Undead Blond Hair in the Victorian Imagination: The Hungarian Roots of Bram Stoker’s "The Secret of the Growing Gold"


  • Abigail Heiniger Wayne State University




Bram Stoker, Hungarian folklore, Victorian, Great Britain


The Hungarian folktale “Woman with Hair of Gold” is a part of what Nina Auerbach calls feminine mythos in Woman and the Demon. It is a story about the murder and revenge of a “very strange but beautiful woman with golden hair as fine as spun gold.” This paper explores how Bram Stoker’s short story “The Secret of the Growing Gold” reworks this folktale, stripping away its uniquely feminine voice, to create a story expressing British Victorian racial anxieties. The message of Teutonic superiority, which Stoker links with Hungarian folklore, is this author’s most dangerous and nefarious fiction.

Author Biography

Abigail Heiniger, Wayne State University

Abigail Heiniger is currently a graduate teaching assistant for the English Department at Wayne State University. Her publications include: “Ragnok in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: The Revenge of the Hrimthursar,” Journal of Ecocriticism (2011); “Reviving Sympathy for the Insane: Hamlet in Nineteenth-Century America,” Journal of Kentucky Studies (2009); “Feminine Imagination and Waistcoat Pockets,” Kentucky Philological Review (2008); and “Faery and the Beast,” Brontë Studies (2006). Abigail is studying for her qualifying exams in transatlantic nineteenth-century fiction about women.






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