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Marryat, Florence

Entry updated 5 August 2021. Tagged: Author.

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(1833-1899) UK author, playwright, editor (of London Society magazine 1872-1876) and actress, daughter of the naval officer and pioneering sea-story author Captain Frederick Marryat (1792-1848); now perhaps best remembered for her espousal of Spiritualism as recorded in such late nonfiction works as There Is No Death (1891) and The Spirit World (1894) [not listed below]. She was a prolific author of sensational novels from 1865 onwards, also publishing both long and short supernatural fiction [see Checklist below]. The Strange Transfiguration of Hannah Stubbs (1896) features Identity Transfer, with the spirit of a woman murdered by her jealous husband vengefully possessing the body of his second wife.

Marryat is of greatest genre interest for a novel published in the same year as Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897; rev with cuts 1901), the Gothic-tinged The Blood of the Vampire (1897). Its female protagonist Harriet Brandt is an unwitting psychic Vampire whose touch drains the life-force from others; the first two accidental victims are children. Of mixed-race origin, her unwed parents in Jamaica being a kind of Mad Scientist medical experimenter and the daughter of a slave, Harriet is accused of being cursed with both "black blood" (see Race in SF) and "vampire blood". Against a concerned doctor's advice she marries; her husband dies on the first night of their honeymoon and Harriet opts for suicide. The effect is tragic rather than horrific. [DRL]

Florence Marryat

born Brighton, Sussex: 9 July 1833

died London: 27 October 1899

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