The HyperTexts

Marilyn Monroe Poetry

Was Marilyn Monroe a poet? Did she write poems? If so, which were her best poems, and how good was she? This page contains a collection of the poems, epigrams, quotations and philosophical writings of Marilyn Monroe, who was also known as Norma Jeane Mortenson (her birth name), Norma Jeane Baker (when she used her mother's maiden name), Jean Norman (her first modeling name) and Norma Jeane Dougherty (her first married name). You can judge for yourself, but in my opinion she was a talented poet, philosopher, epigrammatist, humorist and ironist. Most of her poems are fairly brief free verse compositions, but she did employ end rhyme from time to time. She was a lyric poet, usually starting in media res ("in the middle of things," without preamble). A number of her poems are confessional in nature, while others are honest and acute observations about life in general. Some are quite touching and moving. This one, for example:

I could have loved you once
And even said it
But you went away;
When you came back it was too late
And love was a forgotten word.
Remember?

I have also included some lovelyand quite poeticphotographs of Marilyn Monroe, in which she was caught in unguarded moments. One of the pictures―the one where she's lying in bed holding a rose―was her favorite photo of herself.

Her poetry has been collected into a book titled Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters by Marilyn Monroe. The title makes me think of the first great lyric poet we know by name, Sappho of Lesbos, because most of her poems have come to us in fragments and because she is also remembered for her sexuality, giving us the terms "sapphic" and "lesbian." Marilyn's fragments include poems written in notebooks, in diaries, on loose-leaf paper, and on hotel stationary. The poems show signs of having been revised, such as crossed-out words and insertions. And she may have had serious professional help with those revisions, as she knew some of the major writers of her day, including her husband the playwright Arthur Miller; the poets Carl Sandburg, Dorothy Parker, Dylan Thomas, Dame Edith Sitwell and Louis Untermeyer; and the novelists Truman Capote, Carson McCullers and Saul Bellow. She was also an avid reader, with a personal library of over 400 books by such diverse writers as Aristophanes, Aristotle, Samuel Beckett, William Blake, Robert Burns, Albert Camus, Anton Chekhov, Joseph Conrad, Emily Dickinson, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Albert Einstein, A. E. Housman, Sigmund Freud, Kahlil Gilbran, Flaubert, Robinson Jeffers, James Joyce, Jack Kerouac, Heinrich Heine, D. H. Lawrence, Federico Garcia Lorca, Lucretius, Thomas Mann, Karl Marx, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Plato, Marcel Proust, Alexander Pushkin, Rabelais, Rainer Maria Rilke, Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Oscar Wilde and William Butler Yeats. A comprehensive list of the books she owned appears at the bottom of this page.

Marilyn Monroe met Dylan Thomas in Shelley Winters' apartment, circa 1951. She became friends with Dorothy Parker, who lived nearby her Doheny Drive apartment in 1961. She met Carl Sandburg, spent part of the day with him, and danced with him in 1962. She met Louis Untermeyer through her husband Arthur Miller. Carson McCullers befriended Marilyn when she first moved to New York. Marilyn read poems by W. B. Yeats aloud at Norman Rosten's house.

She once said, "I read poetry to save time." By that, I take her to mean that she valued poetry for its compression. A short poem can say a lot, and convey considerable emotion. She also wrote about being "simple" and "direct." I believe we can find these virtues in her poems. She was not the most polished of poets, but she was simple, direct and packed quite a punch. And she gets right to the point, in medias res, like the ancient Greek poets, so she never wastes our time.

As Lee Strasberg said in his eloquent eulogy: “In her eyes and mine, her career was just beginning. The dream of her talent, which she had nurtured as a child, was not a mirage.”

compiled by Michael R. Burch



What do I wear in bed? Why, Chanel No. 5, of course!

Its not too much fun
to know yourself too well
or think you do—
everyone needs a little conceit
to carry them through & past the falls.

Norma Jean aka Marilyn Monroe, a vision of innocence

There was my name up in lights.
I said, "God, somebody's made a mistake."
But there it was, in lights.
And I stood there and said,
"Remember, you're not a star."
Yet there it was, up in lights.

I love to do the things the censors won't pass.

on the screen of pitch blackness comes/reappears
the shapes of monsters
my most steadfast companions …
and the world is sleeping
ah peace I need you—
even a peaceful monster

[Analysis: This poem was written after Marilyn Monroe found a diary entry by her third husband, the playwright Arthur Miller, in which he said that he was sometimes disappointed and embarrassed by her. After reading the entry, she found herself unable to sleep and started taking barbiturates. One of her greatest fears had been disappointing her loved ones.] 

I'm selfish, impatient, and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I'm out of control, and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best. ~Marilyn Monroe

It's often just enough to be with someone.
I don't need to touch them.
Not even to talk.
A feeling passes between you both.
You're not alone.

A career is wonderful, but you can't curl up with it on a cold night.  

