Thursday, July 21, 2005

Arthur Crook 1912-2005

Arthur Crook, former editor of The Times Literary Supplement (TLS), has died. There is an obituary in The Times.
From 1945 the TLS was edited by Stanley Morison, whose friend and executor Crook became. Morison, having given the TLS a new authority and taken its circulation up to about 49,000, retired in 1947 in favour of his nominee, Alan Pryce-Jones, and in 1951 Crook was promoted to assistant editor. Morison’s policies were carried on, but with greater light-heartedness and in a more international context: something that entailed frequent foreign excursions by Pryce-Jones, who left his assistant more and more in charge of the paper. Crook’s own appointment as Editor came in 1959.

Crook set out to be a non-writing editor, and he widened and strengthened the team of outside reviewers. Recognising the growing specialisation of scholars, as well as the swelling output of serious books, he started finding experts to cover even the most obscure fields. They in turn found an editor who was scrupulous and tactful, who saw that their corrections were made and their libels painlessly removed. Their own books were reviewed and their reviews, if likely to be a shock, were sent to them before the public saw them.

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