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Lot 68: Jim Morrison important handwritten notebook containing over 100 pages of poems, philosophy and general musings.Platinum House
December 18, 2013
Calabasas Hills, CA, USALive Auction
Jim Morrison important handwritten notebook containing over 100 pages of poems, philosophy and general musings. Penned in a hardcover marble notebook measuring 7.75 x 10.25 in. The entries were written over the few months in 1971 while Morrison was living in Paris prior to his untimely death on July 3rd. Tipped on the inside cover is a handwritten statement, penned in black ballpoint ink (with blue marks through it), reading, “Sometimes I feel as if there’s a vast guerrilla war going on for the mind of man, com[munist] x com[munist], cap[italist] x cap[italist], artist x artist. And the stakes are huge. Will we spoil the best secrets of life or will we help to free a New Kind of Man? It’s intox[icating] to think of that. There’s something rich waiting if one of us is good enough & brave enough to get there.” Titles of poems include “The Hive”, “The City”, “Arcade” ,“Peep Shows”, “Jupien’s Brothel”, “The Adalusian Bitch”, “Bondage”, “Brothers on a Sundeck”, “The Cockpit”, “Omniscience”, “Yoga Powers” ,“Gods Into Men” and “Masque (Happening).” Fascinating content includes commentary on French novelist, essayist and critic Marcel Proust: “Proust is called perfect observer, because perfect amoralist. Thru amorality, detachment, he sought all reality. The virgin eye. ‘He planned detachment, not violence.’ His mistake, but welcomed any attempt at liberation, regardless of motive…” Among Morrison’s miscellaneous musings is his multi-page discussion and observation on the eye, vision and sight, including an entry entitled “Goethe’s Theory of Vision”: “The eye arises from light, for light. Indifferent surfaces & organs evolve into their unique form. This fish is shaped by water, the bird by air, the worm by earth. The eye is a creature of fire. The eye is ‘light at rest.’ But do we create light in the eye? Is the light our own, or from the world?...Active, expanding light meets contracting darkness & light is obscured & somehow limited. In a sense, real sexual mating. The duality is resolved into unity by process of heightening & intensifying, until red includes all opposites. Red is the perfect color…” Morrison makes numerous references to cinema – its origins and symbolism: “Cinema is the most totalitarian of the arts. All send & energy is sucked up into the skull, a cerebral erection, skull bloated w/ blood. Caligula wished all his subjects had one neck & he could behead a kingdom w/ a blow. Cinema is this transforming agent. The body exists for the sake of the eyes, becomes a dry stalk to support those 2 soft insatiable jewels. Film spectators are quiet vampires. It gives the impression of living. People who are somehow implicated in the process of living have no real need for films. Cinema caters mainly to a dreary, ignoble psychology, one that accepts copies in place of the real. It is an attitude of dull cowardice…” Morrison’s final entry: “Art is a compromise, a vast midland, it attempts to rejoin subject & obj[ect] by revealing w/pure eye. Art can suspend the separation [sic] of perceived & perceiver. Beauty is therefore an absolute, rooted in disinterested perception – objects devoid of all purpose & meaning.” Throughout The Doors’ tenure atop the music world, Morrison’s private life and public persona were both spiraling rapidly out of control. His alcoholism and drug addictions worsened. In an attempt to get his life back in order, Morrison took some time off from The Doors in the spring of 1971 and moved to Paris with his longtime girlfriend, Pamela Courson. On July 3, 1971, Courson found Morrison dead in the bathtub of their apartment, apparently of heart failure, at the age of 27. Morrison was buried at the famous Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris, and his grave has since become one of the city’s top tourist destinations. Jim Morrison remains as one of the most legendary and mysterious rock and roll stars of all time. Morrison’s goal as a lyricist and poet was to open the minds of the reader and listener, to encourage them to leave behind the familiar in search of the new. From the collection of rock legend Graham Nash, who writes on the inside of the custom full-leather clamshell case, “Handwritten book by Jim Morrison – given to me by Bill Siddons in the 80’s Graham Nash. P.S. Bill Siddons was the man who picked up Jim’s body in Paris. He was also my manager.” Far too much material to cover here, interested parties are strongly urged to view this lot in person. Notebook exhibits handling and general wear, typical in extensively used journals. Exceedingly rare and desirable, one of Jim Morrison’s notebooks from 1971 containing 20-pages (one-fifth the amount of this notebook) sold at public auction in 2008 for $91,000.