Stangos, Nicolas 1936-2004

views updated

STANGOS, Nicolas 1936-2004

(Nikos Stangos)


See index for CA sketch: Born November 21, 1936, in Athens, Greece; died of cancer April 16, 2004, in London, England. Editor and author. Stangos was a noted and influential editor of art and literature titles for Penguin Books and Thames & Hudson in London. The son of a Greek architect, he and his family survived the German occupation during World War II; as a teenager, he joined the Communist Party and helped distribute its propaganda, but he abandoned Communism when its members criticized his poetry. In 1955 he traveled to the United States, where he attended Wesleyan University, earned a B.A. from Denison University, and studied at Harvard University for two years. Stangos then returned to Athens, where he was education director for Ekistics Doxiadis Associates in the early 1960s; in 1965, he moved to London to accept a press attaché post at Greece's embassy. But when a military dictatorship took over his homeland, Stangos left the embassy in protest and took a job as an editor for Penguin Books. Here, his love for literature, art, and architecture were a benefit, despite his initial lack of editing experience. He became the editor of the "Modern Poets" series, helping to bring the works of such poets as Kenneth Koch, Fernando Pessoa, Yannis Ritsos, and John Ashbery to the attention of British readers; he also edited the "Style and Civilization" series. Not long after Allen Lane, the founder of Penguin, died in 1970, Stangos left Penguin and joined Thames & Hudson, where he orchestrated the publication of works by authors ranging from Frank Auerbach and Francis Bacon to John Golding and Richard Wollheim, and he also published works on art history by such scholars as John Gage, John Elderfield, Rosalind Krauss, and Griselda Pollock. Becoming editorial director in 1974, Stangos was in charge of all the publisher's art history titles and directed its "World of Art" series. Preferring to remain humbly in the background, Stangos, who retired in 2003, put his name on only a few titles, amlng these Concepts of Modern Art (1974) and The Familiar Surrounding of Words (1981); his editing of books by David Hockney, included Hockney by Hockney (1976) and That's the Way I See It (1993). His own works included a collection of verses titled Selected Poems (1975; third edition, 1994). Also a translator of numerous works, Stangos was in the middle of composing a lengthy poem titled "What Is Truth?" when he passed away.



Art in America, June-July, 2004, p. 198.

Guardian (London, England), April 30, 2004, p. 31.

Independent (London, England), April 23, 2004, p. 34.

Times (London, England), April 24, 2004, p. 46.

About this article

Stangos, Nicolas 1936-2004

Updated About content Print Article