Radu Florescu, a Romanian historian who established the connection between Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula and Vlad Tepes, a.k.a. Vlad the Impaler, has died at the age of 88.
Stoker’s Dracula (first published in 1897) featured genuine regions such as Transylvania and the Borgo Pass (even the train schedules in the book were correct); ergo, posited Florescu, its protagonist must also be based on fact. Vlad, who was renowned for slaying countless Saxons and Ottomans and had a penchant for impaling his enemy on stakes, was the obvious choice.
Florescu’s bestselling In Search of Dracula (1972), co-authored with Raymond McNally, was translated into 15 languages. Their theory made Bran Castle, Vlad’s supposed fortress, the most popular tourist destination in Eastern Europe.
Florescu studied at Christ Church, Oxford and received a Ph.D. from Indiana University. At the time of his death Florescu was emeritus professor of History at Boston College and director of its East European Research Center.