THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF ADAM PANFLICK -- BOOK ONE
By Stephen C. Rose
Book One Chapter One — The Stockbridge Library, Retrieving The Panflick Archives, What To Expect
The library in Stockbridge,
attractive to the ordinary tourist who might enter its lofty doors to seek out
some sage novel by David Helpern or Louis de Berniers. But I was not there in
search of a read. I was there in hopes of discovering the Panflick Archives.
Adam Panflick had dumped them there in 1980, the year he left Ganya Mede for
good. They were incomplete. Panflick had, by his own admission, destroyed huge
amounts of written material prior to the dump. But anything at all was sure to
be helpful. I needed to to fill in key gaps in my hero’s history. Massachusetts
On a hot August day, I drove from Manhattan up the Taconic, over to Route 7 and north to to the town where Adam lived after he burnt himself out at the Democratic Convention in Chicago in 1968 until the day he concluded it was hopeless to continue trying to repair a marriage he had been instrumental in helping to demolish.
I stopped at a diner at the Hillsdale turn-off and wrote down a set of goals for the trip:
Obtain the Panflick archives such as they are.
Focus on Adam Panflick’s head at birth. Was there a point?
See if there are references to piracy.
It was almost noon when I entered the library. I immediately experienced a happy drop in the temperature. Two ladies sat primly behind a polished wood desk.
“I’ve come for the Panflick archives,” I said.
“Archives? If you mean what’s down there –” the elder of the two said, pointing to a door that led to the basement, “You’re welcome to them. You’re the literary fellow from the city, right?”
I was led to a dank basement where, on shaky shelves in the back, there were indeed sodden cartons containing the detritus of years. Untouched since the day they were thrown there. Within minutes several large plastic bags containing the whole mess were safely in the back of my rented car.
The legible portions of hundreds of water-stained pages have now been scanned. The whole thing is properly cared for in my little apartment on
34th Street. Many gaps have been filled.
The pointed head is explained. The piracy tracked down.
I have yet to discover an institution interested in housing this collection for posterity. But I assume the general disinterest will change with the publication of this history.
Why, you might ask?
If I may be bold for a moment, what if I were to say that along with everything else, Panflick is perhaps the leading theologian of his time? That would certainly be worth something.
What if I were to add that Panflick has surpassed the great Nietzsche as a psychologist and arrived at a synthesis undreamed of by the unfortunate wanderer of Sils Maria.
, Positano and other
locales? Surely that would raise a brow or two. Turin
And what, pray tell, would you say, if — in these chapters — you were to find a character more fully described, and more deeply understood, than the great Leopold Bloom himself?
None of these things may prove true to your satisfaction. But, then again, it is well worth asking whether any American with the history of Adam Panflick might lay claim — merely by living, absent any specific achievement — to an odd sort of honor, one shared by the likes of the great Quixote, the valiant Falstaff and even that enduring composite of the celebrated gambler Dostoevsky, the Karamazovs!
I do not seek a chorus of children crying, “Hurrrah for Panflick!” Our hero would, I’m certain, be content to hear once again a remark from a total stranger, treasured always. It came on the night of one of his greatest triumphs. Someone chanced to say, “Good exegesis”.