- Fictitious city in Massachusetts invented by HPL.Dunwich was created for “The Dunwich Horror” (1928) and is cited only in that tale and in the poem “The Ancient Track” (1929). It was based roughly upon the area in south-central Massachusetts around the towns of Wilbraham, Monson, and Hampden (see SL3.432–33), which HPL had seen in the two weeks he had spent with Edith Miniter in Wilbraham just prior to writing the story in the summer of 1928. Some parts of the locale were, however, imported from north-central Massachusetts, specifically the area around Athol (Sentinel Hill in the story seems derived, at least in name, from a Sentinel Elm Farm in Athol), including the Bear’s Den, a wooded ravine that HPL’s friend H.Warner Munn showed him.HPL presumably derived the name Dunwich from the decaying town on the southeast coast of England. The town is the basis of a poem by Algernon Charles Swinburne, “By the North Sea” (although Dunwich is not mentioned in the poem); Dunwich is also mentioned in Arthur Machen’s short novel The Terror (1917), which HPL is known to have read (see SL1.304, 310). Oddly enough, the English Dunwich seems more similar in character to HPL’s Innsmouth. For the English town see Rowland Parker, Men of Dunwich(1978).
An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia. S.T. Joshi, David E. Schultz.