In every spring the green [of the ancient maples] is too sharp—
though the delicacy in their form is sweet and uncertain—
it puts up a good struggle in the wind—
trembling all the while …
I think I am very lonely—
my mind jumps.
I see myself in the mirror now, brow furrowed—
if I lean close I’ll see—
what I don’t want to know—
tension, sadness, disappointment,
my eyes dulled,
cheeks flushed with capillaries that look like rivers on maps—
hair lying like snakes.
The mouth makes me the saddest, next to my dead eyes…



I believe that everything happens for a reason:
people change so that you can learn to let go,
things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they're right,
you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself,
and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.

It's not true that I had nothing on. I had the radio on.



When the hourglass
takes off its dress,
the sand loosens and spreads.
You cannot find a footing
in me. They always said
I was terrible in bed.

Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.

Norma Jeane

I guess I have always been
deeply terrified at to really be someone’s wife
since I know from life
one cannot love another,
ever, really ...

A wise girl kisses but doesn't love, listens but doesn't believe, and leaves before she is left.

Marilyn Monroe

Arthur Miller, Monroe's third husband, said that she “had the instinct and reflexes of the poet, but she lacked the control.” Miller was an acclaimed playwright, but is it possible that Monroe was the better poet because she didn't strive to control her words, but let them speak for her simply, directly and honestly?

I've been on a calendar, but never on time.

"I restore myself when I'm alone." ~ Marilyn Monroe

Unfortunately, I am involved in a freedom ride
protesting the loss of the minority rights
belonging to the few remaining earthbound stars.
All we demanded was our right to twinkle!

Husbands are chiefly good as lovers when they are betraying their wives.

(Was she thinking of JFK when she came up with thie epigram above, perhaps?)



Fame will go by and, so long, I've had you, fame.
If it goes by, I've always known it was fickle.
So at least it's something I experienced,
but that's not where I live.
Life (New York, Aug. 3, 1962). This was the conclusion of a taped conversation published the day that Monroe died.

I don't mind making jokes, but I don't want to look like one.



I believe this:
You just do it.
You force yourself to get up.
You force yourself to put one foot before the other,
and goddamn it,
you refuse to let it get to you.
You fight.
You cry.
You curse.
Then you go about your business of living.
That's how I've done it.
There's no other way.

If I'd observed all the rules I'd never have gotten anywhere.



O, Time
Be Kind
Help this weary being
To forget what is sad to remember ...
Loose my loneliness,
Ease my mind,
While you eat my flesh.

Men are so willing to respect anything that bores them.

Marilyn Monroe in an iconic white dress from "The Seven Year Itch," 1955.

From time to time
I make it rhyme
but don't hold that kind
of thing
against
me—
Oh well, what the hell,
so it won't sell.
What I want to tell—
is what's on my mind:
'taint Dishes,
'taint Wishes,
it's thoughts
flinging by
before I die—
and to think
in ink.

Before marriage, a girl has to make love to a man to hold him. After marriage, she has to hold him to make love to him.



The photo above was Marilyn Monroe's favorite picture of herself.

working (doing my tasks that I
have set for myself)
on the stage—I will
not be punished for it
or be whipped
or be threatened
or not be loved
or sent to hell to burn with bad people
feeling that I am also bad.
or be afraid of my [genitals] being
exposed known and seen—
so what
or ashamed of my
sensitive feelings—

[Analysis: This poem was written about a horrifying case of sexual abuse that Marilyn Monroe―then Norma Jeane Mortensen―suffered as girl. The incident is described in an Italian notebook with pages lined and numbered in green. She was evidently punished, humiliated and threatened with hell by her great-aunt Ida Martin, a strict, evangelical Christian who was paid to look after Norma Jeane for several months from 1937 to 1938. The picture above the poem is Marilyn Monroe's favorite photo of herself.]

It's all make believe, isn't it?

Marilyn not only enjoyed reading poetry but wrote some of her own. Always fearful of harsh judgement, Marilyn only showed her poetry to a select few, including, Milton Greene, Carl Sandburg, & Norman Rosten. Rosten wrote: "She would often hand me a scrap of paper with something written on it & ask, 'Do you think this is poetry? Keep it & let me know.' Or she'd send a scribbled sheet in the mail asking for criticism. I would always encourage her. The poems were, in the best sense, those of an amateur; that is, they pretended to be nothing more than an outburst of feeling, with little or no knowledge of the craft. But the poet within her — & one existed — found a form for her purpose."

Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.

To the weeping willow:
I stood beneath your limbs
and you flowered and finally clung to me
and when the wind struck—the earth
and sand—you clung to me.

I don't want to make money, I just want to be wonderful.

Don't cry my doll
Don't cry
I hold you and rock you to sleep
Hush hush
I'm pretending now
I'm not your mother who died.

Dreaming about being an actress, is more exciting than being one.

The smart one says the eye
is not truly round. His are,
though, fat with looking.

I have too many fantasies to be a housewife. I guess I am a fantasy.

Help Help Help
I feel life coming closer
When all I want
Is to die. 
Scream—
You began and ended in air but where was the middle?

You believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself.


They taught my body
to squeeze grapes.
Warm wine pours out.
And once or twice,
a slick skin.

If you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.

Life—
I am of both of your directions
Somehow remaining hanging downward
but strong as a cobweb in the wind—
I exist more with the cold glistening frost.
But my beaded rays have the colors
I’ve seen in a paintings—ah life they
have cheated you

I've often stood silent at a party for hours listening to my movie idols turn into dull little people.

I've got a tear hanging over my beer that I can't let go
It's too bad
I feel sad
When I got all my life behind me.
If I had a little relief
From this grief
Then
I could find a drowning straw to hold on to.
It's great to be alive.
They say I'm lucky to be alive
It's hard to figure out—When everything I feel—Hurts.

If you can make a girl laugh, you can make her do anything.

Only parts of us will ever
touch parts of others—one’s own truth is just that really — one’s own truth.
We can only share the part that is understood within another’s knowing
acceptable to the other — therefore one
is for the most part alone.
As it is meant to be
evidently in nature — at best though perhaps it could make
our understanding seek
another’s loneliness out.

Dogs never bite me, just humans.

To have your heart is
the only completely happy proud possession (that ever belonged
to me)

I restore myself when I'm alone.

Oh damn I wish that I were dead
—absolutely nonexistent—
gone away from here,
from everywhere ...
but how would I do it?
There are always bridges—the Brooklyn bridge—
no, not the Brooklyn Bridge
because I love that bridge
(everything is beautiful from there and the air is so clean);
walking it seems peaceful there
even with all those cars going crazy underneath.
So it would have to be some other bridge
an ugly one and with no view—
except that I particularly like in particular all bridges—
there’s something about them
and besides I’ve never seen an ugly bridge ...

Sex is a part of nature. I go along with nature.

Stones on the walk
every color there is
I stare down at you
like the horizon –
the space / the air between us is beckoning
and I am many stories up
and besides
my feet are frightened
as I grasp towards you ...

The nicest thing for me is sleep, then at least I can dream.

I left my home of green rough wood,
A blue velvet couch.
I dream till now
A shiny dark bush
Just left of the door.
Down the walk
Clickity clack
As my doll in her carriage
Went over the cracks—
"We'll go far away."

The truth is, I've never fooled anyone. I've let men sometimes fool themselves.

I’m finding that sincerity
and trying to be as simple or direct as possible
is often taken for sheer stupidity,
but since it is not a sincere world—
it’s very probable that being sincere is stupid.
One probably is stupid to
be sincere since it’s in this world
and no other world that we know
for sure we exist—meaning that—
(since reality exists it should be must be dealt should be met and dealt with)
since there is reality to deal with ...

A career is born in public, talent in privacy.

for life
is rather a determination not to be overwhelmed
for work
the truth can only be recalled, never invented

In Hollywood a girl's virtue is much less important than her hairdo.

Good nite
Sleep
and sweet repose
Where ever you lay your head—
I hope you find your nose—

I read poetry to save time.

Nite of the nite
Soothing
Darkness
Refreshes
Air
Seems different
Night has no eyes nor no one
Silence
Except for the night itself.

The 'public' scares me, but people I trust.

feel what I feel
within myself—that is trying to
become aware of it
also what I feel in others
not being ashamed of my feeling, thoughts—or ideas
realize the thing that
they are—

I used to think as I looked out on the Hollywood night, 'There must be thousands of girls sitting alone like me dreaming of being a movie star.' But I'm not going to worry about them. I'm dreaming the hardest.

Alone!!!!!!!
I am alone
I am always alone
no matter what ...

What I really want to say: That what the world really needs is a real feeling of kinship. Everybody: stars, laborers, Negroes, Jews, Arabs. We are all brothers.

A comprehensive list of books owned by Marilyn Monroe, auctioned at Christies-NY, October 28-29, 1999, in individual lots or grouped:

