Monday, April 03, 2006

Is There a Tillinghast In The House?

Everyday, I get excited about what new bit of Lovecraft I can offer up as an oblation to both long time fans and new seekers.

In no way, do I feel this to be an "oblogation"! ;)

Today, let's look at a quirk of the weird tale writer from Providence. Lovecraft would fixate on certain themes and fiddly bits his entire career and come back to it over and over. For instance, there is rarely a story that doesn't refer to "dark", "black", or end up with the protagonist going into a cave, a staircase to the nether earthen regions, or into a dank crypt, or an undersea depth.

And names. Randolph Carter is resurrected over and over. Then there is a special, archaic name found in yellowed New England ledgers - Tillinghast. This name is associated with the Rhode Island tuberculosis vampire tradition, and specifically Stuckely "Snuffy" Tillinghast and his family at the end of the eighteenth century.

Here are the three instances of the Tillinghast name I've found. If you know more, post in the comments section below!

From Beyond (Nov. 1920)... "Horrible beyond conception was the change which had taken place in my best friend, Crawford Tillinghast*."

The Case of Charles Dexter Ward (early 1927) ... "...but Capt. Tillinghast was an astute man, and soon uncovered enough rumours {sic} to whet his horror ..."

The Shunned House (Oct. 1924) ... "...but here the strangers had been granted a haven ... reading queer books and drawing queer diagrams ... at Pardon Tillinghast's wharf."

* S. T. Joshi relates that in the original Lovecraft draft of this story, the character's name was Henry Annesly. p. 268, An H.P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia, 2001.

Note: Thanks for the continuing notes of encouragement, and to the hundreds of you who have stopped by and made the HPLblog a part of your on-line experience!


John Rwolands said...

Some cool stuff, stilol have a lot of catching up to do. Cheers

Michelle said...


Ow, ow.




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