Arkham

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Arkham
Map of the Principal Parts of Arkham, Massachusetts.png
H. P. Lovecraft's hand-drawn map of Arkham, Massachusetts
Lovecraft Country.svg
Location of Arkham in Lovecraft Country, Massachusetts
Created byH. P. Lovecraft
GenreHorror fiction
In-universe information
TypeCity
LocationMassachusetts
LocationsMiskatonic University

Arkham (/ˈɑːrkəm/) is a fictional city situated in Massachusetts. An integral part of the Lovecraft Country setting created by H. P. Lovecraft, Arkham is featured in many of his stories and those of other Cthulhu Mythos writers.[1]

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.[2] Arkham Asylum, a fictional institution in DC Comics' Batman stories, is also named for Lovecraft's Arkham.[3]

In Lovecraft's stories[edit]

Arkham is the home of Miskatonic University, which features prominently in many of Lovecraft's works. The institution finances the expeditions in the novellas, 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 modeled 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. A more recent mapping of Lovecraft Country reinforces this suggestion,[citation needed] 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 actual location of Arkham is a subject of debate. Will Murray places Arkham in central Massachusetts and suggests it is based on the village of Oakham. Robert D. Marten rejects this and equates Arkham with Salem, with its name coming from Arkwright, Rhode Island (now part of Fiskville).

August Derleth describes Arkham as "Lovecraft's own well-known, widely used place-name for legend-haunted Salem, Massachusetts",[4] and 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."[5]

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.[6] (Danvers State Hospital itself 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"[7] (1920)—the story is also the first to mention "Miskatonic".[7]

It appears in other stories by Lovecraft, including:

Other appearances[edit]

Novels[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Manguel, Alberto; Guadalupi, Gianni (1987). The Dictionary of Imaginary Places. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. pp. 20–21. ISBN 0-15-626054-9.
  2. ^ Cf. "About Arkham House" web site.
  3. ^ a b Voger, Mark; Voglesong, Kathy (2006). The Dark Age: Grim, Great & Gimmicky Post-Modern Comics. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 5. ISBN 1-893905-53-5.
  4. ^ "About Arkham House" web site.
  5. ^ Joshi & Schultz, pp. 6–7.
  6. ^ 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 may also be the inspiration for HPL's fictional Arkham Sanitarium".
  7. ^ a b Lovecraft, H.P. (1963). S.T. Joshi (ed.). The Dunwich horror and others. selected by August Derleth, introduction by Robert Bloch (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. {{cite book}}: |first2= has generic name (help)
  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. {{cite book}}: |first2= has generic name (help)
  10. ^ Lovecraft, H.P. (1985). S.T. Joshi (ed.). At the mountains of madness, and other novels. selected by August Derleth, introduction by Robert Bloch (Corr. 7. print. ed.). Sauk City, WI: Arkham House. p. 413. ISBN 0870540386.
  11. ^ Lovecraft, H.P. (1963). S.T. Joshi (ed.). The Dunwich horror and others. selected by August Derleth, introduction by Robert Bloch (corrected 7. printing ed.). Sauk City, Wis.: Arkham House. p. 53. ISBN 0870540378.
  12. ^ Lovecraft, H.P. (1963). S.T. Joshi (ed.). The Dunwich horror and others. selected by August Derleth, introduction by Robert Bloch (corrected 7. printing ed.). Sauk City, Wis.: Arkham House. p. 165. ISBN 0870540378.
  13. ^ Lovecraft, H.P. (1985). S.T. Joshi (ed.). At the mountains of madness, and other novels. selected by August Derleth, introduction by Robert Bloch (Corr. 7. print. ed.). Sauk City, WI: Arkham House. p. 6. ISBN 0870540386.
  14. ^ Lovecraft, H.P. (1963). S.T. Joshi (ed.). The Dunwich horror and others. selected by August Derleth, introduction by Robert Bloch (corrected 7. printing ed.). Sauk City, Wis.: Arkham House. p. 305. ISBN 0870540378.
  15. ^ Lovecraft, H.P. (1985). S.T. Joshi (ed.). At the mountains of madness, and other novels. selected by August Derleth, introduction by Robert Bloch (Corr. 7. print. ed.). Sauk City, WI: Arkham House. p. 262. ISBN 0870540386.
  16. ^ Lovecraft, H.P. (1985). S.T. Joshi (ed.). At the mountains of madness, and other novels. selected by August Derleth, introduction by Robert Bloch (Corr. 7. print. ed.). Sauk City, WI: Arkham House. p. 422. ISBN 0870540386.
  17. ^ Lovecraft, H.P. (1963). S.T. Joshi (ed.). The Dunwich horror and others. selected by August Derleth, introduction by Robert Bloch (corrected 7. printing ed.). Sauk City, Wis.: Arkham House. p. 276. ISBN 0870540378.
  18. ^ Lovecraft, H.P. (1963). S.T. Joshi (ed.). The Dunwich horror and others. selected by August Derleth, introduction by Robert Bloch (corrected 7. printing ed.). Sauk City, Wis.: Arkham House. p. 370. ISBN 0870540378.
  19. ^ O'Neil, Dennis (2008). Batman Unauthorized: Vigilantes, Jokers, and Heroes in Gotham City. BenBella Books. p. 111. ISBN 978-1-933771-30-4.
  20. ^ "Arkham Horror". Board Game Geek. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  21. ^ McAllister, Jeff (December 7, 2010). "Splatterhouse easter eggs and references guide". gamesradar.
  22. ^ "The Real Ghostbusters (a Titles & Air Dates Guide)". Episode Guides. Archived from the original on November 19, 2015. Retrieved November 18, 2015.
  23. ^ "Arkham Tales". Chaosium. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  24. ^ Stross, Charles (January 3, 2006). The Atrocity Archives. ISBN 9781101208847. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  25. ^ Stross, Charles (November 4, 2010). The Jennifer Morgue. ISBN 9780748124145. Retrieved December 20, 2015.

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]

Web sites[edit]

External links[edit]