The Vampire and the Prostitute: Sympathetic Monstrosity in Florence Marryat’s The Blood of the Vampire
This article explores Florence Marryat’s little-known 1897 novel The Blood of the Vampire within the context of Victorian sex work. While reading Harriet alternatively as racial Other or as New Woman have been fruitful analyses for previous scholars of Marryat’s text, analyzing Harriet as a potential sex worker helps to parse out some of the more contradictory aspects of Marryat’s rendering. Harriet’s overt and unrestrained sexuality is enough to categorize Harriet as a woman outside of Victorian social mores, and her contagion—coupled with the fact that it can be read as both sexual and genetic in nature—serves to strengthen this comparison. Both within the Victorian period and within Marryat’s novel, the politics of race and empire are inseparable from the national policies of sex work, which are in turn saturated with the same logic of sex and degeneracy.