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Crossing Borders: Hospitality in Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Florence Marryat’s The Blood of the Vampire

  • Maria ParrinoEmail author
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Part of the Palgrave Gothic book series (PAGO)

Abstract

The two novels analysed in this chapter, Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Florence Marryat’s The Blood of the Vampire (both published in 1897) focus on vampires who constantly negotiate with people and places, transforming and being transformed by the rules and roles of hospitality. Both novels offer an insight into the dynamics of hospitality and show how space, language, food and eating rituals play an important role in the interaction between guest and host. Through the focus on the vampires’ physical and metaphorical movements among different spaces and social communities, a migrant figure emerges—one who lives in endless tension between separation and aggregation. In Dracula, the count who never eats but generously provides food, welcomes his guest into his castle, reminding him that he is to enter “freely” and at his “own will”. Just like Dracula offers the borders of his domestic space as the locus of negotiation, the vampire is allowed to cross thresholds only if he is invited in, a verbal performance which marks that interaction is based on consent. In The Blood of the Vampire, abnormal eating habits and non-conforming behaviour confine mixed-race Harriet Brandt into the condition of a psychic vampire. Harriet’s struggle to overcome the burden of the past and her evil maternal legacy is examined through changes of geographical places and lodgings, spatial expressions of her own inner transformation. In both vampire texts, orality, voracity and hospitality are central to the dynamics of the story, as is the vampirical defeat of human liminality.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of VeniceVeniceItaly

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