Master of Arts in Liberal Arts (MALA)


Liberal Arts

Document Type



Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Doors, transcended his mythical personae through the band's songs, his poems, and works about him. Morrison's cult continues today, through pilgrimages to his grave (a major tourist attraction in Paris), Oliver Stone's film The Doors (1991), videos on, rediscoveries of already released recordings, and new discoveries of unreleased recordings, lost films, and unpublished manuscripts of Morrison's poetry. Fans, filmmakers, photographers, the music industry, writers, and members of The Doors have cultivated him into their icon, hierophant, and God. But does myth construction about Morrison possess any goals, continuity, or direction? The music was essential to Morrison's creative development and image, so why do so few published works about Morrison examine the songs themselves? Writings in Rolling Stone and by those affiliated with the magazine dominate literature about Jim Morrison and The Doors. Many of these writings are essential to scholarship about The Doors; however, some merely aim to perpetuate myths about Jim Morrison. Other writings deserve attention since they offer fascinating perspectives about Morrison and possess discernable directions; therefore, the scope of this study focuses on The Los Angeles Free Press, Down Beat, and The Miami Herald. It explores Morrison's use of voice, words, and music, and discusses original and new contexts. As metacritique, this study examines how writers singled out and focused on Morrison and shows how limits of interpretation (from the perspectives of authenticity, representation, perception, and reception) are related to Morrison's aesthetics and involvement in 1960s counterculture. These writings illustrate how the Doors and Morrison himself created not only worlds out of their compositions, performances, and recordings; more specifically, they created interplay with the counterculture and musical material culture. The treatment of songs and poems here leads to exciting avenues for analyzing The Doors' songs.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Kevin Bongiorni