1) Let's Make Love by Matthew Andrews (novelisation of the movie)
2) How To Travel Incognito by Ludwig Bemelmans
3) To The One I Love Best by Ludwig Bemelmans
4) Thurber Country by James Thurber
5) The Fall by Albert Camus
6) Marilyn Monroe by George Carpozi
7) Camille by Alexander Dumas
8) Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
9) The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book by Fannie Merritt-Farmer
10) The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
11) From Russia With Love by Ian Fleming
12) The Art Of Loving by Erich Fromm
13) The Prophet by Kahlil Gilbran
14) Ulysses by James Joyce
15) Stoned Like A Statue: A Complete Survey Of Drinking Clichés, Primitive, Classical & Modern by Howard Kandel & Don Safran, with an intro by Dean Martin (a man who knew how to drink!)
16) The Last Temptation Of Christ by Nikos Kazantzakis
17) On The Road by Jack Kerouac
18) Selected Poems by DH Lawrence
19 and 20) Sons And Lovers by DH Lawrence (2 editions)
21) The Portable DH Lawrence
22) Etruscan Places (DH Lawrence?)
23) DH Lawrence: A Basic Study Of His Ideas by Mary Freeman
24) The Assistant by Bernard Malamud
25) The Magic Barrel by Bernard Malamud
26) Death In Venice & Seven Other Stories by Thomas Mann
27) Last Essays by Thomas Mann
28) The Thomas Mann Reader
29) Hawaii by James Michener
30) Red Roses For Me by Sean O'Casey
31) I Knock At The Door by Sean O'Casey
32) Selected Plays by Sean O'Casey
33) The Green Crow by Sean O'Casey
34) Golden Boy by Clifford Odets
35) Clash By Night by Clifford Odets
36) The Country Girl by Clifford Odets
37) 6 Plays Of Clifford Odets
38) The Cat With 2 Faces by Gordon Young
39) Long Day's Journey Into Night by Eugene O'Neill
40) Part Of A Long Story: Eugene O'Neill As A Young Man In Love by Agnes Boulton
41) The Little Engine That Could by Piper Watty (with childish pencil scrawls at end, possibly MM's)
42) The New Joy Of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer & Marion Rombauer-Becker (with some cut recipes, page markers, a typed diet sheet and manuscript shopping list, apparently in MM's hand, laid in)
43) Selected Plays Of George Bernard Shaw
44) Ellen Terry And Bernard Shaw - A Correspondence
45) Bernard Shaw & Mrs Patrick Campbell - Their Correspondence
46) The Short Reigh Of Pippin IV by John Steinbeck
47) Once There Was A War by John Steinbeck
48) Set This House On Fire by William Styron
49) Lie Down In Darkness (William Styron?)
50) The Roman Spring Of Mrs Stone by Tennessee Williams
51) Camino Real by Tennessee Williams
52) A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams (with notes by MM)
53) The Flower In Drama And Glamour by Stark Young (inscribed to MM by Lee Strasberg, Christmas 1955)
 
American Literature
 
54) Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
55) The Story Of A Novel by Thomas Wolfe
56) Look Homeward Angel by Thomas Wolfe
57) A Stone, A Leaf, A Door (Thomas Wolfe?)
58) Thomas Wolfe's Letters To His Mother, ed. John Skally Terry
59) A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway
60) The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
61) Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson
62) Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
63) Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck
64) The American Claimant & Other Stories & Sketches by Mark Twain
65) In Defense of Harriet Shelley & Other Essays (Mark Twain?)
66) The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
67) Roughing It (Mark Twain?)
68) The Magic Christian by Terry Southern
69) A Death In The Family by James Agee
70) The War Lover by John Hersey
71) Don't Call Me By My Right Name & Other Stories by James Purdy
72) Malcolm by James Purdy
 
Anthologies
 
73) The Portable Irish Reader (pub. Viking)
74) The Portable Poe - Edgar Allen Poe
75) The Portable Walt Whitman
76) This Week's Short Stories (New York, 1953)
77) Bedside Book Of Famous Short Stories
78) Short Novels Of Colette
79) Short Story Masterpieces (New York, 1960)
80) The Passionate Playgoer by George Oppenheimer
81) Fancies And Goodnights by John Collier
82) Evergreen Review, Vol 2, No. 6
83) The Medal & Other Stories by Luigi Pirandello
 
Art
 
84) Max Weber (art book - inscribed to MM by 'Sam' - Shaw?)
85) Renoir by Albert Skira
86) Max by Giovannetti Pericle
87) The Family Of Man by Carl Sandburg
88-90) Horizon, A Magazine Of The Arts (Nov 1959, Jan 1960, Mar 1960.)
91) Jean Dubuffet by Daniel Cordier
 
Biography
 
92) The Summing Up by W. Somerset Maugham
93) Close To Colette by Maurice Goudeket
94) This Demi-Paradise by Margaret Halsey
95) God Protect Me From My Friends by Gavin Maxwell
96) Minister Of Death: The Adolf Eichmann Story by Quentin Reynolds, Ephraim Katz and Zwy Aldouby
97) Dance To The Piper by Agnes DeMille
98) Goodness Had Nothing To Do With It by Mae West
99) Act One by Moss Hart
 
Christian Science
 
100) Science And Health With Key To The Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy
101) Poems, Including Christ And Christmas by Mary Baker Eddy
 
Classical Works
 
102) 2 Plays: Peace And Lysistrata by Aristophanes
103) Of The Nature Of Things by Lucretius
104) The Philosophy Of Plato
105) Mythology by Edith Hamilton
106) Theory Of Poetry And Fine Art by Aristotle
107) Metaphysics by Aristotle
108-111) Plutarch's Lives, Vols 3-6 only (of 6) by William and John Langhorne
 
Counter-Culture
 
112) Bound For Glory by Woody Guthrie
113) The Support Of The Mysteries by Paul Breslow
114) Paris Blues by Harold Flender
115) The Shook-Up Generation by Harrison E. Salisbury
 
