In Memory of Joseph Frank


Linda A. Cicero/Stanford News Service

I met Joe Frank after he was already well-established as the preeminent Dostoevsky scholar. I can’t claim him as an acquisitions editor, but we became fast friends as I represented his later work in the series. Of course, I tapped him for advice on building the Russian studies list.

For all his erudition, he was very down-to-earth and fun to be with. We socialized in Princeton and later whenever I was in the Bay Area—even after leaving the Press. He and Marguerite had the most delightful and infectious sense of fun. One evening, he invited me to go with them to see “Casablanca” at the Palo Alto Theatre, which shows classic films. Even though they had seen the film countless times, Joe and Marguerite giggled and chortled throughout the show, as if they were experiencing it for the first time. They wanted to be sure I was enjoying it just as much.

At the Press I often received concerned letters from scholars and ordinary fans who had heard that Joe died. Actually, that was another scholar named Joe Frank. Although it amused Joe to hear these premature condolences, he told me he had moved to Palo Alto to extend his life so that he could finish the biography. And finish it he did.

With his passing goes a kind of comprehensive learnedness that seems hardly to exist anymore. The world will miss him greatly as a scholar.  I shall miss him even more as a friend.

~Robert Brown, Former Princeton Acquisitions Editor


To read more about Joseph Frank, please visit this lovely tribute in the New York Times: