Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Schnellock as Ulric in 'Plexus'

“If I adored Ulric because of his emulation of the masters, I believe I really revered him for playing the role of 'the failure.' The man knew how to make music of his failings. In fact, he had the wit and the grace to make it seem as though, next to success, the best thing in life is to be a total failure.” -- Henry Miller on Ulric (Emil Schnellock) in Plexus, p.15.

As an early booster of Henry Miller before he'd even begun to write seriously, it's no surprise that Emil Schnellock should appear as a character in one of Miller's biographical novels. In Plexus (Book II of The Rosy Crucifixion), Miller covers the period in New York after which he left his first wife for June ("Mona"), soon followed by his escape from the Cosmodemonic Telegraph Company and his earnest committment to become a full-time writer.

Schnellock appears in Plexus as "Ulric." It's a fond portrayal of an old-fashioned, good natured man (who says "Golly" way too often) who is passioinate about Art but not satisfied with his role in it, or in his life; he admires Henry's sense of adventure, dynamic spirit, and even the potential of what he may become. He and Henry have a mutual admiration. Reading the Ulric passages in Plexus helps create a deeper understanding of the muted Schnellock of Letters To Emil.

MAIN SCENES
pp. 14-16: Henry and Ulric walk through the old neighbourhood and discuss painting and Art; Ulric works in his studio.
p. 67: Italians applaud Ulric at a restaurant when they overhear him talk excitedly about Italy.
pp. 196-205: Henry and Mona invite Ulric to dinner. They discuss Greenwich Village and Ulric's admiration for Henry's chaotic life (meanwhile, Henry feels Ulric listens with "bemused wonder" whenever Mona speaks--usually an interruption) . The dinner moves to Henry's apartment where Ulric seems fascinated by Henry's writing space. He stays the night.
pp. 372-386: Ulric tells Henry that his ex-wife "Maude" (Beatrice) has asked him to help get Henry back to her. Ulric is then invited to dinner, where he meets Mona's friend Marjorie. Ulric reminices about Henry's odd assortment of friends from Western Union, as well as the shy girls they would follow on Bushwick Avenue when they were kids. After Ulric has a nap, the four of them have a grand old time with a dinner that becomes an orgy of sorts (which is preceded by Ulric's story of having had sex with his former school teacher).

MILLER ON SCHNELLOCK
"What redeemed Ulric was a complete lack of ambition. He wasn't hankering to be recognized: he wanted to be a good painter for the sheer joy of excelling. He loved all the good things in life, and only the good things. He was a sensualist through and through. In playing chess he prefered to play with Chinese pieces, no matter how poor his game might be" .... "He chose everything he used with great care--clothes, valises, slippers, lamps, everything" (p.16).

"His dubiety, his cautiousness, would be refreshing" ... "Ulric, the greatest stick-in-the-mud ever..." (p.49)

"Many of my friends referred to him as quaint--'charming and quaint.' Which meant, 'old-fashioned.' Yet he was neither a scholar, a recluse, nor a crank. He was simply of another time." (p.199)

SCHNELLOCK ON SCHNELLOCK
Upon hearing of Henry and June's failed candy-selling enterprise: "What a life! I wish I had the guts to venture out a little more. But then those things never happen to me" (p.196).

While trying to emulate Cezane: "Damn it all, I'm nothing but an illustrator. Why in hell can't I capture something like [Cezane does]--just once. What's wrong with me, do you suppose? .... It's not just this painting, or the one before, it's my whole life that's wrong. A man's work reflects what he is, what he's thinking the livelong day, isn't that it? Looking at it in that light, I'm just a piece of stale cheese, eh what?" (p.15).

"I'm the worrying sort, I guess. A guilty conscience, probably. I inherited all the old man's bad traits" (p. 378).

"The way I treat that girl of mine is a crime. We've been going together five years now--but if she dares to mention the word marriage, I take a fit. The very thought of it scares the life out of me .... I'll be a bachelor all of my life, I guess" (p.378).