Foreign-Language Texts And Translations
 
116) An Mands Ansigt by Arthur Miller
117) Independent People by Halldor Laxness
118) Mujer by Lina Rolan (inscribed to MM by author)
119) The Havamal, ed. D.E. Martin Clarke
120) Yuan Mei: 18th Century Chinese Poet by Arthur Waley
121) Almanach: Das 73 Jahr by S. Fischer Verlag
 
French Literature
 
122) Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
123) The Works Of Rabelais
124) The Guermantes Way by Marcel Proust
125) Cities Of The Plain by Marcel Proust
126) Within A Budding Grove by Marcel Proust
127) The Sweet Cheat Gone by Marcel Proust
128) The Captive by Marcel Proust
129) Nana by Emile Zola
130) Plays by Moliere
 
Freud
 
131) The Life And Work of Sigmund Freud by Ernest Jones
132) Letters Of Sigmund Freud, ed. Ernest L. Freud
133) Glory Reflected by Martin Freud
134) Moses And Monotheism by Sigmund Freud
135) Conditioned Reflex Therapy by Andrew Salter
 
Gardening & Pets
 
136-137) The Wise Garden Encyclopedia, ed. E.L.D. Seymour (2 editions)
138) Landscaping Your Own Home by Alice Dustan
139) Outpost Nurseries - publicity brochure
140) The Forest And The Sea by Marston Bates
141) Pet Turtles by Julien Bronson
142) A Book About Bees by Edwin Way Teale
143) Codfish, Cats & Civilisation by Gary Webster
 
Humor
 
144) How To Do It, Or, The Art Of Lively Entertaining by Elsa Maxwell
145) Wake Up, Stupid by Mark Harris
146) Merry Christmas, Happy New Year by Phyllis McGinley
147) The Hero Maker by Akbar Del Piombo & Norman Rubington
148) How To Talk At Gin by Ernie Kovacs
149) VIP Tosses A Party, by Virgil Partch
150) Who Blowed Up The House & Other Ozark Folk Tales, ed. Randolph Vance
151) Snobs by Russell Lynes
 
Judaica (MM officially converted to Judaism upon her marriage to Miller).
 
152) The Form of Daily Prayers
153) Sephath Emeth (Speech Of Truth): Order Of Prayers For The Wholes Year In Jewish and English
154) The Holy Scriptures According To The Masoretic Text (inscribed to MM by Paula Strasberg, July 1, 1956)
 
Literature
 
155) The Law by Roger Vailland
156) The Building by Peter Martin
157) The Mermaids by Boros
158) They Came To Cordura by Glendon Swarthout
159) The 7th Cross by Anna Seghers
160) A European Education by Romain Gary
161) Strike For A Kingdom by Menna Gallie
162) The Slide Area by Gavin Lambert
163) The Woman Who Was Poor by Leon Bloy
164) Green Mansions by W.H. Hudson
165) The Contenders by John Wain
166) The Best Of All Worlds, Or, What Voltaire Never Knew by Hans Jorgen Lembourn (is this the same guy who later wrote '40 Days With Marilyn'?)
167) The Story Of Esther Costello by Nicholas Montsarrat
168) Oh Careless Love by Maurice Zolotow (MM biographer)
169) Add A Dash Of Pity by Peter Ustinov
170) An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser (filmed as A Place In The Sun - MM admired Elizabeth Taylor's performance)
171) The Mark Of The Warrior by Paul Scott
172) The Dancing Bear by Edzard Schaper
173) Miracle In The Rain by Ben Hecht (co-author of MM's autobiography)
174) The Guide by R.K. Narayan
175) Blow Up A Storm by Garson Kanin (later wrote screenplay 'Moviola', featurning an MM-based character)
176) Jonathan by Russell O'Neill
177) Fowlers End by Gerald Kersh
178) Hurricane Season by Ralph Winnett
179) The un-Americans by Alvah Bessie (later wrote The Symbol, a novel loosely based on MM's life)
180) The Devil's Advocate by Morris L. West
181) On Such A Night by Anthony Quayle
182) Say You Never Saw Me by Arthur Nesbitt
183) All The Naked Heroes by Alan Kapener
184) Jeremy Todd by Hamilton Maule
185) Miss America by Daniel Stren
186) Fever In The Blood by William Pearson
187) Spartacus by Howard Fast
188) Venetian Red by L.M. Pasinetti
189) A Cup Of Tea For Mr Thorgill by Storm Jameson
190) Six O'Clock Casual by Henry W. Cune
191) Mischief by Charlotte Armstrong (the movie 'Don't Bother To Knock' was based on this novel)
192) The Gingko Tree by Sheelagh Burns
193) The Mountain Road by Theodore H. White
194) Three Circles Of Light by Pietro Di Donato
195) The Day The Money Stopped by Brendan Gill
196) The Carpetbaggers by Harold Robbins (Marilyn's secretary, Margerie Stengel, recalls that Marilyn was reading a Robbins novel in her New York apartment in 1961.)
197-198) Justine by Lawrence Durrell (2 editions, possibly read during filming of The Misfits)
199) Balthazar by Lawrence Durrell
200) Brighton Rock by Graham Greene
201) The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad
202) The Unnamable by Samuel Beckett
203) Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Dog by Dylan Thomas (Marilyn met Thomas in Shelley Winters' apartment circa 1951)
204) Hear Us O Lord From Heaven Thy Dwelling Place, by Malcolm Lowry
 
