William Blake or Jim Morrison Quote

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Mon Aug 30 11:23:35 UTC 2010

From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Garson O'Toole [adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM]
Sent: Sunday, August 29, 2010 10:36 PM
Subject: Re: [ADS-L] William Blake or Jim Morrison Quote

Below is a verified passage from Newsweek in 1967 that contains the
quotation by Door's member Ray Manzarek that was probably massaged and
reassigned to Jim Morrison and William Blake.

Cite: 1967 November 6, Newsweek, Music: This Way to the Egress, Page
101, Column 2, Newsweek, Inc. (Verified on microfilm)

"There are things you know about," says 25-year-old Manzarek, whose
specialty is playing the organ with one hand and the bass piano with
the other, "and things you don't, the known and the unknown, and in
between are the doors—that's us. We're saying that you're not only
spirit, you're also this very sensuous being. That's not evil, that's
a really beautiful thing. Hell appears so much more fascinating and
bizarre than heaven. You have to 'break on through to the other side'
to become the whole being."

Fred Shapiro wrote
>>> The line "There are things that are known and things that are unknown; in between are doors" is sometimes said to be the inspiration for the name of the rock group The Doors.  It is sometimes said to be from a writing of William Blake's, sometimes from a writing of Jim Morrison's.  Can anyone provide a precise source?

Though this may be mere retrojected musing on the name The Doors, Prof. Wallace Fowlie corresponded with Morrison (1968ff) and wrote, in Rimbaud and Jim Morrison: The Rebel as Poet (Duke UP 1993 p19-20):

It is reported that Jim replied [to police in LA, 1969, "Why do you behave that way?..."] with these words "Let's just say I was testing the boundaries of reality." The two policeman probably did not realize that those words of Jim were adapted from Rimbaud, A Season in Hell.
In commenting on the name of the group, Morrison once made a remark that was almost a manifesto concerning his work: "It's a search, an opening of one door after another...It's a striving for metamorphosis. It's like a purification ritual in the alchemical sense." These words may have been inspired by Rimbaud as well as Blake--words from the Saison en enfer, on poetry being the alchemy of the word (l'alchemie du verbe).

Stephen Goranson

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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