Victorian Popular Fictions 1.1 4

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

Helena Ifill

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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-siècle British women more generally.

Key Words

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

Date of acceptance: 21 June 2019

Date of Publication: 30 June 2019

Double Blind Peer Reviewed

Recommended Citation:

Ifill, Helena. 2019. “Florence Marryat’s The Blood of the Vampire (1897): Negotiating Anxieties of Genre and Gender at the Fin de Siècle.” Victorian Popular Fictions. 1.1: 80-100.

ISSN: 2632-4253 (online) 

DOI: https://doi.org/10.46911/GSWJ1008

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