Final Words: Miller Interview - October 1979
A scan of the original article is available through the online archives of the Michigan Quarterly Review.
At left: Photo of Kraft as found in the Michigan Quarterly article.
She had been working for a Los Angeles radio station in 1977, when she broadcast "An Open Letter to Henry Miller" in honour of his 85th birthday. The Michigan Quarterly article states that a "friendship ensued" following this encounter [p.45]. This is later verified in Miller's letters to friends in 1979: to Irv Stettner on June 3: “Barbara Kraft here last night. Made me the most wonderful filet mignon I had ever anywhere! (I have sixteen voluntary cooks on my list now. Barbara is the best. And a damn good woman" ; and to Lawrence Durrell on August 9, he writes that Kraft is a "wonderful friend" .
First, I've never before read that the men in his immediate social circle had an influence on his use of language with regards to women, which some consider misogynistic: "Women like me in general, given a chance. No, there's never been any denigration of women by me. Though in the Tropics I must confess I was in a milieu and living with chaps who had a very low opinion of women. There was only one thing and that was sex. There wasn't anything else, don't you know" [p.47].
And then there's this bit about a vision of Madame Blavasky helping him transition from the man of rage who arrived in Paris to the man of peaceful surrender who left it: "The word surrender is a very common word in my mouth. I don't know just when that came about, perhaps when I had a vision of Madame Blavatsky once when I was in Paris. I was at my typewriter and I was still full of rage against the world, that's how I was typing my Tropic of Cancer, and suddenly I felt there was a presence in the room and I looked to the right and I saw her face momentarily and I knew her face well from the photographs, though there was no connection between seeing the photo and what happened to me. I underwent a great psychological change. At that moment I said to myself, 'Henry give up this struggle, this raging against people. It's getting you nowhere. Surrender!' And I was at peace with myself and I had no quarrels with anyone. I forgave my mother and my father for all their stupidities. It was a marvelous feeling."[p.48-49].
Page 46: Photo of Kraft with Miller;
Page 47: Sex and love--eros versus agape; his relationship with Women;
Page 48: Qualities of women: innocence, spirituality, beauty; submitting to love;
Page 49: The peace of finding surrender; spirituality; end of the world;
Page 50: Angry at the state of Humanity--lower than animals; we have devolved from Gods;
Page 51: Total acceptance of the Self; Truth in writing: "exaggeration in Art is very justifiable";
Page 52: Change yourself, not the world; wasted years in anger, trying to change the attitudes of others; the four paradises of his life;
Page 53: Writing in Paris; avoiding Politics; Emma Goldman;
Page 54: First attempts at writing; inspired by Goldman, and meeting her; "I believe in Life 100% and in people no percent";
Page 55: Life as disorder; Literature, and not caring for its ancient kind; Nobel Prize committee;
Page 56: Issac Bashevis Singer; Kerouac, Ginsberg and modern poetry; William Carlos Williams;
Page 57: Sartre; Dante's Inferno; Blaise Cendrars;
Page 58: Anecdote about Cendrars dying.
Read the full interview at the Michigan Quarterly Review.
In 1993, Kraft wrote an essay called "The Last Days of Henry Miller." It was published in the Hudson Review (Autumn 1993, p. 477). This piece was also re-printed in the debut issue of Ping Pong: Journal of the Henry Miller Library (1994).
 Miller, Henry, and Lawrence Durrell. The Durrell-Miller Letters, 1935-80. Ian McNiven, ed.; p. 507.
 Miller, Henry, and Irving Stettner. From Your Capricorn Friend; p. 93.
 Shifreen & Jackson. Bibliography of Primary Sources, Vol. 1; item E12, p. 921.