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Notes on ''The White Ship''

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1. ''Basil Elton'' – identical with the ''fellow-dreamer of earth – a lighthouse-keeper in ancient Kingsport'' alluded to in the ''Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath''. 


2.  ''North Point light''. It is tempting, given the proven association of Kingsport and Marblehead, to associate the ''North Point light'' with the Marblehead Light, but Lovecraft did not visit Marblehead until 1922 and ''The White Ship'' has been dated to 1919. Indeed, the first record we have of Kingsport is in ''The Terrible Old Man'', written in the January of 1920. The association of the ''North Point light'' with Kingsport is as late as 1926-7, in ''Kadath''. 


This chronology requires us to conclude that a) we cannot tell where Lovecraft initially placed the light-house, b. that the name Kingsport was devised long before it acquired certain elements of Marblehead and c) that in writing ''Kadath'', Lovecraft decided to associate Kingsport with the ''North Point light'' , an association that did not exist in his original conception. Thus the light-house cannot be, in origin, the Marblehead light.


2. ''Argosies'' – plural of ''argosy'', a great merchant-ship, orig. of Venice or Ragusa (an aristocratic merchant republic of the Adriatic, of the fourteenth to nineteenth centuries, Ragusa itself is presently Dubrovnik). A corruption of Ital. Ragusea ([ship] of Ragusa).


3. ''Effulgent'' – ''shining forth, bright, splendid'', Lat. effulgere, ex-, out, fulgere, to shine)


4. ''The Land of Zar'' – also see ''Kadath'' (''He saw slip past him the glorious lands and cities of which a fellow-dreamer of earth—a lighthouse-keeper in ancient Kingsport—had often discoursed in the old days, and recognised the templed terraces of Zar, abode of forgotten dreams'').


5. ''Thalarion'' – see ''Kadath'' ( the spires of infamous Thalarion, that daemon-city of a thousand wonders where the eidolon Lathi reigns).


6.  ''Eidolon'' – In this sense, likely ''phantom, apparition''. In the Dunwich Horror, a slightly different sense is used [though a phantom is properly a ''reflection'' of some thing once living], namely ''likeness, reflection,'' ([Of the Old Ones] By Their smell can men sometimes know Them near, but of Their semblance can no man know,saving only in the features of those They have begotten on mankind; and of those are there many sorts, differing in likeness from man’s truest eidolon to that shape without sight or substance which is Them.  )


7.  ''Xura'' – see ''Kadath'' (''the charnal gardens of Xura, land of pleasures unattained''). N.B. the H.P. Lovecraft Archive text is given here. The ''White Ship'' gives the more usual spelling ''charnel'', but Lovecraft's second spelling is closer in form to the original barbarous Latin ''carnale'', grave-yard, from ''carnalis'', fleshly.


8. ''And it was by moonlight that we anchored at last in the harbour of Sona-Nyl'' – See ''Kadath'' for a nearly identical description  (the twin headlands of crystal, meeting above in a resplendent arch, which guard the harbour of Sona-Nyl, blessed land of fancy.) 


9. ''Cathuria... the basalt pillars of the west... a monstrous cataract , wherein the oceans of the world drop down to abysmal nothingness'' – the fictitious city of Cathuria, the basalt pillars of the west, and the abyss that awaits those foolish enough to seek it, are likewise described in ''Kadath'': (''And before the day was done Carter saw that the steersman could have no other goal than the Basalt Pillars of the West, beyond which simple folk say splendid Cathuria lies, but which wise dreamers well know are the gates of a monstrous cataract wherein the oceans of earth’s dreamland drop wholly to abysmal nothingness and shoot through the empty spaces toward other worlds and other stars and the awful voids outside the ordered universe where the daemon-sultan Azathoth gnaws hungrily in chaos amid pounding and piping and the hellish dancing of the Other Gods, blind, voiceless, tenebrous, and mindless, with their soul and messenger Nyarlathotep.'')


The theme of a boat sailing towards a cataract at the end of the world suggests faintly the latter part of Arthur Gordon Pym, and the strange leading-bird faintly suggested the enigmatic white birds of Poe's story. This is a vague impression that does not merit to be a note.

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Fine work on this and BtWoS, Dabbler. Keep it up!

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Many thanks for the (altogether undeserved!) praise. I am glad they are useful. I hope to have notes on ''The Doom That Came to Sarnath'' completed in a few days.

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