Arkham

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This article is about the city in fiction. For the Arkham Asylum, see Arkham Asylum. For the video game, see Batman: Arkham Asylum. For the sequel to Batman: Arkham Asylum, see Batman: Arkham City. For the founder of Arkham Asylum, see Amadeus Arkham.
A map of Arkham, Massachusetts
Detailed map of Lovecraft Country, showing one possible location of Arkham.

Arkham (/ˈɑrkəm/) is a fictional city in Massachusetts, part of the Lovecraft Country setting created by H. P. Lovecraft and is featured in many of his stories, as well as those of other Cthulhu Mythos writers.

Arkham House, a publishing company started by two of Lovecraft's correspondents, August Derleth and Donald Wandrei, takes its name from this city as a tribute.[1]

In Lovecraft's stories[edit]

The Thing on the Doorstep[2]


What lay behind our joint love of shadows and marvels was, no doubt, the ancient,
mouldering, and subtly fearsome town in which we live - witch-cursed, legend-haunted
Arkham, whose huddled, sagging gambrel roofs and crumbling Georgian balustrades
brood out the centuries beside the darkly muttering Miskatonic.

—HP Lovecraft

Arkham is the home of Miskatonic University, which figures prominently in many of Lovecraft's works. The institution finances the expeditions in both At the Mountains of Madness (1936) and The Shadow Out of Time (1936). Walter Gilman, of "The Dreams in the Witch House" (1933), attends classes at the university. Other notable institutions in Arkham are the Arkham Historical Society and the Arkham Sanitarium. It is said in "Herbert West—Reanimator" that the town was devastated by a typhoid outbreak in 1905.

Lovecraft's Crowninshield House in The Thing on the Doorstep was modelled on the real Crowninshield-Bentley House in Salem, Massachusetts.

Arkham's main newspaper is the Arkham Advertiser, which has a circulation that reaches as far as Dunwich. In the 1880s, its newspaper is called the Arkham Gazette.

Arkham’s most notable characteristics are its gambrel roofs and the dark legends that have surrounded the city for centuries. The disappearance of children (presumably murdered in ritual sacrifices) at May Eve and other "bad doings" are accepted as a part of life for the poorer citizens of the city.

Location[edit]

The precise location of Arkham is unspecified, although it is probably near both Innsmouth and Dunwich. However, it may be surmised from Lovecraft's stories that it is some distance to the north of Boston, probably in Essex County, Massachusetts.[3]

A more recent mapping of Lovecraft Country reinforces this suggestion, with Arkham being situated close to the location of Gordon College; in Lovecraft's work this would presumably be replaced by Miskatonic University itself. The real-life model for Arkham seems to be, in fact, Salem, its reputation for the occult appealing to one who dabbles in the weird tale.[4]

Arkham Sanitarium appears in the short story "The Thing on the Doorstep" and may have been inspired by the Danvers State Insane Asylum, aka Danvers State Hospital, located in Danvers, Massachusetts.[5] (Danvers State Hospital also appears in Lovecraft's stories "Pickman's Model" and The Shadow over Innsmouth.).

Appearances[edit]

Lovecraft's fiction[edit]

Note: dates are the year written.

Arkham first appeared in Lovecraft's short story "The Picture in the House"[6] (1920)—the story is also the first to mention "Miskatonic".[7]

It also appears in other stories by Lovecraft, including:

Other authors[edit]

Arkham also appears in the Cthulhu Mythos tales of other writers since Lovecraft's death. Among them:

Other appearances[edit]

Literature[edit]

Film and television[edit]

Comics[edit]

Games[edit]

Music[edit]

See also[edit]

Other fictional settings from the stories of H. P. Lovecraft:

