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.During the summer of 1816, the famed poet Lord Byron had challenged himself and his houseguests to write a horror story.It was assumed that the two established authors present, Lord Byron and Percy Shelley, would be triumphant.No one expected that Percy’s wife, Mary Shelley, or Dr.John Polidori, would rise above the others.Both the novel Frankenstein and the short story The Vampyre were born that night, resulting in the two most inexperienced authors in the group writing two hugely successful books.Bram adored all of these gothic horror stories and began to search for the opportunity to match their accomplishment.That opportunity came when Wilde’s imprisonment left a literary void.Bram decided this was the time to step out of the shadow of Irving and Wilde.Bram wasn’t being opportunistic—he just believed that his hard work had to pay off sometime.It came as no surprise to him that his editor and publisher did not share his newfound desire; after all, Bram had previously published successful biographical and reference titles.But he was taken aback by Florence’s total lack of support.She thought Bram was wasting his time trying to write horror, and she considered this newest endeavor beneath them.Stoker solemnly realized he was quite alone in his quest to become a successful novelist.Reflecting on this, Stoker understood that he should have sought a different editor and a new publisher for his novel.He was certain they had wanted him to fail, in the hope that he would “return to his senses” and pen only factual material.The cretins had not only changed the novel’s title from The Un-Dead to Dracula but had also cut hundreds of vital pages from the book.Stoker wagered that Wilde had never been censored.Furthermore, his publisher had made no attempt to promote Dracula to Wilde’s literary followers.Of course the publisher blamed Bram alone for the unsurprising poor sales.After all these years, Bram still felt overshadowed by his former friend.Even from prison, and later in death, Wilde was the greater success.Dorian Gray sold faster than it could be printed.Stoker had hoped that Irving might publicly praise Dracula.Instead, he proclaimed it “dreadful” and, with one word, killed Stoker’s hopes, for which Stoker never forgave Irving.A few years later, Irving died before either man had a chance to apologize.To his surprise, Irving left the Lyceum Theatre to Stoker in his will.Stoker finally had full control of something in his life.But, without Henry Irving’s name attached to the productions, the audiences stayed home.Slowly, the best and brightest of his staff went to neighboring theatres.The Lyceum was hemorrhaging money, and the pressure was almost too much to bear.Stoker had a stroke.Bram was aware that he was in the last act of his life and had one last chance to make his novel a success.He needed the theatrical version of Dracula to be a hit in order to drive the sales of the novel.If the play failed, he was sure that his failing health would never give him the opportunity for an encore.He did not want to be remembered as a faded footnote in Irving’s illustrious biography.He had to be the one to bring the successful ingredient to this production, not Hamilton Deane, or Quincey Harker.Bram looked at the empty crimson seats of the Lyceum Theatre.He needed to be the one to fill them.He needed to bring Barrymore back and reestablish some modicum of control over his own play.He found it ironic that he could use Deane’s infernal wireless station to send a telegram to Southampton and beg Barrymore not to journey on to America.Barrymore was the star Bram wanted.He no longer had the desire or the time to compromise.CHAPTER XIV.The distant bell from the Westertoren rang out a new hour.It chimed every fifteen minutes.The old man no longer noticed it each time it rang, since it now rang so often.Lately, though, the bell had seemed to grow louder, as if it were taunting him, counting down the minutes to the end of his life.He spent most days sitting in his apartment on Haar lemmer Houttuinen looking out of his third-story window toward the Prinsengracht Canal, among his many books.His only connection to the outside world was the stack of newspapers that were delivered at the end of each week at the same time as his groceries.The old man put on his spectacles and picked up the Times.Some Frenchman had set a new record in aviation.The old man shook his head.Man had no business flying.Even Greek mythology offered a warning in the story of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun.The moral of that story still held true to this day: Pride comes before a fall.This new industrial age had betrayed man’s arrogance.The old man turned the paper over and saw the back listing for the society pages.Normally, he did not bother with the goings-on of the upper classes, but a headline caught his eye: “FORMER HEAD OF WHITBY ASYLUM DEAD IN PARIS [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]