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The Truth About Dracula

Historian Jim Steinmeyer examines the story behind Bram Stoker's bloodthirsty creation

'Who Was Dracula?: Bram Stoker's Trail of Blood' by Jim Steinmeyer (Courtesy Tarcher Books/Penguin Group (USA)

Dracula was no one, actually. — Courtesy Tarcher Books/Penguin Group (USA)

Since the beginning of the 20th century, vampires have had a continual presence in pop culture. But Count Dracula, the aristocratic vampire from Transylvania, has always stood out from the rest.

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While every generation has had its preferred book or movie version of the count, and its own theories about him, there is no real Dracula. The ruthless and bloodthirsty protagonist of writer Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula was an ingenious work of complete fiction.

Historian Jim Steinmeyer, author of Who Was Dracula? Bram Stoker's Trail of Blood, talks to Mike Cuthbert of Prime Time Radio about the many sources Stoker used to create his book's infamous character. (Writer Oscar Wilde, murderer Jack the Ripper and Stoker's onetime boss, actor Sir Henry Irving, were all inspirations.)

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