SCHNELLOCK AS CRITIC
"To Ulric's appraisals I was particularly sensitive. It was foolish of me, perhaps, to give such keen attention to his comments, since our tastes (in literature) were widely different, but he was so very, very close to me, the one friend I had whom it was imperative to convince of my ability. He was not easy to please either, my Ulric" (p.55)

SCHNELLOCK THE ARTIST
On their walks through the old Brooklyn neighbourhood, Ulric would bring a sketch book: "to make a few notes." He found beauty in things like decayed urban landscapes. But his "notes" were rarelt used, as he was kept busy with advertising art (p.15-16).

Ulric had a "marvelous acquaintance with the world of art." Some of his favourites in the mid-1920s: Cimabue, Uccello, Piero della Francesca, Botticelli, Vermeer. He could talk for hours about a single painting (p.15).

Between jobs, he had women pose for him. "Before the easel he had all the gestures and mannerisms of the 'mastro.' It was almost terrifying to witness the frenzy of his attack" (p.16).
________________

Ulric: "I suppose it will always be a thing of wonder and mystery to me how we ran into each other that day on Sixth Avenue after a lapse of many years. What a lucky day it was for me! (p.386). Ulric then goes on to describe how he'd thought of Henry during his travels, how he'd known that Henry would amount to "something or somebody."

Schnellock/Ulrich speaks with great admiration for Henry throughout these scenes.
__________________
Reference: Plexus. Grove Press paperback, 1987.
The great pulp cover image of Plexus is from a 1961 Italian edition, which I found on Italian ebay.

16 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to ask you a question... Where did you get that cover? Do you have some information on covers of Miller's books in different languages?
Thank you.

thulimo

12:21 pm  
Blogger RC said...

Hi Thulimo

I found this cover image on the Italian edition of Ebay. I no longer have the link info.
Sorry, I don't really keep detailed notes on foreign editions of Miller. I just sometimes find these book covers randomly on the internet. Good luck finding whatever it is you're looking for.

5:27 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your answer and for your blog.

thulimo

2:08 pm  
Anonymous kathleen mccloud said...

Yes, thank you for all of this. I am very interested in hearing the 'muted' voice of Schnellock/aka Ulric- my great Aunt Dorothy was his sister. Aside from Ned, his brother, he had two sisters, Dorothy and Beatrice. Dorothy also worked in advertising and adored her big brother. He was a seer of sorts, and a true 'educator'- seeing and bringing forth that was is within.

9:08 pm  
Blogger chenlina said...

chenlina20151119
coach factory outlet
ugg boots
canada goose jackets
uggs clearance
coach factory outlet
jordans for sale
canada goose outlet
uggs outlet
canada goose jackets
kids lebron shoes
michaek kors outlet
uggs outlet
kids uggs on sale
north face jackets
jordan 11
hollister
oakley sunglasses
michael kors outlet online
hollister uk
instyler max
michael kors outlet online
louis vuitton handbags
uggs on sale
ray ban sunglasses outlet
ralph lauren outlet
soccer shoes
running shoes
cheap uggs
air jordans
the north face
gucci outlet
michael kors outlet
celine outlet
ugg boots outlet
cheap nfl jerseys
ugg boots
vans shoes sale
louis vuitton outlet
louis vuitton handbags
mont blanc legend

7:41 pm  
Blogger Minko Chen said...

polo shirts
hermes birkin bag
cheap ugg boots
mbt shoes outlet
timberland shoes
michael kors canada
michael kors outlet online
tiffany jewelry
ugg outlet online
mlb jerseys
ferragamo outlet
michael kors factory store
oakley canada
ugg outlet
ray ban sunglasses
ralph lauren outlet
kobe bryants shoes
soccer jerseys wholesale
christian louboutin shoes

9:42 pm  
Blogger Minko Chen said...

polo shirts
hermes birkin bag
cheap ugg boots
mbt shoes outlet
timberland shoes
michael kors canada
michael kors outlet online
tiffany jewelry
ugg outlet online
mlb jerseys
ferragamo outlet
michael kors factory store
oakley canada
ugg outlet
ray ban sunglasses
ralph lauren outlet
kobe bryants shoes
soccer jerseys wholesale
christian louboutin shoes

9:42 pm  
Blogger Gege Dai said...

