Bram Stoker Haunts a Dublin Library

© National Portrait Gallery, London: Creative Commons

Bram Stoker by W. & D. Downey (Photogravure, 1906).

In 1866, a teenage Bram Stoker lurked in the shadow of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. What was the future author of Dracula up to? He was headed to Marsh’s Library to present his letter of recommendation from his Trinity College tutor, G.F. Shaw, gaining him entrance to the stacks. He consulted about twenty volumes there over two years, according to the new exhibition, Bram Stoker and the Haunting of Marsh's Library.

Courtesy of Marsh’s Library

The Workes of Our Ancient and learned English poet, Geffrey Chaucer (London, 1602). According to a new Dublin exhibition, Stoker was a big fan of the English poet.

What was his reading? Poetry appears to have been a favorite. And “Stoker seems to have had a great interest in Chaucer,” said Dr. Jason McElligott, director of Marsh’s Library, who curated the exhibition.

It’s hard to resist noting that several of books he read at the time mention Transylvania and the historical figure of Dracula, although it would be a stretch to link them to the novel he published thirty years later.

Stoker also enjoyed paging through bound volumes of pamphlets during his seven visits to Marsh’s Library. The related exhibition catalogue contains an essay about his life-long interest in pamphlets and books of the seventeenth-century.  

Those in Dublin can view the exhibition through December. A full digital version is online here.