Dead Doesn't Mean Gone
The Haunting of Bly Manor as a Neo-Victorian Text
This essay places Mike Flanagan’s The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020) within the theoretical framework of the neo-Victorian genre. Based on the work of Henry James, The Haunting of Bly Manor figures as the second instalment in Flanagan’s Haunting horror anthology series, exploring the themes of memory and trauma through the Gothic tropes of spectrality and haunting. The essay assesses whether Flanagan’s adaptive decisions constructively engage in a dialogue with the nineteenth-century socio-political structures and their haunting effect on the present. Placing emphasis on the issues of sexuality and class, he relies on the neo-Victorian practice of rendering visible the historically invisible, as well as the genre’s central metaphor of the mirror as a window to the past. The essay therefore considers the extent to which the narrative possibilities Flanagan creates for contemporary re-imaginings of James’s characters utilize the neo-Victorian genre’s subversive potential.