June 24, 2021

Dan Frank, Adventurous Book Editor, Is Dead at 67

Mr. Frank graduated from Haverford College in Pennsylvania in 1976 with a degree in philosophy. He went on to earn a master’s from the interdisciplinary program the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago.

He soon embarked on a career in publishing. As an editorial assistant at Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, he brought a copy of The Times to work every morning, and a young woman in the book design department would often perch on his desk to get a look at it.

That was Ms. Lowy. They married in 1982. In addition to her, he is survived by three sons, Jasper, Lucas and Cole, and one grandson. Mr. Frank lived in Manhattan.

Despite his responsibilities running Pantheon, Mr. Frank remained attentive to individual books and writers. James Gleick, for one, worked with Mr. Frank on all his books, starting in the 1980s, when Mr. Frank spotted an article that Mr. Gleick had written in The New York Times Magazine and commissioned him to expand it into a book, his first, the best-selling “Chaos: Making a New Science.”

When Mr. Gleick proposed to Mr. Frank his most recent project, which concerned time travel, Mr. Frank thought for a moment. “Oh, I see,” Mr. Gleick recalled him replying. “It’s not really going to be a book about science fiction. It’s going to be a book about time.”

That recommendation “helped me shift my thinking about the book from something that might have been a little bit trivial, something that had been done before — a survey of a bunch of science fiction literature — into something that was intended to be more ambitious,” Mr. Gleick said.

A different editor, he continued, might have thought, “There are a lot of time travel fans out there, and they’re all going to want to buy this.” Not Mr. Frank.

“Dan never thought in terms of how he could sell a book,” Mr. Gleick said. “He thought in terms of what a particular author might have in him, to make the best possible book.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/02/books/dan-frank-dead.html

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