Florence Marryat’s The Blood of the Vampire (1897): Negotiating Anxieties of Genre and Gender at the Fin de Siècle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The heroine of Florence Marryat’s The Blood of the Vampire (1897), Harriet Brandt, is an energy sucker and a formidable predator. However, unlike Bram Stoker’s famous vampire (Dracula was published in the same year), she is also a tragic figure who only realises towards the end of the novel that she has killed the people she is closest to. Marryat at once grants her female vampire freedom and disempowers her. Furthermore, Harriet’s vampiric nature and mixed-race ancestry potentially cast her as a racially threatening Other, but one with whom the reader is increasingly encouraged to sympathise. Marryat also plays with genre, especially the popular genre of the Female Gothic, and mixes Gothic elements such as the vampire with distinctly un-Gothic ones, such as the Belgian seaside resort of Heyst, in order to reflect the comparatively liberated, but still precarious, position of women at the end of the nineteenth century. This article analyses character, setting and genre in order to show that the figure of Harriet is a reflection upon the position of not just the New Woman, but fin-de-siècle British women more generally.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-100
Number of pages21
JournalVictorian Popular Fictions
Volume1
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2019

Fingerprint

Florence
Anxiety
Blood
Vampires
Gothic
Seaside
Predator
Reader
Ancestry
Dracula
Heroine
Energy
New Woman
Nature
Novel

Keywords

  • Female Gothic
  • degeneration
  • vampires
  • Marryat
  • genre
  • woman
  • question

Cite this

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abstract = "The heroine of Florence Marryat’s The Blood of the Vampire (1897), Harriet Brandt, is an energy sucker and a formidable predator. However, unlike Bram Stoker’s famous vampire (Dracula was published in the same year), she is also a tragic figure who only realises towards the end of the novel that she has killed the people she is closest to. Marryat at once grants her female vampire freedom and disempowers her. Furthermore, Harriet’s vampiric nature and mixed-race ancestry potentially cast her as a racially threatening Other, but one with whom the reader is increasingly encouraged to sympathise. Marryat also plays with genre, especially the popular genre of the Female Gothic, and mixes Gothic elements such as the vampire with distinctly un-Gothic ones, such as the Belgian seaside resort of Heyst, in order to reflect the comparatively liberated, but still precarious, position of women at the end of the nineteenth century. This article analyses character, setting and genre in order to show that the figure of Harriet is a reflection upon the position of not just the New Woman, but fin-de-si{\`e}cle British women more generally.",
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N2 - The heroine of Florence Marryat’s The Blood of the Vampire (1897), Harriet Brandt, is an energy sucker and a formidable predator. However, unlike Bram Stoker’s famous vampire (Dracula was published in the same year), she is also a tragic figure who only realises towards the end of the novel that she has killed the people she is closest to. Marryat at once grants her female vampire freedom and disempowers her. Furthermore, Harriet’s vampiric nature and mixed-race ancestry potentially cast her as a racially threatening Other, but one with whom the reader is increasingly encouraged to sympathise. Marryat also plays with genre, especially the popular genre of the Female Gothic, and mixes Gothic elements such as the vampire with distinctly un-Gothic ones, such as the Belgian seaside resort of Heyst, in order to reflect the comparatively liberated, but still precarious, position of women at the end of the nineteenth century. This article analyses character, setting and genre in order to show that the figure of Harriet is a reflection upon the position of not just the New Woman, but fin-de-siècle British women more generally.

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