Gothic Narrations of Haddon Hall
Haddon Hall, Bakewell DE45 1LA

Henry James (1843-1916) was an American writer most famous for his work and involvement in nineteenth Century literary realism.  James lived a rich and varied life, having spent much of his youth travelling Europe and America.  He eventually settled in London in 1869 and later published Transatlantic Sketches (1875), a collection of travel pieces.  Among his histories of Rome, Darmstadt and Belgium lies the account of his visit to Haddon Hall, in which he writes:

The twilight deepened, the ragged battlements and the low, broad oriels glanced duskily from the foliage, the rooks wheeled and clamored in the glowing sky; and if there had been a ghost on the premises, I certainly ought to have seen it.

James envisages a romanticised and very gothic Haddon Hall where he ‘felt, not like a tourist, but like an adventurer’.  He writes of the medieval manor as if it possessed its very own ghost story:

It is very dead… the genius of Haddon Hall; and the silent courts and chambers, with their hues of ashen gray and faded browns, seem as time-bleached as the dry bones of any mouldering mortality.

This haunted imagining Haddon Hall echoes James’ ghost story The Turn of the Screw (1898), where to awaken the house is to wake the dead.

Further details of Haddon Hall can be found here: