But Stoker wasn’t immune to the lure of fandom. He understood it very well. The object of his adoration wasn’t a bloodsucking creature of the night, but an aging American poet who had scandalized America. When he was twenty-two, Stoker read and fell in love with Walt Whitman’s poetry, finding solace and joy between the covers ofLeaves of Grass. And, like many fans, he wanted the connection that he felt to Whitman to be real. Late one night, cloaked in the comfort of darkness, Stoker poured his soul out to Whitman in a shockingly honest letter that described himself and his disposition. That letter, when Stoker finally mustered the courage to mail it, would begin an unexpected literary friendship that lasted until Whitman’s death.