Tales of the American Night / Unravelling Jim Morrison's Poetic Wilderness

Koben Sprengers


James Douglas Morrison, commonly known as Jim Morrison from The Doors, was, aside from being a rock star, an American poet that went largely unnoticed by critics and experts alike. Up to this day, Jim Morrison's poetry remains a rather controversial subject matter within academic circles, which often consider it to be vain and trivial due to the combination of Morrison's image as a rock star and the often highly obscure nature of his poetry, but the tide is slowly turning. Academic interest in Morrison's poetry has sparked off around the turn of the century and research has been gradually growing every since. Notwithstanding, an in-depth analysis of the overarching framework of Morrison's poetry has as of yet not been realized. Given the fact that it is hardly impossible, or at least extremely difficult, to analyse Morrison's poetry in a satisfying manner without first fully comprehending the philosophical/theoretical framework enfolding his poetry, most of his literary qualities consequently remain to this day unknown. I therefore decided to use the space of my master dissertation for a first attempt in clarifying Morrison's poetic universe by means of unravelling, decoding and describing the theoretical/philosophical framework around which it is constructed. This framework has been largely influenced by the writings of several European Idealists, most importantly those by William Blake, Arthur Rimbaud, Friedrich Nietzsche and Antonin Artaud. In describing the theoretical/philosophical framework, this project intends to break open and dissect Morrison's highly obscure and dense poetry in an attempt to accelerate the turning of the tide and prove Morrison's merits as a genuine and valuable contributor to American poetry.



11. Bibliography


Primary literature:

Courson, C. B., Courson, P. M., Lisciandro, F., Lisciandro, K. (Eds.). Wilderness: The Lost Writings of Jim Morrison. Penguin Books, 1988

Courson, C. B., Courson, P. M., Lisciandro, F., & Lisciandro, K. (Eds.). The American Night: The Writings of Jim Morrison. Penguin Books, 1990

Morrison, J. The Lords. Omnibus, 1969/1985

Morrison, J. The New Creatures. Omnibus, 1970/1985


Secondary literature:

Abraham, L. A Dictionary of Alchemical Imagery. Cambridge University Press, 1998

Academy of American Poets. A Brief Guide to Confessional Poetry. 2014               https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/text/brief-guide-confessional-poetry Last           visited 06/05/2017

Angerer, M-L. Life as Screen? Or how to grasp the virtuality of the body. Filozofski vestnik 1999: 153-164


Arbor, A. Talking All Morning. University of Michigan Press, 1980.

Artaud, A. The Theater and Its Double. Grove Press, 1958

Artaud, A. The Peyote Dance. Farrar/Straus, 1976

Balz, C. The Mass Sacrificial Spectacle, The Doors in Poetry and History. Stanford      University Press, 1990/2008

Bailey, L. On Julia Kristeva’s “the semiotic”, 2013             https://feministtheory2013.wordpress.com/2013/02/04/on-julia-kristevas-…-  semiotic/  Last visited 03/05/2016

Baudelaire, C.  Correspondance I (janvier 1832-février 1860). Gallimard, 1973

Baudelaire, C. Correspondance II (février 1860 – avril 1867). Gallimard, 1973

Blake, W. Erdman, D. Bloom, H. The Complete Poetry & Prose of William Blake Paperback. Random House 1997
Bloom, H., & Trilling, L. (Eds.). Romantic Poetry and Prose (Vol. 4). Oxford University         Press, 1973

Burroughs, W. The Cut Up Method. The Moderns: An Anthology of New Writing in            America. Corinth Books, 1963

Campbell, J. The Masks of God: Oriental Mythology (Vol. 2). Souvenir Press, 1962

Campbell, J. The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology (Vol. 3). Souvenir Press, 1964

Campbell, J. The Masks of God: Creative Mythology (Vol. 4). London: Penguin Books, 1968

Campbell, J. The Masks of God: Primitive Mythology (2nd ed. Vol. 1). Souvenir Press, 1969

Campbell, J. The Inner Reaches of Outer Space: Metaphor as Myth and as Religion. Harper   Collins, 1986

Campbell, J. This Business of the Gods. Windrose Films Ltd, 1989

Campbell, J. Myths to Live By. Penguin Books, 1972

Campbell, J., & Moyers, B. The Power of Myth. Doubleday, 1988

"Capital" Merriam-Webster.com/ Merriam-Webster, n.d, 25/06/2017.

Cook, J. Poetry in theory: an anthology, 1900-2000. Blackwell, 2004.

Cook, O. Movement in Two Dimensions. A study of the animated and projected pictures        which preceded the invention of cinematography. Hutchinson & Co. LTD, 1963

Cook, W. Gaze Into The Abyss: The Poetry of Jim Morrison. 2015

Coupe, L. Myth.Routledge, 1997

Cybulska, E. Oedipus: A Thinker At The Crossroads. Philosophy Now. N.p., 2009.             https://www.academia.edu/9237239/Oedipus_A_Thinker_At_The_Crossroads      (Last visited on 05/01/2016)

Daniels, P. Nietzsche and "The Birth of Tragedy". Routledge, 2013

Dawson T. “A Firm Perswasion”: God, Art, and Responsibility in Blake's The Marriage of       Heaven and Hell. Jung Journal, 7:2, 2013.

