A SKEPTIC AMONG THE SCHOLARS by August Frugé

A SKEPTIC AMONG THE SCHOLARS

August Frugé on University Publishing
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 The director emeritus of the University of California Press (now in its centennial year) offers informal reminiscences about the press's evolution into a major academic house. Starting in 1893 with a 25õ pamphlet on child development, the press now publishes 180 hardcovers, 75 paperbacks, and 30 scholarly journals per year, although it offers few of the monographs (original studies by faculty and graduate students, mostly in the natural sciences) that it once published. It has expanded to include offices in Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, and New York, with its functions now diversified among a host of editors, copy- editors, and acquisition, production, promotion, and sales people. Like most academic presses, the University of California's is primarily governed by a faculty committee, which, FrugÇ says, accounts for its ambivalence toward success--a success measured not in dollars but in service to the intellectual community (such as its publication of the ten volumes of John Donne's sermons or a projected twenty volumes of John Dryden's works) or by the relative popularity of its offerings (like the ``clear text'' editions of Mark Twain). But even the commercially viable Twain project was a reaction to the controversial publication of Twain's works sponsored by the Center for American Editions--the forbidding technical productions originating in the Modern Language Association and derided by Edmund Wilson as a pointless waste. FrugÇ--who joined the press in 1944 and retired as director in 1976--talks engagingly about book design and the special font the press invented (Berkeley Old Style); recalls famous authors he's published (including Carlos Castaneda); and remembers the honor of being asked to print the United Nations Charter in June 1945. A useful and unpretentious contribution to the history of publishing. (Sixty-four personal, even idiosyncratic, b&w illustrations)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-520-07733-4
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Univ. of California
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1993