Dan Frank, who as editorial director of Pantheon Books discerned in journalism and comics the potential for enduring books and launched authors like Joseph Mitchell to tens of 1000’s of readers, died on May 24 in Manhattan. He was 67.
His loss of life, at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, was attributable to most cancers, his spouse, Patricia Lowy, mentioned.
Running Pantheon from 1996 till final 12 months, Mr. Frank edited books that earned vital reward, awards and rankings on greatest vendor lists. He edited Cormac McCarthy’s novel “The Road” (2006), which received the Pulitzer Prize, and revealed a translation of Marjane Satrapi’s illustrated memoir, “Persepolis” (2003), which grew to become an acclaimed film. He helped form a few of the historian Jill Lepore’s hottest books, amongst them “The Secret History of Wonder Woman” (2014), together with a number of books by acclaimed writers like Oliver Sacks and Alan Lightman.
In refined comics and graphic novels, Mr. Frank found one thing of a brand new style. After Art Spiegelman had nice success with “Maus,” his story of the Holocaust advised by comics, he helped Mr. Frank domesticate a brand new technology of comedian artists, together with Chris Ware and Ben Katchor. Mr. Frank additionally labored with Mr. Spiegelman on a few of his subsequent books.
“He was a wonderful asset for jump-starting graphic novels the way they ought to be jump-started — by publishing the best that one can find,” Mr. Spiegelman mentioned in a cellphone interview.
In 2000, The New York Times known as Pantheon, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, the trade chief in graphic novels.
Mr. Frank made maybe his most lasting mark on American letters by his work with Joseph Mitchell.
In 1984, as a younger editor at Viking Press, Mr. Frank was looking out the corporate archives for forgotten classics when he chanced on “Joe Gould’s Secret,” a 1965 guide based mostly on two New Yorker journal profiles by Mr. Mitchell. He determined he needed to reissue Mr. Mitchell’s writing — solely to be taught that many editors had already tried and did not do the identical factor.
The New Yorker author Calvin Trillin known as Mr. Mitchell “the New Yorker reporter who set the standard.” But Mr. Mitchell, who had been employed by the journal in 1938, had not revealed something new since “Joe Gould’s Secret,” confounding his editors and admirers, who speculated that he felt he may now not dwell as much as his personal demanding expectations as a author.
Mr. Frank opened his courtship of Mr. Mitchell with a proposal uncharacteristic for an editor: He promised to not ask whether or not Mr. Mitchell was engaged on something.
“He was patient and he knew that you can’t really do right by a writer unless you have a strong sense of their state of mind,” Thomas Kunkel, who wrote a biography of Mr. Mitchell, mentioned of Mr. Frank.
So started a number of years of lunches. Mr. Frank soothed Mr. Mitchell’s insecurities about his many years of silence and agreed to his calls for concerning the contents and format of the guide whereas not permitting him to delay the mission interminably.
When the product of their collaboration, “Up in the Old Hotel,” got here out in 1992, it spent weeks on greatest vendor lists and obtained celebratory opinions. (Mr. Mitchell died in 1996.)
Mr. Frank collaborated with Joseph Mitchell on what grew to become a critically celebrated greatest vendor in 1992.
“The number of readers who never would have come across the genius of Joseph Mitchell without the publication of ‘Up in the Old Hotel’ is incalculable,” David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker, mentioned in a cellphone interview. “He might have slipped through the cracks of literary history had it not been for Dan Frank.”
Daniel Heming Frank was born in Manhattan on March 27, 1954. His mom, Joan (Heming) Frank, produced TV exhibits for Hallmark and was director of publicity for the nonprofit Central Park Conservancy; his father, John, ran a journey company.
As a excessive schooler, Dan took evening lessons in philosophy at the New School. He audited lectures given by Hannah Arendt and adopted a studying record tailored from her syllabuses. “He was besotted,” Ms. Lowy mentioned. “She was his intellectual hero.”
Mr. Frank graduated from Haverford College in Pennsylvania in 1976 with a level in philosophy. He went on to earn a grasp’s from the interdisciplinary program the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago.
He quickly launched into a profession in publishing. As an editorial assistant at Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, he introduced a duplicate of The Times to work each morning, and a younger lady within the guide design division would typically perch on his desk to get a glance at it.
That was Ms. Lowy. They married in 1982. In addition to her, he’s survived by three sons, Jasper, Lucas and Cole, and one grandson. Mr. Frank lived in Manhattan.
Despite his obligations working Pantheon, Mr. Frank remained attentive to particular person books and writers. James Gleick, for one, labored with Mr. Frank on all his books, beginning within the 1980s, when Mr. Frank noticed an article that Mr. Gleick had written in The New York Times Magazine and commissioned him to develop it right into a guide, his first, the best-selling “Chaos: Making a New Science.”
When Mr. Gleick proposed to Mr. Frank his most up-to-date mission, which involved time journey, Mr. Frank thought for a second. “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 advice “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 mentioned.
A distinct editor, he continued, may need 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 mentioned. “He thought in terms of what a particular author might have in him, to make the best possible book.”