Modern Library
 
205) The Sound And The Fury/As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
206) God's Little Acre by Erskine Caldwell
207) Anna Christie/The Emperor Jones/The Hairy Ape by Eugene O'Neill (Marilyn played Anna in a scene performed at the Actor's Studio in 1956)
208) The Philosophy Of Schopenhauer by Irwin Edman
209) The Philosophy Of Spinoza by Joseph Ratner
210) The Dubliners by James Joyce
211) Selected Poems by Emily Dickinson
212) The Collected Short Stories by Dorothy Parker (Friend of Marilyn's, lived nearby her Doheny Drive apartment in 1961)
213) Selected Works by Alexander Pope
214) The Red And The Black by Stendhal
215) The Life Of Michelangelo by John Addington
216) Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham (Niagara director Henry Hathaway wanted to film this with MM and James Dean. It was eventually made with Kim Novak and Laurence Harvey.)
217) Three Famous French Romances (W. Somerset Maugham?)
218) Napoleon by Emil Ludwig
219) Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (a second copy?)
220) The Poems And Fairy-Tales by Oscar Wilde
221) Alice's Adventures In Wonderland/Through The Looking Glass/The Hunting Of The Snark, by Lewis Carroll
222) A High Wind In Jamaica by Richard Hughes
223) An Anthology Of American Negro Literature, ed. Sylvestre C. Watkins
 
Music
 
224) Beethoven: His Spiritual Development by J.W.N. Sullivan
225) Music For The Millions by David Ewen
226) Schubert by Ralph Bates
227) Men Of Music by Wallace Brockaway and Herbert Weinstock
 
Plays
 
228) The Potting Shed by Graham Greene
229) Politics In The American Drama by Caspar Nannes
230) Sons Of Men by Herschel Steinhardt
231) Born Yesterday by Garson Kanin (MM auditioned for the movie, but Judy Holliday got the part)
232) Untitled & Other Radio Drams by Norman Corwin
233) Thirteen By Corwin, by Norman Corwin
234) More By Corwin, by Norman Corwin
235) Long Day's Journey Into Night by Eugene O'Neill (a second copy)
236) Best American Plays: Third Series, 1945-1951
237) Theatre '52 by John Chapman
238) 16 Famous European Plays, by Bennett Cerf and Van H. Cartmell
239) The Complete Plays Of Henry James
240) 20 Best Plays Of The Modern American Theatre, by John Glassner
241) Elizabethan Plays by Hazelton Spencer
242) Critics' Choice by Jack Gaver
243) Modern American Dramas by Harlan Hatcher
244) The Album Of The Cambridge Garrick Club
 
European Poetry
 
245) A Shropshire Lad by A.E. Houseman
246) The Poetry & Prose Of Heinrich Heine by Frederich Ewen
247) The Poetical works Of John Milton, by H.C. Beeching
248) The Poetical Works Of Robert Browning (H.C. Beeching?)
249) Wordsworth by Richard Wilbur
250) The Poetical Works Of Shelley (Richard Wilbur?)
251) The Portable Blake, by William Blake
252) William Shakespeare: Sonnets, ed. Mary Jane Gorton
253) Poems Of Robert Burns, ed. Henry Meikle & William Beattie
254) The Penguin Book Of English Verse, ed. John Hayward
255) Aragon: Poet Of The French Resistance, by Hannah Josephson & Malcolm Cowley
256) Star Crossed by Margaret Tilden
 
American Poetry
 
257 and 258) Collected Sonnets by Edna St Vincent Millay (2 editions)
259) Robert Frost's Poems by Louis Untermeyer (Marilyn befriended Untermeyer during her marriage to Arthur)
260) Poe: Complete Poems by Richard Wilbur (a 2nd copy?)
261) The Life And Times Of Archy And Mehitabel by Don Marquis
262) The Pocketbook Of Modern Verse by Oscar Williams
263) Poems by John Tagliabue
264) Selected Poems by Rafael Alberti
265) Selected Poetry by Robinson Jeffers
266) The American Puritans: Their Prose & Poetry, by Perry Miller
267) Selected Poems by Rainer Maria Rilke
268) Poet In New York by Federico Garcia Lorca
269) The Vapor Trail by Ivan Lawrence Becker (inscribed to Arthur by the author, there is also a note to MM)
270) Love Poems & Love Letters For All The Year
271) 100 Modern Poems, ed. Selden Rodman
272) The Sweeniad, by Myra Buttle
273) Poetry: A Magazine Of Verse, Vol.70, no. 6
 
