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Miller Light

July 21, 1991

Molly Giles' review rather frivolously adopts several inaccurate and offensive statements about one of America's most gifted, original and influential literary figures.

For nearly 20 years, Henry Miller was a close friend of my father (pianist Jakob Gimpel, of blessed memory), and a frequent guest in my parents' house, as were we in his. Miller was honorable, decent, generous, gracious, humble and disarmingly naif .

Because these qualities coexisted with a shocking frankness, there can be no doubt that they were genuine. He scrupulously acknowledged both his debts and faults, which is more than some of the moral and intellectual midgets who have presumed to judge him.

Miller may have been different things to different people, but he was certainly no antisemite. His oft-expressed admiration for the Jewish people and the Jewish religion was corrobrated by his withering contempt for the narrow bigotry of his own social and cultural ancestry.

Cheapest of all is the attempted portrayal of Miller as a frustrated sexual pervert. Even in his old age, he was adored by several beautiful and intelligent women. He accepted their love gratefully, but, Romantic that he was, preferred a good challenge to an easy conquest. He spoke frequently and rapturously of the wonders and agonies of love . . .

PETER GIMPEL, LOS ANGELES

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