Sunday, May 10, 2015

Poe is nowhere, but Bram Stoker's mother is everything!

Charlotte Matilda Blake Thornley Stoker
I was going to write a blog post today about the mothers of writers in London in the 1890s, but I found this passage in Barbara Belford's biography of Bram Stoker that I think says it all. To me, this passage shows that, when things are looking down, when you are faced with criticisms and your endeavours are not as successful as you hope, mothers often know best.

Stoker borrowed money to publish Dracula, which didn't make him much money (in his lifetime) and got pretty dismal reviews - even from his friends.
Fortunately authors have mothers. "My dear, it is splendid," gushed Charlotte Stoker, "a thousand miles beyond anything you have written before, and I feel certain will place you very high in the writers of the day - the story and style being deeply sensational, exciting and interesting." To his mother, Stoker had surpassed all competitors. "No book since Mrs Shelley's 'Frankenstein' or indeed any other at all has come near yours in originality, or terror - Poe is nowhere," she wrote. "I have read much but I never met a book like it at all. In its terrible excitement it should make a widespread reputation and much money for you." Unfortunately it did neither during Stoker's lifetime. If Dracula had been published in 1818 at the same time as Frankenstein, instead of at the height of literary realism and naturalism, it would have been a Romantic milestone. Source
Thank you for always being so supportive of me, mom. We writers need moms like you.

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  1. Love this. I (sometimes) wish my mother read my books and would gush about them like this. Alas I'm torn between having her read them and not wanting her to question certain aspects.

    1. I'm pretty sure my mom still reads everything I write. :)