Travels, Lovecraft’s


Travels, Lovecraft’s
   In 1915 HPL wrote: “I have never been outside the three states of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut!” ( SL1.10). HPL was born in Providence, R.I., but shortly thereafter his parents returned to their home in Dorchester, Mass.; they also visited Dudley, Mass, (in the south-central part of the state) in the summer of 1892 and resided (according to HPL’s unverified testimony) with Louise Imogen Guiney in Auburndale in the winter of 1892–93; then, upon the illness of HPL’s father, they returned to Providence. HPL (and, presumably, his mother) went to Foster, R.I., in 1896, visiting ancestral sites ( SL3.409), perhaps as a way of relieving the gloom attending the death of HPL’s grandmother earlier that year. HPL also spent the summer of 1899 with his mother in Westminster, Mass., in the north-central part of the state ( SL2.348). The trip to Connecticut may have been the visit of 1901 that HPL mentions on several occasions (e.g. SL1.298), although he never specifies the locale of the visit. HPL also visited his cousin Phillips Gamwell on numerous occasions in Cambridge in the 1910–16 period.
   But HPL’s hermitry ended in 1919–20, when developing ties to amateur writers impelled him to take trips of increasing breadth; not coincidentally, the illness of his mother and her removal from 454 Angell Street also freed HPL to roam farther than he had done previously. Among his several trips to the Boston area at this time, the most memorable was a trip to the Copley Plaza in Boston in October 1919 to hear Lord Dunsany lecture ( SL1.91–93). He traveled to Boston several more times in 1921, as well as visiting C.W. “Tryout” Smith and Myrta Alice Little in Haverhill, Mass. (June 1921); he wrote of the visit in “The Haverhill Convention” ( Tryout,July 1921). The NAPA convention in Boston saw HPL in attendance; it was on this occasion that he first met his future wife, Sonia H. Greene. He wrote of the gathering in an unpublished essay, “The Convention Banquet” (ms., JHL). At Sonia’s urging, HPL made a six-day trip to New York in April 1922. He went with Sonia to Gloucester and Magnolia, Mass., in late June and early July, then returned to New York in late July prior to heading the farthest west he would ever venture—Cleveland, Ohio—in August to visit Alfred Galpin and Samuel Loveman. He returned to New York, staying there until late September. In midSeptember his visit with Rheinhart Kleiner to the Dutch Reformed Church in Brooklyn led to the writing of “The Hound” (1922). Late in 1922 HPL made his ecstatic first visit to the colonial haven of Marblehead, Mass., later the site for “The Festival” (1923). Further trips to New England—chiefly Salem, Marblehead, and Newburyport, Mass. (April), and Portsmouth, N.H. (August), and areas in western Rhode Island with James F.Morton (September) and C.M. Eddy (November)—occupied much of 1923.
   HPL’s most momentous voyage was his two-year stay in Brooklyn (March 1924–April 1926). Initially thrilled at being in the vibrant metropolis, HPL later came to hate the place for its gigantism, its general absence of colonial landmarks, and its legions of “foreignerss of “5P who teemed at every street corner. HPL sought as best he could to explore nearby antiquarian landmarks: Elizabeth, N.J. (October 1924, June and August 1925), Philadelphia (seen briefly during his honeymoon and explored more exhaustively in November 1924), Washington, D.C. (April 1925), Paterson, N.J. (August 1925), Yonkers and Tarrytown, N.Y. (September 1925), Jamaica, Mineola, Hempstead, and Garden City, Long Island (September 1925). These visits provided much-needed respite from the clangor of the metropolis and from his unproductive life of poverty in Brooklyn.
   HPL returned ecstatically to Providence in April 1926, but as early as September he was back in New York (evidently at Sonia’s bidding), staying for two weeks and briefly visiting Philadelphia. In October he revisited the ancestral sites in Foster, with Annie E.P.Gamwell. In the summer of 1927, HPL initiated what would become an annual and ever-widening series of jaunts up and down the eastern seaboard in quest of antiquarian havens. In July, he went with Donald Wandrei to Boston, Salem, Marblehead, and Athol, Mass., and Newport, R.I. The next month he visited Worcester, Amherst, and Deerfield, Mass., detouring briefly into Vermont (described in “Vermont—A First Impression” [1927]); Portland, Me; Portsmouth, N.H.; and Newburyport and Haverhill, Mass, (described in a compressed travelogue, “The Trip of Theobald,” Tryout,September 1927).
   In 1928 HPL’s travels began unexpectedly early, as in April he was summoned to Brooklyn by Sonia, who was setting up a hat shop and requested HPL’s assistance. He took the occasion to go on an expedition by car with Frank Belknap Long up the Hudson River and (on a later trip with Long) to Stamford and Ridgefield, Conn. In May he visited James F.Morton at his museum in Paterson, N.J., and visited Wilfred B.Talman in Spring Valley (Rockland Co.), N.Y., returning via Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow. Then Vrest Orton invited HPL to visit him in Brattleboro, Vt, and HPL spent two weeks there in June. Later that month he proceeded to Wilbraham, Mass., where he visited Edith Miniter; the impressions he derived from that visit were incorporated into the topography of “The Dunwich Horror” (1928). In July he headed south, passing through New York and going on to Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Annapolis, Alexandria, George Washington’s residence at Mt. Vernon, and the Endless Caverns in New Market, Va. This series of travels was described in one of his finest travelogues, “Observations on Several Parts of America” (1928).
   HPL’s travels of 1929 began at the very start of the year, as Samuel Loveman came to Providence and went with HPL to Boston, Salem, and Marblehead. In April HPL came to New York and then spent several weeks in Vrest Orton’s home in Yonkers. In May he headed south, visiting Washington and exhaustively exploring Richmond, Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown, Fredericksburg, and Falmouth, Va. Later he spent a few more days in Washington, returned to New York, and was driven by the Longs to West Shokan, N.Y., the residence of Bernard Austin Dwyer. HPL explored the abundant Dutch colonial remains of the nearby towns of Kingston, Hurley, and New Paltz. HPL wrote of these travels in “Travels in the Provinces of America” (1929). In August he took a trip to the Fairbanks house (1636) in Dedham, Mass., writing of the visit in an unpublished essay, “An Account of a Trip to the Fairbanks House” (1929). Later that month the Longs took HPL on a visit to New Bedford and Cape Cod. It was on this occasion that HPL, for the first and last only time, flew in an airplane (a $3 ride over Buzzard’s Bay). Late in August HPL and his aunt Annie Gamwell revisited sites in Foster.
