Blake 2.0 pp 230-247 | Cite as

‘He Took a Face from the Ancient Gallery’: Blake and Jim Morrison

  • Tristanne Connolly


Every rock fan knows that the Doors are named for the doors of perception. But exactly what kind of relationship with Blake does this entail? In telling the story behind the name, it is most often credited to Huxley, with Blake mentioned, if at all, as an afterthought (see Manzarek 102, 78; Densmore 52–3; Hopkins 57). The filtering through Huxley suggests a kind of second-hand knowledge disdained by purists, literary and popular alike (akin to thinking ‘You Really Got Me’ is a Van Halen song), and yet, like cover versions in rock, highlights at once the importance and the flexibility of genealogy and inheritance.1 Morrison comes up with his own phrase, which, as Rocco notes, mixes Blake and Huxley: ‘There are things known and unknown, and in between are the doors’ (in Rocco xxi). Curiously, though there is no such sentence in The Doors of Perception or Heaven and Hell, many sources attribute it to Huxley: from online quotation repositories such as BrainyQuote (‘Aldous Huxley Quotes’) to a book published by Norton, After Photography by Fred Ritchin (69), professor of photography at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Some books even credit the line to Blake: most memorably, Rock On: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock ’n Roll, The Modern Years confidently states that these lines from Blake appeared on the flyleaf of Huxley’s book (Nite 133). (Of course, Huxley’s epigraph is the correct quotation from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.)


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© Tristanne Connolly 2012

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  • Tristanne Connolly

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