Davis, S. Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend. London: Random House, 2005

De Spriet, F. The importance of cinema and the movies in the life and poetry of Jim   Morrison: The Lords. http://frankdespriet.blogspot.be/2014/04/the-importance-  of-cinema-and-movies-in.html 2014 Last visited 05/04/2017

Deep Image, Poetry Foundation. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/learn/glossary-           terms/deep-image Last visited 04/06/2017

"Demon" OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2017. Web. 01/06/2017.

Deleuze, G. Spinoza: practical philosophy.  San Fransisco, 1988

Deleuze, G., Guattari  F. Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. University of    Minnesota, 1983.

Densmore, J. Riders on the Storm: My Life with Jim Morrison and The Doors. Arrow Books             Limited, 1990


Dugger, M. Infinite perception: William Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell. East Texas Baptist University, 2007

Faivre, A. The Eternal Hermes: From Greek God to Alchemical Magus (J. Godwin, Trans.).    Phanes Press, 1995

Florida Penal Statues, US Dept. of Justice, internal memo, 14/05/1969

Fowlie, W. Rimbaud and Jim Morrison: The Rebel as Poet. Duke University Press, 1994

Frye, N. Northrop Frye on Milton and Blake, Volume 16 University of Toronto Press, 2005

Giovannangeli, D. Ecriture et repetition. Union Generale d'Editions. 1979

Ginsberg, A. Notes Written on Finally Recording Howl. 1959. Department of English,           Queen’s University, 2006

Ginsberg, A. Collected Poems 1947-1997, Harper Perennial Modern Classics 2007

Goldberg, D. Allen Ginsberg: Poet, Legal Scholar, Rock Star. Los Angeles Times;        13/04/1997

González Moreno, Beatriz. The Discourse of the Sublime and the Inadequacy of         Presentation. La questione romantica 10.1): 41-48, 2001

Goodchild, P., Deleuze G. and Guattari F. Introduction to the politics of desire, London        1996

Greenblatt, S. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 8th ed. Vol. D. "William Blake:     Introduction." W. W. Norton & Co. Inc. 2006

Greenblatt, S, gen. ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 9th ed. Vol. D.  Norton, 2012.


Greenham, E. Vision and Desire: Jim Morrison’s Mythography Beyond the Death of God.        Edith Cowan University Press, 2008

Hertz, U. Artaud in Mexico. Oregon University Press, 2003

Hoad, T.F. The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. Oxford University Press, 1995

Homer, S. Jacques Lacan. Psychology Press, 2005

Hopkins, J. Sugerman, D. No One Here Gets Out Alive. Warner Books, 1980

Hopkins, J. The Lizard King: The Essential Jim Morrison. Plexus Publishing Limited, 1992

Jakobson, R. Words and Language. Walter de Gruyter, 1971

Janssen, Ms. http://www.litkicks.com/Topics/Jazz.html. Last visited 21/07/2017

James, L.  Jim Morrison: Ten Years Gone. Creem Magazine, 1981

Janssen, Ms. http://www.litkicks.com/Topics/Jazz.html. Last visited 21/07/2017

“Judge Clayton W. Horn's decision in The People of California v. Lawrence Ferlinghetti"   George Mason University

Jung, C. G. The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious (R. F. C. Hull, Trans. 2nd ed. Vol. 9 Part I). Princeton University Press, 1959/1968

Kelly, R. Notes on the Poetry of Deep Image. Trobar #2, 1961


Kempton, K. VISUAL POETRY: A Brief History of Ancestral Roots and Modern Traditions.      Full Moon 2005


Kristeva, J. Powers of Horror. Columbia University Press, 1982

Lacan, J.  Ecrits. W. W. Norton, 1966/2006

Larochelle, Gilbert.  From Kant To Foucault: What Remains of the Author in             Postmodernism. In:             Perspectives on Plagiarism and Intellectual Property in a        Postmodern World, p. 111-121. State University of New York Press. 1999

Lawler, J. The language of French Symbolism. Princeton University Press. 1969

Lehman, D. The Prose Poem: An Alternative to Verse. The American Poetry Review, Vol.     32, No. 2 pp. 45-49, 2003

Lin, M. Spinoza’s metaphysics of desire. Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie86, 21–55,    2004

Lisciandro,  F. Jim Morrison: Friends Gathered Together. Vision Words & Wonder LLC,      2014

Lisciandro, F. Morrison, A Feast Of Friends. Warner books, 1991

Madrid, V. A Countercultural Vision of America: Allen Ginsberg and the Beat Generation.     Jaén University Press 2015

Magnus, B. Higgins K.M. The Cambridge Companion to Nietzsche. Cambridge University      Press, 1990.

