Victorian Popular Fictions 6.1 8 Stewart

 

The Curse of Heredity:

Victorian Sympathies Without and Within in Florence Marryat’s The Blood of the Vampire

Rachel Stewart

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Abstract

Many long nineteenth-century thinkers wrote on sympathy and the human condition: Charles Darwin, T.H. Huxley, and Adam Smith, among others. This article examines how Florence Marryat’s The Blood of the Vampire (1897) engages with and explores the limits of those writings in two distinct ways. In the first, Marryat positions Harriet as a spectator whose sympathies, configured as “vampirism,” act as an embodiment of fatal sympathy. Furthermore, Marryat constructs a sympathetic pairing wherein Harriet is the subject whom the reader’s sympathies are directed towards. While other critics have made passing mention of the presence of sympathy within the novel, here sympathy will be the lens through which the novel’s sociohistorical interventions and generic affordances of the Gothic are revealed. This analysis attends to Marryat’s utilisation of the supernatural to create an experiment in sympathy, within the unreal world of the novel and the real world of the Victorian reader.

Keywords

Florence Marryat; the Gothic; vampires; sympathy; Charles Darwin; T.H. Huxley; Adam Smith; supernatural; sensation fiction; realism

Date of Acceptance: 21 June 2024

Date of Publication: 28 June 2024

Double Blind Peer Reviewed

Recommended Citation:

Stewart, Rachel. 2024. “The Curse of Heredity: Victorian Sympathies Without and Within in Florence Marryat’s The Blood of the Vampire.Victorian Popular Fictions, 6.1: 103-16. ISSN: 2632-4253 (online) DOIhttps://doi.org/10.46911/IYQE3454

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