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Cf. "About Arkham House" web site.
  2. ^ "Lovecraft, Howard P. (1999) [1933]. "The Thing on the Doorstep". In S. T. Joshi and Peter Cannon (eds.). More Annotated Lovecraft (1st ed.).". New York City, NY: Dell. ISBN 0-440-50875-4. With explanatory footnotes. 1999 (1933).  Check date values in: |date= (help);
  3. ^ The actual location of Arkham is a subject of debate. Will Murray places Arkham in central Massachusetts and suggests that it is based on the small village of Oakham. Robert D. Marten rejects this claim and equates Arkham with Salem, and thinks that Arkham is named for Arkwright, Rhode Island (which is now part of Fiskville). Lovecraft himself, in a letter to F. Lee Baldwin dated April 29, 1934, wrote that "[my] mental picture of Arkham is of a town something like Salem in atmosphere [and] style of houses, but more hilly [and] with a college (which Salem [lacks]) ... I place the town [and] the imaginary Miskatonic [River] somewhere north of Salem—perhaps near Manchester." (Joshi & Schultz, pp. 6–7.)
  4. ^ August Derleth stated in his writings: "Arkham ... was Lovecraft’s own well-known, widely used place-name for legend-haunted Salem, Massachusetts, in his remarkable fiction". (Cf. "About Arkham House" web site.)
  5. ^ Joseph Morales notes in his "A Short Tour of Lovecraftian New England" (web site) that Danvers "is mentioned in passing in some of Lovecraft's stories, and might also be the inspiration for HPL's fictional Arkham Sanitarium".
  6. ^ ;, H.P. Lovecraft ; selected by August Derleth ; with texts edited by S.T. Joshi; Bloch, an introduction by Robert (1963). The Dunwich horror and others (corrected 7. printing ed.). Sauk City, Wis.: Arkham House. p. 117. ISBN 0870540378. 
  7. ^ ;, H.P. Lovecraft ; selected by August Derleth ; with texts edited by S.T. Joshi; Bloch, an introduction by Robert (1963). The Dunwich horror and others (corrected 7. printing ed.). Sauk City, Wis.: Arkham House. p. 117. ISBN 0870540378. 
  8. ^ Derleth, H.P. Lovecraft ; selected by August; Joshi, with texts edited by S.T.; Klein, an introduction by T.E.D. (1987). Dagon and other macabre tales (Corr. 5th print. ed.). Sauk City, Wis.: Arkham House Publishers. p. 133. ISBN 0870540394. 
  9. ^ Derleth, H.P. Lovecraft ; selected by August; Joshi, with texts edited by S.T.; Klein, an introduction by T.E.D. (1987). Dagon and other macabre tales (Corr. 5th print. ed.). Sauk City, Wis.: Arkham House Publishers. p. 200. ISBN 0870540394. 
  10. ^ ;, H.P. Lovecraft ; selected by August Derleth ; with texts edited by S.T. Joshi; Turner, an introduction by James (1985). At the mountains of madness, and other novels (Corr. 7. print. ed.). Sauk City, WI: Arkham House. p. 413. ISBN 0870540386. 
  11. ^ ;, H.P. Lovecraft ; selected by August Derleth ; with texts edited by S.T. Joshi; Bloch, an introduction by Robert (1963). The Dunwich horror and others (corrected 7. printing ed.). Sauk City, Wis.: Arkham House. p. 53. ISBN 0870540378. 
  12. ^ ;, H.P. Lovecraft ; selected by August Derleth ; with texts edited by S.T. Joshi; Bloch, an introduction by Robert (1963). The Dunwich horror and others (corrected 7. printing ed.). Sauk City, Wis.: Arkham House. p. 165. ISBN 0870540378. 
  13. ^ ;, H.P. Lovecraft ; selected by August Derleth ; with texts edited by S.T. Joshi; Turner, an introduction by James (1985). At the mountains of madness, and other novels (Corr. 7. print. ed.). Sauk City, WI: Arkham House. p. 6. ISBN 0870540386. 
  14. ^ ;, H.P. Lovecraft ; selected by August Derleth ; with texts edited by S.T. Joshi; Bloch, an introduction by Robert (1963). The Dunwich horror and others (corrected 7. printing ed.). Sauk City, Wis.: Arkham House. p. 305. ISBN 0870540378. 
  15. ^ ;, H.P. Lovecraft ; selected by August Derleth ; with texts edited by S.T. Joshi; Turner, an introduction by James (1985). At the mountains of madness, and other novels (Corr. 7. print. ed.). Sauk City, WI: Arkham House. p. 262. ISBN 0870540386. 
  16. ^ ;, H.P. Lovecraft ; selected by August Derleth ; with texts edited by S.T. Joshi; Turner, an introduction by James (1985). At the mountains of madness, and other novels (Corr. 7. print. ed.). Sauk City, WI: Arkham House. p. 422. ISBN 0870540386. 
  17. ^ ;, H.P. Lovecraft ; selected by August Derleth ; with texts edited by S.T. Joshi; Bloch, an introduction by Robert (1963). The Dunwich horror and others (corrected 7. printing ed.). Sauk City, Wis.: Arkham House. p. 276. ISBN 0870540378. 
  18. ^ ;, H.P. Lovecraft ; selected by August Derleth ; with texts edited by S.T. Joshi; Bloch, an introduction by Robert (1963). The Dunwich horror and others (corrected 7. printing ed.). Sauk City, Wis.: Arkham House. p. 370. ISBN 0870540378. 
  19. ^ "Arkham Tales". Chaosium. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  20. ^ "The Atrocity Archives". Google Books. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  21. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnB-gYeRT7U

References[edit]

Primary sources[edit]

  • Lovecraft, Howard P.
    • At the Mountains of Madness, and Other Novels (7th corrected printing), S. T. Joshi (ed.), Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1985. ISBN 0-87054-038-6. Definitive version.
    • Dagon and Other Macabre Tales, S. T. Joshi (ed.), Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1987. ISBN 0-87054-039-4. Definitive version.
    • The Dunwich Horror and Others (9th corrected printing), S. T. Joshi (ed.), Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1984. ISBN 0-87054-037-8. Definitive version.

Secondary sources[edit]

Books[edit]

  • Harms, Daniel (1998). "Arkham". The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana (2nd ed. ed.). Oakland, CA: Chaosium. p. 10. ISBN 1-56882-119-0. 
  • Joshi, S. T.; David E. Schultz (2001). "Arkham". An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. pp. 6–7. ISBN 0-313-31578-7. 

Web sites[edit]

External links[edit]