Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Daphne Fraenkel - The Hamlet Heiress

When Michael Fraenkel died in 1957, he left a wife named Daphne. She would probably have been a minor footnote in the Miller life story--known simply as Michael Fraenkel's wife--but she made herself more pronounced later on, when her inherited rights to the Miller-Fraenkel correspondence Hamlet would cause Henry much frustration.

Daphne Moschos Gillam: she married a few times. I haven't read the rare Fraenkel biographical sketches, so my information on Daphne is limited. My sources are Michael Hargraves' introduction to the 1988 Fraenkel-less Capra edition of Hamlet, Henry Miller's preface to the same book, and the website t-bag.org (of unknown identity and uncertain credibility). The website includes a travel diary through Europe from 1975, during which the author stayed in Daphne's apartment for a night.

According to this website, in an entry dated August 1-8 [1975], Daphne lived at 27 Letterstone Road London SW6 Fulham:

"Daphne was born in Paris on April 8th 1900. Had flaming red hair and always wore purple. She had been married a couple of times. Taught school in Indiana. Witnessed World War I up close and personal, and said it was much worse than the second one [...] Daphne published and printed books for poets and playwrights. Carrefour Publications was what is called a vanity press [...] She typeset the books on a special typewriter. Then printed each sheet on a small printing press [...] Books were stacked in every square foot of her small apartment. Somehow I found room under the printing press for my sleeping bag."

When Michael Fraenkel died in 1957, Daphne inherited his work as well as Carrefour Press. Fraenkel had owned the rights to the Hamlet letters, so they passed to her as well. Miller held a grudge over not having rights to the project for many years. In 1962, Daphne used Carrefour to publish a fairly complete edition of Hamlet in tribute to Michael.

Miller declared: "I never received a copy of the book nor a penny in royalties." Daphne would eventually hand the rights over to Michael Hargraves for an American edition. When Hargraves presented Henry Miller with a copy of the book he never received, Henry signed it "To Michael Hargraves--the proud possessor of an unauthorized edition by me."

Hargraves was informed by Daphne that she disliked Henry. Henry harbored bad feelings about her as well. Hargraves: "In one letter to me he wrote, 'My feeling about Daphne hasn't changed over the years. I always regarded her as a rather astute horse's ass.' While in another letter he wrote: 'She cheated me out of royalties on that handsome British [1962] edition. More, she treated me in her blurbs [from the back of the book, taken from 1940s reviews] as if I were the fifth wheel on a wagon." Hargraves also notes that attempts had previsouly been made to publish an American edition, but Daphne thwarted them all.

Finally, A Short History Of Carrefour Press And Archives (1994) contains a letter from Henry to Daphne, dated June 16, 1957, in which he offers her condolances for Michael's death. (ref. only)

10 Comments:

Anonymous JamesD said...

In part, Miller's 16 June 1957 letter to Daphne reads: "I walked to the forest and sat down and thought about him, the life we had together in Paris [. . .] I feel certain he is in good keeping wherever he may be now. Sincere good wishes to you, Daphne."

8:25 pm  
Blogger RC said...

Thanks for that, James.

12:10 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your site does not mention that Daphne Fraenkel died in 1991. She had a long and colourful life. She was married twice. The first time to Tasmanian farmer Stanley Roy Gillam in 1920 and the second to Michael Fraenkel in London in 1953. there is much more to Daphne's life than meets the eye but a good starting point are the Carrefour/Alyscamps books of the 1990s containing some good information on the subject by Karl Orend and Michael P.Harris who was Daphne's Literary Executor.

10:33 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am am Michael Fraenkel's Granddaughter. My
Mother, now 86 yrs and living, is his daughter by
his first legal marriage to M. Dore'. My Mother and her brother, now deceased, were Michael Fraenkel's
ONLY children, and as such, his ONLY LEGAL HEIRS
when he died. Daphne Gillam must have ended her
life as haunted as Hamlet did his. She was, for lack of more appropriate word, a thief. Not only did she
screw Henry out of his rights, she srewed Fraenkle's
only children out of their rights. Val Miller, Henry
Miller's daughter ,is a good friend of mine. We were
just talking about the Hamlet letters and I assured
her, my Mother is the sole legal heir, if there is
still a copyright issue to be made. And, gives her
blessing to the Miller estate to use these letters
as they see fit. What matters most, is that the
Hamlet correspondence is kept in its original form;
both authors engaged in a flowing, back and forth
correspondence. The rest of all this carrying on
is nothing but pure shit ! Madeleine Sloan

5:42 pm  
Anonymous Wayne said...

I am the fellow who stayed at Daphne's in August of 1975 and slept under her printing press.
I slept there from August 1st to the 9th, and then again from the 26th to the 30th.

I am not sure if her address was 27 Letterstone Road. From a Google street view, the door reads 23 Letterstone Road. If you have any Carrefour Publication, perhaps you could find it on the copyright page. Would appreciate it if you would check. I am updating the page at t-bag.org about Daphne, and would like to get the details correct. Thanks.
-Wayne Holt

wayneleeholt@gmail.com

10:55 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carrefour Editions
18 Villa Seurat
Paris (XIV) France is the return address on a letter
sent to my Grandmother, Sydney Michael Fraenkel's
only legal wife. In this letter he informs her he has
just gone over the MS for Werther with his publisher
and it should be printed in a week or so. She is in
the country at her family home in Yonne.
Fraenkel owned the apartments at Villa Seurat, which
he would shortly, after writing this letter, offer to let
part of to Henry Miller. I have stacks of letters from Michael Fraenkel. One long letter, held together with a rusty straight pin bears the heading
THE CARREFOUR Fonteny pres Vezelay, Yonne,
France. This was the farm house belonging to
my Grandmother's French Catholic family. The
house still stands. It was purchased by a British
interest several years ago. Anonymous M

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5:02 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I knew Daphne Fraenkel well from 1970 until late in that decade and visited her often at her terrace house (not apartment) at 27 Letterstone Road in the Fulham district of London. She was devoted to her husband's memory and felt that he had been ill treated by Henry Miller. In turn, she had many devoted friends, most of them literary or artistic. She was a generous if slightly eccentric person who had, as someone earlier observed, a colorful and eventful life.

Christopher Clausen, cqc1@psu.edu

7:33 pm  

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