Originally published 03/07/2013
Joseph Frank, a longtime professor of literature whose five-volume biography of the 19th-century Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky is considered a landmark of historical and literary scholarship, died Feb. 27 at his home in Palo Alto, Calif. He was 94.He had pulmonary failure, according to the New York Times, which first reported his death.Dr. Frank wrote on a wide range of literary subjects before he began to focus on Dostoevsky — the author of “Crime and Punishment,” “The Idiot” and “The Brothers Karamazov” — in the 1950s.Dr. Frank learned Russian and immersed himself in the turbulent milieu of Dostoevsky’s life — he lived from 1821 to 1881 — to write what some scholars have called an incomparable portrait of the author’s life and times. From 1976 to 2002, Dr. Frank chronicled Dostoevsky’s dramatic life in five volumes that totaled more than 2,400 pages....