   In late April 1930 HPL headed directly from Providence to Charleston , S.C., whose colonial remains entranced him. It came to be his second favorite town, after Providence, and he wrote of it in “An Account of Charleston” (1930). In May HPL returned north through Richmond, New York City, and Kingston, N.Y., returning home in mid-June. The next month he attended the NAPA convention in Boston, and in August the Longs took him again to Cape Cod. Then, in late August, he took a cheap excursion to Quebec, whose colonial relics impelled him to write A Description of the Town of Quebeck(1930–31), his single longest literary work.
   HPL’s travels of 1931 reached the widest extent they would ever achieve. In May he left for New York, spent much time in Charleston, visited Savannah, Ga., and spent two weeks in St. Augustine, Fla. He also visited Henry S.White-head in Dunedin, briefly visited Miami, and then spent several days in Key West. He returned north via St. Augustine, Charleston, Richmond, Fredericksburg, Philadelphia, and New York. The Longs took him for a weekend to the beach resort of Asbury Park, N.J., and he spent a week with Talman in Brooklyn. He returned home in mid-July. In October he went with W.Paul Cook to Boston, Newburyport, and Haverhill; in November to Boston, Salem, Marblehead, Newburyport (which inspired the writing of “The Shadow over Innsmouth”), and Portsmouth. He wrote no travelogue of these visits, but they are chronicled extensively in his letters.
   In May 1932 HPL left Providence for New York, then went south to Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Memphis, Tennessee, and Vicksburg and Natchez, Mississippi. He then proceeded to New Orleans, spending time with E.Hoffmann Price. HPL subsequently explored Mobile and Montgomery, Ala., and Atlanta, returning north via Fredericksburg, Annapolis, Philadelphia, and New York. He was called home abruptly in early July by the illness of his aunt Lillian, who died on July 3. In late August HPL visited Cook in Boston; they went to Newburyport to see a solar eclipse, after which HPL spent several days in Quebec. HPL revisited Salem and Marblehead in October. Toward the end of the year HPL initiated a new tradition of spending New Year’s Day in New York City, visiting his many friends there; on these occasions he usually stayed with the Longs.
   HPL visited Hartford, Conn., in March 1933, seeing his ex-wife Sonia for the last time. Following his move to 66 College Street in May, HPL visited sites in Narragansett County, R.I., in a car driven by E.Hoffmann Price. The Longs came through Providence in late July and took HPL to Cape Cod, and he later visited Newport in the company of James F.Morton. HPL’s third trip to Quebec occurred in September; he also spent one day in Montreal. He again visited New York for New Year’s celebrations.
   In mid-March 1934 HPL’s young friend R.H.Barlow invited HPL for an extended stay at his home in De Land, Fla. HPL accepted the offer, heading south the next month, spending time in New York and Charleston, and reaching De Land on May 2. He stayed until mid-June, after which he visited St. Augustine, Charleston, Richmond, Fredericksburg, Washington, Philadelphia, and New York; the Longs then took him to Asbury Park and Ocean Grove, N.J. In August HPL went with Cook and Edward H.Cole to Boston, Salem, and Marblehead. Later that month HPL visited Nantucket for the first time, being enchanted by the antiquities there and writing of his visit in “The Unknown City in the Ocean” ( Perspective Review,Winter 1934). HPL again spent New Year’s in New York City. HPL returned to Boston and Marblehead with Cole in May 1935. The next month HPL returned to Barlow’s Florida home, staying from June 9 to August 18. HPL then visited St. Augustine, Charleston, Richmond, Washington, Philadelphia, and New York, reaching home on September 14. It would prove the last of HPL’s extensive summer travels, although he did visit various sites (including Cape Cod) with Cole in September, and New Haven, Conn., and Boston (with Samuel Loveman) in October. The end of the year saw HPL’s last New Year’s visit to New York City.
   Most of 1936 was full of illness (both for HPL and for his aunt Annie), poverty, and grueling revision work, so HPL did little traveling. In July HPL managed to get to Newport; and when Maurice W.Moe and his son Robert visited later that month, they took HPL to Pawtuxet and other sites in Rhode Island. HPL visited an area called Squantum Woods, on the east shore of Narragansett Bay, in October, and later that month visited the Neutaconkanut woods three miles northwest of his home; but thereafter he became too ill to travel.
   HPL’s travel writings—whether in letters or in formal travelogues—are some of his most engaging documents. Aside from the meticulousness with which he records the history and topography of his chosen sites, the thrill he experienced at visiting antiquarian havens from Quebec to Key West is infectiously transmitted to the reader. It is possible, with HPL’s travelogues of Charleston, Quebec, and other locales in hand, to follow his footsteps exactly. On one occasion HPL wrote out a detailed itinerary from memory of the antiquarian sites in Newport for his aunt Annie (letter dated September 1927; ms., JHL). The impressions HPL derived from his travels enter extensively into his fiction from as early as “The Festival” to such important tales as “The Silver Key,” “The Colour out of Space,” “The Dunwich Horror,” “The Whisperer in Darkness,” and “The Shadow over Innsmouth”; these tales (as well as those set in his native Providence—“The Shunned House,” “The Call of Cthulhu,” The Case of Charles Dexter Ward,and “The Haunter of the Dark”) establish HPL as a significant New England regionalist as well as a master of the horror tale.

