JIM MORRISON: One, Two, Many Dionysiuses

Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Doors, posed in Griffith Park in Los Angeles, California in 1968. Photo by Paul Ferrara.
Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Doors, posed in Griffith Park in Los Angeles, California in 1968. Photo by Paul Ferrara.

To the Editor:

Jon Pareles states that Jim Morrison knew who Dionysius was [ "Jim Morrison, Resurrected for Sensitive Souls," March 24 ]D. I have my doubts. Would it be Dionysius the Elder, Tyrant of Syracuse? Or was it his son Dionysius II, the lout whose brother-in-law Dion sought to turn into a decent ruler, perhaps even the philosopher-king, through the good offices of Plato? It could also be Dionysius of Halicarnassus or perhaps the Christian monk Dionysius Exiguus, who gave us B.C. and A.D.

Mr. Pareles doubtless meant Dionysus, son of Zeus and Semele (a k a Bacchus), the god to whom the adjective Dionysian also applies. The ruler Dionysius might have tempted self-destruction through bad political decisions, but the god Dionysus, being immortal, could not have brought it off, even though he certainly was able to bring mere earthlings along, as any bacchanal will attest.

This whole matter may well be moot, however, as our leaders tend to be Dionysian after Dionysius and our mediocre popular arts are wild affairs in the Dionysian way of Dionysus, while Bird weeps and Apollo sulks in the realization that his mood has been mispronounced.

GREGORY RABASSA New York City The writer is a professor of romance languages and comparative literature at Queens College and the Graduate School of the City University of New York.

Continue Reading


Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/1991/04/28/arts/l-jim-morrison-one-two-many-dionysiuses-047491.html

Comments (0)

Rated 0 out of 5 based on 0 voters
There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Rate this post:
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location