Makdisi, S. William Blake And The Impossible History of the 1790s. University of Chicago,     2003


Mangion, C. Nietzsche's Philosophy of Myth. Humanitas, Journal of the Faculty of Arts, Ed. Lydia Scriha, Volume 2, University of Malta Press, 2003

Mazza, M. 02/01/2002 https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/the-lords-and-the-new-      creatures-poems_jim-morrison/250582/#isbn=0671205390 Last visited         05/08/2016

Morrison, B. Reality Hunger: A Manifesto by David Shields. The Guardian 2010             https://www.theguardian.com/books/2010/feb/20/reality-hunger-david- shields-review

Miami Herald. Jim Morrison Arrested in Miamia. 5/03/1969

Nietzsche, F. The Birth of Tragedy: Out of the Spirit of Music. Penguin Books, 1871/1994

Nietzsche, F. Alzo Sprach Zarathustra.  Penguin Books, 1883-1891/2013

Nietzsche, F, Förster-Nietzsche, E. The Will To Power. Penguin Books, 1901/2017

Patty, J. Notes, Documents, and Critical Comment, Baudelaire and Bossuet on Laughter.       PMLA 80 (1965): 459-461.

Perumalil, A. The History of Women in Philosophy. Global Vision Publishing House, 2009

Pichois, C éd. Œuvres complètes I et II: Charles Baudelaire. Gallimard, 1975-1976

Plato, Warmington and Rouse, eds. Great Dialogues of Plato. Signet Classics: 1999


Poemhunter contributers. Michael McClure. https://www.poemhunter.com/michael-            mcclure/biography/ Last visited 20/06/2017

Preston, J. New Evidence In The Miami incident.   http://www.doorscollectorsmagazine.com/miami/truth.html Last visited    02/04/2016


Recordmecca Constributors. Jim Morrison – Unpublished Film Script Written With Michael McClure “Saint Nicholas”. https://recordmecca.com/item-          archives/doors-st-nicholas/ Last visited 02/07/2017

Reiff, C. The Day Jim Morrison Was Sentenced on Obscenity Charges in Miami. 30/10/2015

            http://ultimateclassicrock.com/jim-morrison-miami-sentence/ Last visited             02/04/2016

Rich, Adrienne. Later Poems: Selected and New: 1971-2012. W. W. Norton & Company,        2012.

Rimbaud, A. Collected Poems. Oxford University Press, 2010

Riordan, J. Prochnicky, J.  Break on Through: The Life and Death of Jim Morrison. It Books,            2006

Ritzer, G. The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology. 2008

Rocco, J. (Ed.) The Doors Companion: Four Decades of Commentary.  Omnibus  Press,1997

Sanchez, P. The Visionary Tradition in Jim Morrison's “The Celebration of the Lizard” CSU   Fresno Press 2015

Shields, D. Reality Hunger: A Manifesto. Knopf 2010

Shivani, A. Exclusive: Beat Poet Michael McClure On Jim Morrison.       http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anis-shivani/exclusive-beat-poet-          mcclure_b_823425.html      Last visited on 15/01/2017

Silk, M. S. Stern, J. P. Nietzsche on Tragedy. Cambridge University Press, 1983

Steven, A. The Poet Behind The Doors: Jim Morrison's Poetry and the 1960's   Countercultural Movement. Georgetown University Press, 2011

Steven, G. Baudelaire and Barthes: The Pleasure of the Prose Poetry. Georgia State   University Press 2008

Sugerman,  D. The Doors: The Illustrated History. Harper Paperbacks, 1983

Stypinski, M. "Reinventing The Gods": Bloomian Misprision in the Nietzschean            Influence of Jim Morrison. Ohio Dominican University Press, 2008

The Famous People constributors. Jim Morrison. The Famous People website.             www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/jim-morrison-178.php. Last visited     09/01/2016 

Thomas, Tony.  Interview with Jim Morrison. CBC Network, 1970. (Entire interview           available on             https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQfr-BtcDII)

Tosches, Nick. The Doors: An American Prayer. Rolling Stone Magazine, 1979


Tzara , T. Dada Manifesto On Feeble Love And Bitter Love .1920           http://www.391.org/manifestos/1920-dada-manifesto-feeble-love-bitter-lo…-   tristan-tzara.html Last visited 06/04/2017

Ullman, L. Deep Imagists: The Subconscious as Medium. 2005
            http://www.meachamwriters.org/writers/leslie-ullman.htm Last visited      05/06/2017

Woods, T. Beginning Postmodernism. Manchester University Press 2010

Wicks, R. Nietzsche's' Yes' to Life and the Apollonian Neutrality of Existence. 2005

Willette,  J.  Julia Kristeva and Abjection.   http://arthistoryunstuffed.com/julia-kristeva-    and-abjection/ 2013. Last visited on 30/05/2017

Wilson, M. The Life of William Blake. Nonesuch Press, 1927

Whitman, W. Leaves of Grass.  Signet Classics 1954


















Universiteit of Hogeschool
Master in Westerse Literatuur
Pieter Vermeulen
Share this on: