The notion of vampires truly took ground during the expansion of the Status-Hungarian Empire in the eighteenth century, when ignorance about the science of decomposition led pioneers gigging up corpses to blame their observations on evidence of such mysterious creatures. Then, Slavic culture utilized the concept as a form of social control, threatening stakes in the heart to unruly citizens 1. Fascination with the blood-thirsty phenomenon reached an all-time high with the debut of Abram Stokers novel, Drachma, in 1897.
Since its debut, there have reportedly been over 400 cinematic recapitulations and variations of the basic Drachma theme. However, another vampire-themed Victorian novel debuted in the same year and was overshadowed by the Count, both then and now. Florence Martyr’s Blood of the Vampire features a female protagonist, Harriet Brandt, who differs in behavior, appearance, and personality from Stokers infamous character.
As one analyst notes, “Marry novel has received scant attention in the criticism of vampire literature. 3” Although the novels share many overarching plotting similarities, the distinctions between Stoker and Mart’s characters, backgrounds, symbolisms, and styles expose an assortment of rationales as to their differing esteem and lasting legacies. In order to adequately analyze the themes, resemblances, and differences teen the two texts, it is initially vital to delve into the background of the Victorian Era.
Covering the latter half of the nineteenth century, the time period was characterized by changes across all facets of life: progress in anesthetics, antiseptics, and other medical advancements led to a widespread escalation in hospitals; population growth and physical expansion of superpowers like Britain led to the spread of politics, colonial threats, imaginations, feminism, and other revolutionary ideas and fears; increasing educational and employment opportunities led to undeniable role changes ND women being portrayed as either “Madonna’s or whore’s;” and, lastly, perhaps the most notable shift concerned the switch from confidence, optimism, and economic boom in Britain at the start of Queen Victorians reign to the uncertainty regarding their place in the world by the time of both books’ publications in 18974. The developments in literacy propelled the power of the novel, with texts often addressing one or more of the aforementioned concerns regarding the rapid changes in science, technology’, and medicine.
Blood of the Vampire and Drachma both jointly incorporate mom of these themes and separately emphasize others into their plots, with the examination of each proving noteworthy when discussing their respective impacts. The most basic and obvious comparison between the two late- nineteenth-century novels concerns their shared central focus on the universal threat and individual reliability to vampires. Although they employ dissimilar means, both Brandt and Drachma ignite our deep-seated human anxieties regarding death, the body, and the afterlife; dead yet undead, human yet not quite human, the protagonists in each disturb the Asia taxonomies with which we categorize our world. Both authors depict a vulnerable nation being invaded by an “alien” who develops a strong hold and impacting effect on its chosen victims.
Additionally, the abrupt introduction Of each character within his or her respective storyline has been analyzed as allegorically representing a dangerous form of immigration. Discussing Drachma, Carol Seen calls the posing threat “a kind of reverse imperialism,” alluding to the latent occupation of civilized settlements by a more primitive type. Likewise, Stephen Rata describes Harriet Brand’s initial acquirement f Margaret Pollen’s energy “reverse colonization,” which especially takes on added significance when analyzing the characters’ backgrounds and the ensuing situation as a “wealthy Jamaican colonizing the concept of English womanhood. ” ultimately, both texts successfully appeal to the supreme Victorian fears surrounding the turn of the century, or “fin De isclue”: apprehensions about annexation and challenges to current cultural, scientific, and religious norms. Furthermore, there is no evidence that Stoker and Marry discussed their ideas, hinting at the collective acknowledgment of this threats. Another shared theme is that of the concern of sexual expression by the Victorian woman. As the time period featured the Industrial Revolution and the increasing presence of women in the workforce, many feared their mounting power and the impending, rather unpredictable consequences of the transitioning from the “angel in the house”-?a meek, mild, pious woman devoted to her family-?to the “New intelligent, cultured, independent, and sovereign female, often in the middle working class.
As Brenda Hammock writes, “Many antiseptics writers reacted to feminist criticism of ‘beastly men or syphilis, the beast in man’ by usuriously promoting images of [powerful] women. ” This ideal of the “New Woman” was also attached to otherworldly themes; during this time, debates concerning suffrage, fertility control, anti-vivisection, temperance, and education inevitably forged a strong bond Beethoven spirituality and womanhood 10. Furthermore, women were closely tied to the occult because, just as the idea of the supernatural suggested a world beyond our immediate senses, so did women embody potential beyond those exhibited in their traditional roles. William J.
Robinson related the idea of vampires to the hyperspace “new woman” by saying, “Just as the vampire sucks the blood of its victims in their sleep while they are alive, so does the woman… Suck the life and exhaust the vitality of her male partner. 12” Links between feminism, societal concerns, and offspring-?which would, all in all, come to be known as “imaginations”-? were also prevalent during this time. As the male species’ increasing anxieties concerning the ‘new woman’ continued rising, doctors began blaming birth-control devices and female fears and actions during pregnancy for the generation of “monstrous” young. The concept of a mothers power to “mark,” hurt, or even kill her child during prenatal stages was exacerbated by the eugenics movement at the fin De icicles.
Martyr’s agreement with this theory is seen in There is No Death: My Eyewitness Experience with the Great Mediums, when she discusses the power of maternal impressions on her numerous miscarriages and other baby’s malformations and afflictions. This is an important point to consider as we see how Martyr’s personal beliefs play out in the plotting following The Blood of the Vampire’s protagonist. According to Dry. Phillips diagnosis, the curative blood lust suffered by Harriet was transmitted to the fetus in utter, passed down through her grandmother. This link to imaginations would’ve likely been accepted by Marry and similar contemporaries, although it is one of the major downfalls to the novel’s lasting reliability, prevalence, and popularity, as will be discussed later. Stoker similarly reflects the worry of the “new woman” through a variety of Drachma’s victims.
Regarding the three female vampires encountered by Harder in the beginning of the novel, he writes, “There was a deliberate voluptuousness which was both thrilling and plosive… She actually licked her lips like an animal. 15” Later, he contrasts the naiveté and temperance of Lucy and Mina in the beginning of the novel with the frenzied and raging eroticism of their altered states-?described in one instance as having “a languorous, voluptuous grace”-?after being bitten. Although Harriet Brandt does not quite exhibit the same bestial qualities as Stoker’s characters-?although this is marginally inferred through other characters’ descriptions and inconspicuous plot inclusions, such as her eating habits-?her infliction is evidently sexual and in alignment with the evolutionary “new woman” of the era.
She repeatedly refuses rejection and proceeds to partake in four separate romantic relationships throughout the course of the novel, proving her sexual and moral liberation. This independence is inherently depicted as dangerous, as everybody that she becomes close to inevitably falls ill. Interestingly, Marry also routinely describes her protagonist in terms of wildness and savagery: the male touch is said to “rouse all the animal [in Harriet], 1 7” her husband regards her as a “beautiful wild creature [whose] nature might assert itself and become rouse, wild and intractable,” and she is continually surrounded by Martyr’s similes to snakes, pigs, large cats, and other undomesticated creatures.
More than anything else, however, Harriet is most frequently associated with the “tigress” feline, perceived as the most fearful of all animals during the Victorian period 19. Despite these similarities, the books evidently contain numerous variances that have allowed one to far surpass the other in terms of readership, reviews, and overall recognition. For one, Drachma is more deeply rooted in history, supposedly modeled after the actual fifteenth-century leader, Vela Tepees. Known as ‘Vela the Impaled,” the valiant prince allegedly led an army across the Danube to kill over 24,000 Turks in battle. Stoker is even reported to have received his version of the life and death of Vela from Professor Armin’s Baneberry, among other sources.
Harriet Brandt, on the other hand, seems to have been born from the inspiration and character of her author; Marry was also “somewhat of an outcast’s” due to her independence, religion, and radically UN-Victorian take On gender philosophy. Marry expressed her views even more strongly in there texts, such as Her World Against a Lie, In which she overtly scribes, “If women had but ventilated their wrongs from commencement, instead of hiding them in their own breast, they would have been emancipated before now! 22” Harriet Brands inherent inclination towards violence-?through her comments to ex-lovers, admitted flogging of slave children, and attraction to gory paintings-?mirrors the personalities of suffragists of the period, who were habitually cast as regressive, rather than progressive, members of societies.