Politics
 
274) The Wall Between by Anne Braden
275) The Roots Of American Communism by Theodore Draper
276) A View Of The Nation - An Anthology : 1955-1959, ed. Henry Christian
277) A Socialist's Faith by Norman Thomas
278-279) Rededication To Freedom by Benjamin Ginzburg (2 copies)
280) The Ignorant Armies by E.M. Halliday
281) Commonwealth Vs Sacco & Vanzetti, by Robert P. Weeks
282) Journey To The Beginning by Edgar Snow
283) Das Kapital by Karl Marx
284) Lidice by Eleanor Wheeler
285) The Study Of History by Arnold Toynbee
286) America The Invincible by Emmet John Hughes
287) The Unfinished Country by Max Lerner
288) Red Mirage by John O'Kearney
289) Background & Foreground - The New York Times Magazine: An Anthology, ed. Lester Markel (a friend of MM)
290) The Failure Of Success by Esther Milner
291) A Piece Of My Mind by Edmund Wilson
292) The Truth About The Munich Crisis by Viscount Maugham
293) The Alienation Of Modern Man by Fritz Pappenheim
294) A Train Of Powder by Rebecca West
295) Report From Palermo by Danilo Dolci
296) The Devil In Massachusetts by Marion Starkey
297) American Rights: The Constitution In Action, by Walter Gellhorn
298) Night by Francis Pollini
299) The Right Of The People by William Douglas
300) The Jury Is Still Out by Irwin Davidson and Richard Gehman
301) First Degree by William Kunstler
302) Democracy In America by Alexis De Tocqueville
303) World Underworld by Andrew Varna
 
Prayer
 
304) Catechism For Young Children (1936, so may be from Norma Jeane's childhood)
305) Prayer Changes Things (1952, inscribed to MM - perhaps from Jane Russell?)
306) The Prophet by Kahlil Bibran (a second copy?)
307) The Magic Word L.I.D.G.T.T.F.T.A.T.I.M. by Robert Collier
308) The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran (a third copy?)
309) His Brother's Keeper by Milton Gross (3-page extract from Readers' Digest, Dec 1961)
310) Christliches ergissmeinnicht by K. Ehmann
311) And It Was Told Of A Certain Potter by Walter C. Lanyon (1922, so may be from childhood. Several newspaper poems and prayers tipped in.)
312) Bahai Prayers (inscribed to MM, 'Marilyn Monroe Maybeline. A gift for my darling Maybeline, with all my love, Charlzetta' - dated 1961.)
 
Psychology
 
313) Man Against Himself by Karl A. Menninger
314) The Tower And The Abyss by Erich Kahler
315) Something To Live By, by Dorothea S. Kopplin
316) Man's Supreme Inheritance by Alexander F. Matthias
317) The Miracles Of Your Mind by Joseph Murphy
318) The Wisdom Of The Sands by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
319) A Prison, A Paradise by Loran Hurnscot
320) The Magic Of Believing by Claude M. Bristol
321) Peace Of Mind by Joshua Loth Liebman
322) The Use Of The Self by Alexander F. Matthias
323) The Power Within You by Claude M. Bristol
324) The Call Girl by Harold Greenwald
325) Troubled Women by Lucy Freeman (who later wrote 'Why Norma Jean Killed Marilyn Monroe')
326) Relax And Live by Joseph A. Kennedy
327) Forever Young, Forever Healthy by Indra Devi
328) The Open Self by Charles Morris
329) Hypnotism Today by Leslie Lecron & Jean Bordeaux
330) The Masks Of God: Primitive Mythology, by Joseph Campbell
331) Some Characteristics Of Today by Rudolph Steiner
 
Reference
 
332) Baby & Child Care by Dr Benjamin Spock (pub. 1958)
333) Flower Arranging For Fun by Hazel Peckinpaugh Dunlop
334) Hugo's Pocket Dictionary: French-English And English-French
335) Spoken French For Travellers And Tourists, by Charles Kany & Mathurin Dondo
336) Roget's Pocket Thesaurus, by C.O. Mawson & K.A. Whiting
 
Religion
 
337) What Is A Jew? by Morris Kertzer
338) A Partisan Guide To The Jewish Problem, by Milton Steinberg
339) The Tales Of Rabbi Nachman, by Martin Buber
340) The Saviours Of God: Spiritual Exercises, by Nikos Kazantzakis
341) The Prophet by Kahlil Gilbran (4th copy?)
342) The Dead Sea Scrolls by Millar Burrows
343) The Secret Books Of The Egyptian Gnostics, by Jean Doresse
344) Jesus by Kahlil Gilbran
345) Memories Of A Catholic Girlhood, by Mary McCarthy
346) Why I Am Not A Christian, by Bertrand Russell
 
Russian Literature
 
347) Redemption & Other Plays by Leo Tolstoy
348) The Viking Library Portable Anton Chekhov
349) The House Of The Dead, by Fyodor Dostoevsky
350) Crime And Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
351) Best Russian Stories: An Anthology, ed. Thomas Seltzer
352) The Plays Of Anton Chekhov
353) Smoke by Ivan Turgenev
354) The Poems, Prose & Plays Of Alexander Pushkin
355) The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky (not in the Christies' catalogue. But friends of MM recall her reading it as a young actress, and she had hopes of playing Grushenka. Her own remarks in interviews make it clear that she had read the novel.)
 
