Kingsport (Lovecraft)

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Kingsport is a fictional town in the writings of H. P. Lovecraft. The town first appeared in Lovecraft's short story "The Terrible Old Man" (1921). The town is also part of the Cthulhu Mythos and is featured in role-playing games based on the mythos.

Location[edit]

Abbott Hall
in Marblehead, Massachusetts

The town is located in the United States to the southeast of (the fictitious) Arkham and corresponds geographically with the town of Prides Crossing, Massachusetts. It is based on Marblehead, Massachusetts, a real town that lies east of Salem. Lovecraft actually created Kingsport before he saw its real-life model. When Lovecraft visited Marblehead in 1922, he became enamored of the town and penned a glowing review in 1929 of his experiences there. Lovecraft wrote of seeing the snow-covered town at sunset and of experiencing his "first stupid glance of [Marblehead's] huddled and [archaic] roofs". He also remarked that "that instant — about 4:05 to 4:10 pm., Dec. 17, 1922 — [was] the most powerful single emotional climax during my nearly forty years of existence." [1]

History[edit]

Kingsport was founded in 1639 by colonists from southern England and the Channel Islands. It soon became a seaport and center for shipbuilding. Influenced by the Salem witch trials, the town hanged four alleged witches in 1692. During the American Revolutionary War, the port was briefly blockaded by the British when the town's merchants turned to privateering against the British fleet. In the 19th century, sea trade dwindled and the town turned to fishing as the main industry. Kingsport's economy continued to dwindle into the 20th century and today relies primarily on tourism for income.[2]

Appearances[edit]

Kingsport is featured in the following stories by Lovecraft:

The town was mentioned in Robert Bloch's short story "Notebook Found in a Deserted House" and The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson, and was part of An Evil Guest by Gene Wolfe. The original draft of Ramsey Campbell's The Church in High Street, The Tomb-Herd was set in Kingsport, before August Derleth persuaded Campbell to rewrite the story in a British setting; the town Temphill.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pearsall, Anthony B. (2005). "Kingsport". The Lovecraft Lexicon (1st ed. ed.). Tempe, AZ: New Falcon Pub. p. 247. ISBN 1-56184-129-3. 
  2. ^ Harms, Daniel (1998). "Kingsport". The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana (2nd ed. ed.). Oakland, CA: Chaosium. pp. 166–167. ISBN 1-56882-119-0.