Dracula

Notes found in attic show young Bram Stoker’s ghoulish thoughts as the compulsive notetaker stalked the streets of the capital in Victorian times

Colin Coyle Published: 16 October 2011

  1. 1

Christopher Lee as Dracula in the 1958 film

Like his most famous creation, he stalked his home town hatching blood-curdling plots. A series of diaries documenting Bram Stoker’s life in Victorian Dublin have been discovered and will be published next year. They will offer a glimpse into the ghoulish mind of the Dracula creator as a young man.

The Lost Journals of Bram Stoker, written between 1871 and 1881, reveal the Dubliner was fascinated by the macabre more than 15 years before the publication of Dracula.

A compulsive notetaker, his diaries depict his life as a travelling court clerk with humorous observations on co-workers, classmates, friends, family members and Dublin street life.

The diaries were discovered last year among a collection of family papers in the attic of Stoker’s great-grandson, Noel Dobbs, in the Isle of Wight. Dobbs informed Dacre Stoker, a great-grandnephew, of the discovery and he set about trying to decipher the sometimes illegible diary entries.

The collection is to be published by Robson Press. Jeremy Robson, from the publisher, said there were huge similarities between Stoker and Jonathan Harker, the hero of Dracula. Like Harker, Stoker was a compulsive notetaker; while Harker was a travelling solicitor, Stoker was a travelling clerk.

Dacre Stoker said the 160 pages of notebooks are the earliest-known writings of his great-granduncle. “Included are dozens of humorous anecdotes, character studies, musings, and ideas for future stories, many of which were eventually used,” he said.

Stoker said many of the entries were cryptic and described his great-granduncle’s handwriting as “terrible”. Elizabeth Miller, a Dracula scholar, helped to interpret the notes. “It was like putting together an incredibly difficult jigsaw puzzle,” he said.

“To construct the framework necessary to understand Bram’s life, and to decipher certain words and phrases, we researched newspapers and studied obscure books about Dublin, records from Trinity College Dublin, theatre personalities and dialects.” The diaries show Stoker’s burgeoning literary aspirations. During the 1870s, he became a theatre critic for the Dublin Evening Mail, and in 1872 he had a story, The Crystal Cup, published by the London Society.

The notebooks span Stoker’s time as a student in Trinity College and a civil servant working in Dublin castle. They continue into his early years of marriage to Florence Balcombe, who was previously engaged to Oscar Wilde, and a spell working in a London theatre. “This was a period of his life about which very little has been known until now,” Dacre Stoker said.

The diaries document Stoker’s first attempts at prose and poetry but most of the entries are simple musings. “Some are like Twitter messages,” Dacre Stoker said. The first entry, titled Night Fishing, was written on August 1, 1871, and is “excessively descriptive” with “flowery prose”. The book is signed Abraham Stoker, the name he used until he adopted Bram several years later. At the time of start of the diaries, Stoker lived in 43 Harcourt Street, since demolished. He was studying for a master’s in Trinity College.Despite his poetic leanings, Stoker was soon drawn to darker subjects.

“A man builds up a shadow on a wall bit by bit adding to substance. Suddenly the shadow becomes alive,” reads one of the entries. This was the genesis of a later story, The Shadow Builder, and the idea of the shadow becoming form has been a signature of every film version of Dracula.

Another story idea depicts a cruel child imprisoning flies in a bottle, much like the lunatic Renfield, who fell under Dracula’s spell and took to catching and eating flies.

In another story, a man reflects everybody who meets him, which Dacre Stoker believes may have been an early allusion to a motif in Dracula — the vampire that casts no reflection.

Although a number of plaques around the city recognise houses where Stoker lived, his great-grandnephew said he hopes to persuade Dublin city council to erect a statue in the city ahead of the centenary of Stoker’s death next year.

Robson Press to publish Stoker's lost notebooks

-The Bookseller

13.10.11 | Bookseller Staff

Jeremy Robson has secured world rights to a book that features the previously unpublished notebooks of Bram Stoker as one of Robson's launch titles for his new imprint at Biteback.

Robson bought the rights directly from Stoker's great-grandnephew, Dacre Stoker, and Dracula scholar Dr Elizabeth Miller. The Lost Journals of Bram Stoker is provisionally scheduled for publication by the Robson Press next spring.

The notebooks were recently discovered in the attic of one of Stoker's great-grandsons and detail the author's time in Dublin between 1871 and 1881, some 15 years ahead of Dracula's publication.

Robson said: "The notebooks reveal the intimate Stoker—his attachment to Dublin and his life in that city. [They are] replete with observations on co-workers, classmates, friends, family members and the Dublin streets, and [the] various notes and anecdotes emit Stoker's rich Irish sense of humour."

While Stoker did not begin writing Dracula in earnest until some years later, Robson said there were early elements of what became his best known work in the notebooks. "The astute reader of Dracula will immediately recognise the aide-memoire technique displayed in the notebooks, which recalls similar notations made by Jonathan Harker—himself a compulsive note-taker," said Robson.

Other parallels between Stoker and Harker were their careers. At the time of writing the notebooks Stoker was a young travelling clerk of the court, compared to Harker's occupation as a young travelling solicitor in Dracula.

Cuando Stoker conoció a Drácula

Iniciativa Mercurio y CINTV preparan un documental y un libro sobre el universal vampiro y su autor, que cuenta con un presupuesto de 1,5 millones de euros



The Sligo Champion-Michael Moran

.... two skeletons buried around 1300 years ago with large stones wedged into their mouths were buried in this way to stop them rising from their graves to haunt the living.


Dracula Resurrected!

London based Hammer Films reports that the longer, more

explicit version of the Hammer classic, which was shown in

Japan, in 1958, has been located......

14 September 2011



Rosenbach Museum, Philadelphia


Stoker Family Plans to Commemorate Centennial of Bram Stoker’s Death

Dublin, Ireland 7/15/2011  Bram Stoker Estate

Dracula Came Natural to Coppola

Comic-Con 2011  7/25/2011  Bram Stoker Estate

“I’ve always loved the Gothic romance story, the horror story,”

said Coppola, as he prepares..............


Bram Stoker Estate


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