Dracula, Gothic novel by Bram Stoker, published in 1897, that was the most popular literary work derived from vampire legends and became the basis for the entire genre of literature and film.
A popular theory among critics is that the character Count Dracula is based on the infamously barbaric Vlad III, better known as Vlad the Impaler. Vlad was born in Transylvania in the 15th century and was known popularly as Drăculea, meaning “Son of Dracul”. The name was derived from the Latin draco meaning "dragon," the basis for the elder Vlad's epithet. In modern Romanian, drac has evolved to mean "devil". Stoker is thought to have picked the name Dracula after reading a book that revealed to him this modern translation.
Stoker's Dracula was instrumental in the creation of the vampire trope that has permeated Western popular culture in the forms of novels and film alike. Dracula was well received when it was published, but its success is even better measured by the number of adaptions it inspired. These adaptions began in 1922, when the novel was plagiarized in the silent motion picture Nosferatu, in which the director F.W. Murnau took Stoker's story, tweaked it, and put the results on the big screen.
Since then vampires of the same kind have appeared across popular culture. Some of them have been modernized, as in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Saga. Others have maintained the integrity of Stoker's original Count Dracula, as in Stephen King's Salem's Lot (1975), a novel King claimed had been inspired by Stoker. Even the American children's television show Sesame Street developed a character, Count von Count, modeled on Dracula; instead of drinking blood, this vampire counted everything around him (and helped his audience learn simple mathematics). Continue reading from Encyclopedia Britannica