Stanley Elkin (May 11, 1930 - May 31, 1995)
Born: 11th May, 1930
Died: 31st May, 1995
Nationality: American
Profession/Occupation: Novelist
Region: New York City, New York, Saint Louis, Missouri
Notable works: "The Franchiser", "Criers and Kibitzers, Kibitzers and Criers", "Boswell: A Modern Comedy", "The MacGuffin", "The Living End", "Stanley Elkin's The Magic Kingdom", "Mrs. Ted Bliss"

Stanley Elkin Facts

Biography

Stanley Elkin, in full Stanley Lawrence Elkin, (born May 11, 1930, New York, N.Y., U.S.--died May 31, 1995, St. Louis, Mo.), American writer known for his extraordinary flights of language and imaginative tragicomic explorations of contemporary life.

Elkin grew up in a Jewish family in Chicago. He received a B.A. (1952), M.A. (1953), and Ph.D. (1961) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, completing a dissertation on William Faulkner. From 1960 until his death he taught at Washington University in St. Louis.

Elkin's first novel, Boswell: A Modern Comedy (1964), tells of an ordinary man who founds a club for famous individuals, hoping like his namesake to bask in reflected glory. Criers and Kibitzers, Kibitzers and Criers (1966), a collection of comic short stories on Jewish themes and characters, was well received. Elkin explored the rift between family ties and the lure of assimilation in A Bad Man (1967).

The Franchiser (1976), considered one of Elkin's strongest works, tells of Ben Flesh, an orphaned bachelor adopted as an adult into the absurd Finsberg family of 18 twins and triplets, all with rare and incurable diseases. Like Elkin himself, Ben suffers from multiple sclerosis, and he comes to terms with his disease as his brothers and sisters die from theirs. The Living End (1979), a collection of three interwoven novellas about heaven, hell, and Minnesota's twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, is perhaps Elkin's best-known work. The novellas examine the mundane concerns of a Twin Cities liquor salesman, as well as God and the problem of evil. Elkin gained further critical acclaim for Stanley Elkin's The Magic Kingdom (1985), in which Eddy Bale arranges a trip to Disney World for seven terminally ill British children, in honour of his young son's death. In The MacGuffin (1991), Elkin attempted a more conventional narrative structure while maintaining his usual style as he tracks the life of City Commissioner Robert Druff over a period of 48 hours. Mrs. Ted Bliss, a novel about the exploits of an octogenarian widow residing in a condominium complex in Miami Beach, Florida, was published in 1995.

Top 8 Stanley Elkin quotes

When I was growing up, we had a bungalow in New Jersey which we visited in the summers. Everybody in that small community was named Feldman and was either an aunt or cousin of mine. I just found it comfortable to use the name Feldman.
Aunt
Comfortable
Community
Cousin
Either
Everybody
Found
Growing
Growing up
Had
Jersey
Just
Mine
Name
Like most people of my generation, I fell in love with the philosophy of existentialism.
Fell
Generation
Like
Love
Most
My generation
People
Philosophy
What a writer's message is is totally unimportant. Either he is agreeing with life by affirming, or he is saying life is just a bowl of wormwood.
Agreeing
Bowl
Either
He
Just
Life
Message
Saying
Totally
Unimportant
Writer
I don't read much nonfiction because the nonfiction I do read always seems to be so badly written. What I enjoy about fiction - the great gift of fiction - is that it gives language an opportunity to happen.
About
Always
Badly
Because
Enjoy
Fiction
Gift
Gives
Great
Great gift
Happen
Language
Much
Nonfiction
I look eight years older than everybody.
Eight
Everybody
Look
Older
Than
Years
Plot is to literature what individual holes are to miniature golf.
Golf
Holes
Individual
Literature
Miniature
Plot
The fact that we die is one of the more interesting things that happen to us. Fiction ought to be about bottom lines, and that's as bottom-line as you can get.
About
Bottom
Die
Fact
Fiction
Get
Happen
Interesting
Interesting things
Lines
More
Ought
Things
Us
I've always been terrified of dying, always. It was a concern of mine long before it had to be.
Always
Been
Before
Concern
Dying
Had
Long
Mine
Terrified

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