Thursday, May 2, 2013

[Archive] LITERAL ADDICTION's Review of Who Was Dracula?: Bram Stoker's Trail of Blood

Jim Steinmeyer was born and raised just outside of Chicago, Illinois, and graduated in 1980 from Loyola University of Chicago, with a major in communications. He is literally the man behind the magicians having invented impossibilities for four Doug Henning television specials, six touring shows, two Henning Broadway shows, and numerous television and Las Vegas appearances.For one of David Copperfield's television specials, Jim proposed the scenario and secret by which the Statue of Liberty could "disappear." Jim has also served as a consultant for Siegfried and Roy, David Copperfield and Lance Burton. He developed magic for Orson Welles, Harry Blackstone, and the Pendragons and many, many others. 

In addition to his books and many accomplishments on stage and screen, Jim currently holds four U.S. patents in the field of illusion apparatus, and has also served as an expert witness in this field.

He currently lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife Frankie Glass, an independent television producer who has worked extensively in Great Britain and the U.S.

Who Was Dracula?: Bram Stoker's Trail of Blood
   by Jim Steinmeyer


An acclaimed historian sleuths out literature’s most famous vampire, uncovering the source material – from folklore and history, to personas including Oscar Wilde and Walt Whitman – behind Bram Stoker’s bloody creation.

In more than a century of vampires in pop culture, only one lord of the night truly stands out: Dracula. Though the name may conjure up images of Bela Lugosi lurking about in a cape and white pancake makeup in the iconic 1931 film, the character of Dracula—a powerful, evil Transylvanian aristocrat who slaughters repressed Victorians on a trip to London—was created in Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel of the same name, a work so popular it has spawned limitless reinventions in books and film.
But where did literature’s undead icon come from? What sources inspired Stoker to craft a monster who would continue to haunt our dreams (and desires) for generations? Historian Jim Steinmeyer, who revealed the men behind the myths in The Last Greatest Magician in the World, explores a question that has long fascinated literary scholars and the reading public alike: Was there a real-life inspiration for Stoker’s Count Dracula?

Hunting through archives and letters, literary and theatrical history, and the relationships and events that gave shape to Stoker’s life, Steinmeyer reveals the people and stories behind the Transylvanian legend. In so doing, he shows how Stoker drew on material from the careers of literary contemporaries Walt Whitman and Oscar Wilde; reviled personas such as Jack the Ripper and the infamous fifteenth-century prince Vlad Tepes, as well as little-known but significant figures, including Stoker’s onetime boss, British stage star Henry Irving, and Theodore Roosevelt’s uncle, Robert Roosevelt (thought to be a model for Van Helsing).

Along the way, Steinmeyer depicts Stoker’s life in Dublin and London, his development as a writer, involvement with London’s vibrant theater scene, and creation of one of horror’s greatest masterpieces. Combining historical detective work with literary research, Steinmeyer’s eagle eye provides an enthralling tour through Victorian culture and the extraordinary literary monster it produced.

Our Review, but LITERAL ADDICTION's Pack Alpha - Michelle L. Olson:
*ARC provided by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Jim Steinmeyer's Who Was Dracula is a delightful pastiche of research & knowledge intertwined with captivating literary allocution.

The fact behind the fiction reveals the complicated social web among the Victorian elite at the time of the novel - both famous and infamous - and shows that the brilliance behind the novel is the fact that there was no brilliance behind the novel.

I loved the factual story woven by Steinmeyer, & truly felt that both my book addict/paranormal junkie side, as well as my inner nerd were properly titillated. 

Reading the book immediately made me go back & skim the Classic again, do a ton of Google searches to get more caught up with the primary players mentioned throughout the book, and rewatch the 1931 Bela Lugosi production of the film, all of which reminded me why the delicate simplicity of the horror from that time is still king.

Steinmeyer's tale can be summed up best by the brilliant last line of the book - "A truly great nightmare is once experienced, never forgotten. It is summoned again when we simply close our eyes. It needs nothing but is never very far away."

LITERAL ADDICTION gives Who Was Dracula 5 Skulls. I was thrilled!

Who Was Dracula?: Bram Stoker's Trail of Blood

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