Title page for ETD etd-11162007-105056

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Goldsmith, Melissa Ursula Dawn
Author's Email Address mgolds2@lsu.edu, melissa.goldsmith@nicholls.edu
URN etd-11162007-105056
Title Criticism Lighting His Fire: Perspectives on Jim Morrison from the Los Angeles Free Press, Down Beat, and the Miami Herald
Degree Master of Arts in Liberal Arts (M.A.L.A.)
Department Liberal Arts (Interdepartmental Program)
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Kevin Bongiorni Committee Chair
Jan Herlinger Committee Member
William A. Clark Committee Member
  • bob chorush
  • john carpenter
  • university of california at los angeles (ucla)
  • santa monica (california)
  • louis armstrong
  • jackie gleason
  • anita bryant
  • rallies for decency
  • decency rally
  • soul kitchen
  • hyacinth house
  • gas house
  • venice west café
  • larry mahoney
  • beatnik
  • freep
  • obscenity
  • bohemian
  • william blake
  • aldous huxley
  • crawdaddy! (serial publication)
  • strange days
  • lawrence lipton
  • alternative press syndicate (aps)
  • elektra
  • an american prayer
  • larry lipton
  • charles mingus
  • underground press syndicate (ups)
  • florida state university (fsu)
  • music criticism
  • underground newspaper
  • pamela susan courson
  • gene youngblood
  • rock and roll
  • blues
  • l.a. woman
  • lawrence mahoney
  • venice west
  • john densmore
  • robbie krieger
  • ray manzarek
  • rock music
  • james douglas morrison
  • venice (california)
  • melissa goldsmith
  • l.a. free press
  • whiskey a gogo
  • lenny bruce
  • pamela courson
  • richard nixon
  • chuck crisafulli
  • slum-by-the-sea
  • antonin artaud
  • bertolt brecht
  • olivia's soul food
  • hard rock café
  • morrison hotel
  • soft parade
  • waiting for the sun
  • jazz
  • lizard king
  • venice beach
  • bongos
  • jerry hopkins
  • beat writers
  • danny sugerman
  • beats
  • american vernacular music
  • popular music
  • tiny tim
  • riders on the storm
  • my eyes have seen you
Date of Defense 2007-11-12
Availability unrestricted
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 YouTube.com, rediscoveries of already released recordings, and new discoveries of unreleased recordings, lost films, and unpublished manuscripts of Morrison's poetry.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.

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