Science
 
356) Our Knowledge Of The External World, by Bertrand Russell
357) Common Sense And Nuclear Warfare, by Bertrand Russell
358) Out Of My Later Years by Albert Einstein
359) Men And Atoms by William Laurence
360) Man Alive by Daniel Colin Munro (inscribed to Renna Campbell from Lorraine?)
361) Doctor Pygmalion by Maxwell Maltz
362) Panorama: A New Review, ed. R.F. Tannenbaum
363) Everyman's Search by Rebecca Beard
364) Of Stars And Men by Harlow Shapley
365) From Hiroshima To The Moon, by Daniel Lang
366) The Open Mind by J. Robert Oppenheimer
367) Sexual Impotence In The Male, by Leonard Paul Wershub
 
Scripts And Readings
 
368) Medea by Jeffers Robinson
369) Antigone by Jean Anouilh
370) Bell, Book And Candle by John Van Druten
371) The Women by Clare Boothe
372) Jean Of Lorraine by Maxwell Anderson
 
Travel
 
373) The Sawbwa And His Secretary by C.Y. Lee
374) The Twain Shall Meet by Christopher Rand
375) Kingdom Of The Rocks by Consuelo De Saint-Exupery
376) The Heart Of India by Alexander Campbell
377) Man-Eaters Of India by Jim Corbett
378) Jungle Lore by Jim Corbett
379) My India by Jim Corbett
380) A Time In Rome by Elizabeth Bowen
381) London by Jacques Boussard
382) New York State Vacationlands
383) Russian Journey by William O. Douglas
384) The Golden Bough by James G. Frazer
 
Women Authors
 
385) The Portable Dorothy Parker
386) My Antonia by Willa Cather
387) Lucy Gayheart by Willa Cather
388) The Ballad Of The Sad Cafe by Carson McCullers (befriended Marilyn when she first moved to New York)
389) The Short Novels Of Colette (A second copy?)
390) The Little Disturbances Of Man by Grace Paley

Here are a few other books which weren't included, but Monroe was reported either to have read or owned them. Most on the list are cited in the Unabridged Marilyn.
 
391) The Autobiography Of Lincoln Steffens (read during The Fireball)
392-403) Carl Sandburg's 12-volume biography of Abraham Lincoln
404) The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery (Marilyn gave a copy to Joe after their wedding)
405) Poems Of W.B. Yeats (Marilyn read his poems aloud at Norman Rosten's house)
406) Mr Roberts by Joyce Cary
407) The Thinking Body by Mabel Elsworth Todd
408) The Actor Prepares by Konstantin Stanislavsky
409) The Bible
410) The Biography Of Eleanora Duse, by William Weaver
411) De Humani Corporis Fabrica (Study Of Human Bone Structure) by Andreas Vesalius
412) Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson
413) Gertrude Lawrence As Mrs A, by Richard Aldrich
414) Goodnight Sweet Prince by Gene Fowler
415) Greek Mythology by Edith Hamilton
416) How Stanislavsky Directs by Mikhail Gorchakov (posted earlier by Felicia)
417) I Married Adventure by Olso Johnson
418) The Importance Of Living by Lin Yutang
419) Letters To A Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke (read during All About Eve)
420) Psychology Of Everyday Life by Sigmund Freud
421) The Rains Came by Louis Broomfield
422) The Rights Of Man by Thomas Paine (read during some Like It Hot)
423) Swann's Way by Marcel Proust
424) To The Actor by Michael Chekhov (Marilyn's acting teacher from 1950-1955)
425) Captain Newman, M.D. (Novel based on Dr Ralph Greenson’s as an army doctor in Korea. Marilyn was said to be reading this on the week of her death.A film based on the book was released in 1963.)
426) Songs For Patricia by Norman Rosten (posted by Paju)
427) A Lost Lady by Willa Cather (Marilyn hoped to film this with her production company. But an earlier adaptation was so disappointing to the author, that she withdrew the film rights.)
428) Lust For Life by Irving Stone
429) The Deer Park by Norman Mailer (Hollywood-based novel. Marilyn commented on the book, ‘He’s too impressed by power, in my opinion.’ Mailer tried unsuccessfully to meet Marilyn, and after her death wrote several books on her.)
430) The Rebel by Albert Camus

Related Pages: Marilyn Monroe Poems, Muhammad Ali Poems, Albert Einstein Poems Abraham Lincoln Poems, Mark Twain Poems, Nelson Mandela Poems, Pope Francis Poems, Ronald Reagan Poems

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