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H.P. Lovecraft
in the Merrimack Valley

By David Goudsward
Foreword by Kenneth W. Faig, Jr.

Back Cover Text

For decades, David Goudsward has been a leading authority on obscure historical and topographical corners of his native New England. Now, he has written the definitive treatment of Lovecraft’s connections with the Merrimack Valley of coastal Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Goudsward traces Lovecraft’s initial visits in the 1920s to such towns as Newburyport, Haverhill, and Hampstead, where he met colleagues Edgar J. Davis, Myrta Alice Little, and Charles W. “Tryout” Smith. Later visits clearly inspired many topographical features in such tales as “The Shadow over Innsmouth” and “The Shadow out of Time.”

Goudsward has made a profound study of Lovecraft’s letters and other documents, tracing the Providence writer’s movements in the area and the impressions he drew from it. Lavishly illustrated, dozens of photographs of the locale and many vivid period snapshots show the towns and other landmarks as they were seen by Lovecraft himself. Goudsward also treats the possibility that Lovecraft visited Mystery Hill, a megalithic site that some scholars believe inspired “The Dunwich Horror.”

H. P. Lovecraft in the Merrimack Valley is an exhaustive treatment of a subject that has rarely been discussed before, but that is of crucial importance to H. P. Lovecraft’s life and imagination.


  • Foreword, by Kenneth W. Faig, Jr.
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgements
  • H.P. Lovecraft in the Merrimack Valley
    1. Transformations
    2. First Visits: 1921
    3. Whittierland and Newburyport
    4. Intermezzo: 1924–1926
    5. Innsmouth Ascendant: 1927–1931
    6. Dreams and Eclipses: 1932–33
    7. Shadows out of Haverhill: 1934–36
    8. Coda
  • Appendices
    1. The Haverhill Convention, by H.P. Lovecraft
    2. First Impressions of Newburyport, by H.P. Lovecraft
    3. Tryout’s Return to Haverhill
      Plaistow, N.H., by C.W. Smith
      The Return, by H.P. Lovecraft
    4. The Published Works of Myrta Alice Little Davies
    5. Howard Prescott Lovecraft, by C.W. Smith
    6. The Publications of Charles W. Smith
    7. H.P. Lovecraft, “The Dunwich Horror,” and Mystery Hill
    8. Sites Open to the Public
  • Notes
  • Lovecraft: A Sense of Place and High Strangeness, by Chris Perridas
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Bibliographic Information

H.P. Lovecraft in the Merrimack Valley. By David Goudsward. New York, NY: Hippocampus Press; 2013; ISBN 978-1-61498-057-5; paperback; 198 pages.

Purchasing This Book

This book may be purchased in paperback from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble or directly from the publisher, Hippocampus Press.

  Return to Literary Criticism This page last revised 20 August 2013.
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