Here was a six-foot-two Irishman with a red beard -- a Victorian family man, a spirited debater, and the author of novels and short stories largely forgotten today. All, of course, except for Dracula, which has enjoyed countless stage and screen incarnations and transformations and haunted the dreams of many generations. Bram Stoker lived at the very center of late-Victorian social and artistic life and numbered among his friends Oscar Wilde, Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Whistler, Gladstone, and Tennyson. But it was his relationship with the mesmerizing, domineering actor Henry Irving that may have played the most crucial role in Stoker's life -- a real-life monster who ultimately led to Stoker's most famous creation. In this book that the Baltimore Sun called "superb, " Barbara Belford draws on unpublished archival material to reveal the links between the reticent author's life, his vampire tale, and the political, occult, cultural, and sexual background of the 1890's.