Lady Athlyne

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Lady Athlyne
First edition
Author Bram Stoker
CountryUnited Kingdom
Publisher Heinemann
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardcover)

Lady Athlyne is a romance novel by Bram Stoker, written in 1908. It was published one year before the release of Stoker's The Lady of the Shroud . [1]


Brief Biography of Bram Stoker

Abraham (Bram) Stoker was born in Clontarf, Ireland near Dublin on 8 November 1847. Due to a childhood illness (which was never identified) that kept Stoker bedridden until about the age of seven, it is speculated that this might have been where he received some of the ideas for his stories like Dracula. Vampires, fairies, or stories of the boogeyman would have held his interest since he spent so much of his childhood in isolation; most of these are part of Irish Folklore. He attended Trinity College Dublin, where he graduated in 1870. In his Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving he says he graduated with honours in Pure Mathematics, but no trace of this can be found in the Trinity archives. A few years before his graduation, Stoker obtained a job in the Civil Service at Dublin Castle, thus working and studying at the same time. Soon enough, he moved to London, England in 1878 to work as an acting manager at the London theatre, Lyceum Theatre. Since Stoker was in such a unique crowd, with his access to actors and many high society individuals, it is not surprising that much of his writing focused on the supernatural. By using these influences, Stoker created a Gothic novel that combines several different elements. He used romance, history, adventure and his own supernatural influences that make his novels unique.

Historical Context

This novel was published while many different elements were occurring in the United Kingdom. England was preparing to host the Olympic Games in London. These games were to take place during April 1908. At this time it would have only been the fourth consecutive time these games were held since they were disbanded. In more of political and military strategies there were many treaties and precursors to World War I. In 1894 Russia and France formed an alliance. On 21 August Britain and Russia signed a treaty with Afghanistan, Persia (modern day Iran) and Tibet. They then formed the Triple Entente. In 1904 Britain wanted Russia to come out of its self-isolation and join the rest of Europe. Britain wanted Russia to join the Entente Cordiale or what is known as, "The Friendly Agreement". Prime Minister Sir Edward Grey made Britain a part of the Triple Entente which had to the goal of these three past enemies supporting one another. While they did not have to go to war on behalf of any nation, they were expected to at least support it. While these enemies had been fighting on and off for many years, especially when it came to colonial territories in Africa, they wanted to bang together because they were concerned about Germany's growing power. However, it was not only large treaties that were happening; many smaller nations were signing treaties in the hopes of not being involved in a European conflict at all. One of these nations was Belgium. They signed the Treaty of London in 1864 in the hopes of staying a neutral party in case any issues were to arise.

Publication Information

The novel was first published in the United Kingdom by William Heinemann, London in 1908. However, the publication for the United States was 1909 by Frank Lovell & Company, New York. After the novel's debut in England, it was then published as what is called a "dailies" (insert link to other Wikipedia Article for this term) in the newspapers in The United States. Those newspapers were The Evening Star, Utica Press, and The Evansville Courtier. There was also an abridged version of this text written. It appeared in Fort Worth Star Telegram in Fort Worth, Texas. The first publication was on 16 April 1909 and the last day it was published was on 2 June 1909. Unlike the full version the abridged version only had twenty-one chapters. At this point and time it is unclear whether or not Stoker or someone else edited the abridged version.


In addition to these political changes that were occurring Finland made a huge social change. They were the first European country to give women the right to vote. This is vital to note since most nineteenth century literature places women under men when it comes to value. This is especially interesting to note due to the fact that Lady Athlyne is written in a manner that falls along the same lines as She and Dracula when bringing forth the idea of, "The New Woman". The woman does not follow the typical societal procedures (according to the novels). As such in these novels these types of women meet horrible ends. Therefore, the lessons in these two novels particularly share the concept that "The New Woman" goes against society. In Stoker's novel Lady Athlyne he has a character that embodies traits of "The New Woman" which would be Joy's aunt, Miss Judith Hayes. Miss Hayes ignores her brother in-law (Joy's father) when he deems a visitor unacceptable for his daughter to associate with because her father finds the man suspicious. Since this young visitor is not forthcoming with information to impress Joy's father he deduces that this young man cannot be from good stock, and regardless of his manners, is not fit to see his daughter romantically. Miss Hayes, however, sees two young people that she believes are meant for one another and intends for them to be together. She does not take anything that Joy's father wants into consideration. She purposely sends letters to let Lord Athlyne know where Joy and her father will be vacationing together before Miss Hayes and Joy's mother meet the father/daughter pair. When reading the novel it is important to note not only the historical information with wars and conflicts occurring, but also the social changes that allow for a more critical understand and evaluation of the novel. This is just one example of the many that this novel holds for the differences between "The New Woman" and the woman that obeys men and "properly" fulfills her role in society. Miss Hayes is not married and she mentions this frequently to Joy as if Miss Hayes regrets her unmarried status and wishes that her niece will never have to face this burden.

Main characters


Plot summary

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  1. Bibliography of Stoker's novels at Bram Stoker Online.