Poetry News

Dracula Author Stoker's Fan Letter to Walt Whitman

By Harriet Staff

At Brain Pickings, Maria Popova writes about teenage Abraham “Bram” Stoker's letter to none other than his literary idol, Walt Whitman. "He had fallen under Whitman’s spell when Leaves of Grass made its belated debut in England in 1868, with Whitman’s stunning preface to the 1855 edition," writes Popova. "Stoker would later recount that ever since that initial enchantment, he had been wishing to pour out his heart in such a way 'but was, somehow, ashamed or diffident — the qualities are much alike.'" More:

But it was a fleeting moment of courage — Stoker couldn’t bring himself to mail his extraordinary letter. For four years, it haunted his desk, part muse and part goblin.

Then, on Valentine’s Day 1876, Stoker finally wrote to Whitman, enclosing with his new letter the unsent outpouring. Both epistles were published for the first time in David J. Skal’s Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote Dracula (public library).

Stoker — now twenty-eight and finally a published author of three short stories that had appeared in a couple of English and Irish magazines — writes:

My dear Mr. Whitman.

I hope you will not consider this letter from an utter stranger a liberty. Indeed, I hardly feel a stranger to you, nor is this the first letter that I have written to you...

Find the full letter here!

Originally Published: January 15th, 2019