An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia. .

Look at other dictionaries:

  • “Travels in the Provinces of America“ —    Essay (19,800 words); probably written in the fall of 1929. First published in MW    The second of HPL’s great travelogues (after “Observations on Several Parts of America” [1928]), covering his travels of the spring and summer of 1929. It… …   An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia

  • Letters, Lovecraft’s —    Shortly after his death, HPL’s longtime friend Maurice W. Moe wrote: “If there is ever a survey to determine the greatest letter writer in history, the claims of Lovecraft deserve close investigation” (“Howard Phillips Lovecraft: The Sage of… …   An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia

  • List of works by H. P. Lovecraft — This is a complete, exhaustive list of works by H. P. Lovecraft. Dates are the time of composition, not publication. Many of these works can be found on . Fiction* At the Mountains of Madness (February 22 March 1931) * Azathoth (June 1922) *… …   Wikipedia

  • “Shadow over Innsmouth, The“ —    Novelette (22,150 words); written November December 3, 1931. First published as a book (Everett, Pa.: Visionary Publishing Co., 1936); rpt. (abridged) WT(January 1942); first collected in O; corrected text in DH;annotated version as a separate …   An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia

  • Moe, Maurice W[inter] —    (1882–1940)    Teacher, amateur journalist, and longtime friend and correspondent of HPL. Moe taught English at Appleton High School (Appleton, Wis.) and later at West Division High School in Milwaukee. He came in touch with HPL no later than… …   An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia

  • Brobst, Harry K[ern] —    (b. 1909)    Friend of HPL (1932–37). Born in Wilming ton, Del, Brobst came with his family to Allentown, Pa., around 1921, be friending the young Carl F.Strauch, with whom he shared an interest in weird fiction and WT. Brobst particularly… …   An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia

  • “Electric Executioner, The“ —    Short story (8,050 words); ghostwritten for Adolphe de Castro, in July 1929. First published in WT (August 1930); first collected in Cats;corrected text in HM    The unnamed narrator is asked by the president of his company to track down a man …   An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia

  • Marsh, Barnabas (Old Man) —    (b. 1862)    In “The Shadow over Innsmouth,” the owner of the Marsh refinery in Innsmouth. He is grandson of Capt. Obed Marsh (1790–1878), who, in the 1840s, brought back to Innsmouth from his travels in the South Seas a wife who was in fact a …   An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia

  • “Observations on Several Parts of America“ —    Essay (9,700 words); probably written in the fall of 1928. First published in Marginalia(as “Observations on Several Parts of North America”); rpt. MW.    The first of HPL’s several travelogues, which cover his annual spring and summer… …   An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia

  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen timeline — The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is an ongoing graphic novel series written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Kevin O Neill. The primary commentator on the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series (hereto after in this article referred to as… …   Wikipedia


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