chicago bulls jerseys
san francisco 49ers jersey
broncos jerseys
pittsburgh steelers jerseys
new england patriots jersey
polo pas cher
bears jerseys
colts jerseys
cleveland browns jersey
nike outlet
miami heat
instyler
jacksonville jaguars jerseys
ferragamo outlet
oakland raiders jersey
kansas city chiefs jerseys
carolina panthers jerseys
air max 90
oklahoma city thunder jerseys
golden state warriors
hollister
instyler ionic styler
ysl outlet
new balance outlet
tods outlet online
new york knicks jersey
new york knicks
fred perry polo shirts
nike free run
new orleans saints jersey
puma outlet
saints jerseys
dallas cowboys jersey
jaguars jersey
supra shoes
linyuan0511

6:09 am  
Blogger 艾丰 said...

jianbin0528
nike air force 1
true religion uk
longchamp outlet
ray ban sunglasses
coach outlet store
coach outlet store
dior sunglasses
thomas sabo outlet
michael kors outlet
ferragamo shoes
prada sneakers
fitflops shoes
celine outlet
ferragamo outlet
cheap oakley sunglasses
true religion jeans
christian louboutin outlet
coach outlet store
michael kors outlet
mulberry bags
coach outlet
ralph lauren outlet
versace sunglasses on sale
true religion jeans
chaussure louboutin
michael kors outlet
fitflops sale
ghd hair straighteners
cheap nba jerseys
nfl jersey wholesale
longchamp pliage
polo ralph lauren
oakley sunglasses

1:51 am  
Blogger Chen Zhiqin said...

nike free running
miami heat
titans jersey
browns jerseys
air jordan 11
nike roshe run shoes
los angeles lakers jersey
texans jerseys
ed hardy clothing
tods shoes sale
falcons jersey
arizona cardinals jersey
cincinnati bengals jerseys
bears jerseys
nike free run
air max 90
colts jerseys
nike soccer shoes
nike foamposite
oklahoma city thunder jerseys
washington redskins jerseys
air max 90
raiders jerseys
giuseppe zanotti shoes
mizuno shoes
nike outlet store
puma outlet
mizuno running shoes
chicago bulls
arizona cardinals jerseys
ferragamo outlet
miami heat jersey
tods outlet
kansas city chiefs jersey
san francisco 49ers jersey
czq20160704

4:30 am  
Blogger Unknown said...

jiannin0902
mcm backpack
ugg boots sale
louis vuitton bags
ugg clearance
nike air max uk
louis vuitton handbags
longchamp handbags
christian louboutin shoes
nike roshe
coach outlet store
cheap ugg boots
michael kors outlet
ugg outlet
ugg outlet
ralph lauren pas cher
michael kors outlet clearance
ugg boots
ghd uk
coach outlet
rolex uk
louis vuitton
cheap nike shoes sale
cartier sunglasses for men
jordan 4
coach handbags outlet
nike huarache
ray ban sunglasses sale
tiffany and co
michael kors handbags on sale
toms shoes

4:18 am  
Blogger Unknown said...

rolex watches
ray-ban sunglasses
air jordan 4
hermes belt
instyler ionic styler
tiffany jewelry
mulberry handbags
ugg outlet
ugg uk
louis vuitton
chanyuan11.19

7:53 am  
Blogger Gege Dai said...

ferragamo shoes
lacoste pas cher
lululemon outlet
ugg outlet
michael kors outlet clearance
tory burch outlet
coach outlet
football shirts
longchamp outlet
ferragamo outlet
20161122lck

2:12 am  
Blogger Gege Dai said...

michael kors outlet clearance
fitflops sale clearance
canada goose outlet
cheap uggs
hollister canada
michael kors outlet
michael kors bags
fitflops sale
north face jackets
burberry outlet
20161122lck

2:14 am  
Blogger فاطمة said...

https://decor-ksa.com/laser-cut-doors/
https://decor-ksa.com/villas-doors/
https://3kary.com/property-status/farms-for-rent/
https://3kary.com/property-status/farms-for-sale/

5:04 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

michael kors outlet
sac longchamp
cheap michael kors handbags
converse shoes
cowboys jerseys
instyler max
michael kors handbags outlet
cheap michael kors handbags
cheap jordan shoes
ecco shoes

9:03 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home