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Stanley Elkin (1930–1995)

Autor(a) de The Living End

33+ Works 2,390 Membros 27 Críticas 10 Favorited

About the Author

Stanley Elkin was an American Jewish novelist, short story writer, and essayist. He was born on May 11, 1930. Elkin steadily and quietly worked his way into the higher ranks of contemporary American novelists. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, but grew up in Chicago and has spent most of his life mostrar mais since in the Midwest, receiving his Ph.D. in English from the University of Illinois with a dissertation on William Faulkner. He was a member of the English faculty at Washington University in St. Louis from 1960 until his death, and battled multiple sclerosis for most of his adult life. Reviewers found Elkin's first novel, Boswell: A Modern Comedy (1964), the story of an uninhibited modern-day counterpart of the eighteenth-century biographer, hilarious and promising, while the stories in Criers and Kibitzers, Kibitzers and Criers (1966) established Elkin as a writer capable of writing short stories of textbook-anthology quality. The ironically entitled A Bad Man (1967) is about a Jewish department store magnate who deliberately arranges to have himself convicted of several misdeeds so that he can experience the real world of a prison and carry on his own war with the warden in what takes on the dimensions of a burlesque existential allegory. The Dick Gibson Show (1971) uses the host of a radio talk show as a way of showing fancifully what it means to live "at sound barrier," and both Searchers and Seizures (1973) and The Living End (1979) are triptychs of related stories verging on surrealism. The Franchiser (1976), generally considered Elkin's best novel before George Mills, uses the story of a traveling salesman of franchises to show the flattening homogenization of American life. But as usual, what happens in this Elkin novel is less important than the way in which the story is told. Elkin won the National Book Critics Circle Award on two occasions: for George Mills in 1982 and for Mrs. Ted Bliss, his last novel, in 1995. The MacGuffin was a finalist for the 1991 National Book Award for Fiction. Although he enjoyed high critical praise, his books never enjoyed popular success. Elkin died May 31, 1995 of a heart attack. His manuscripts and correspondence are archived in Olin Library at Washington University in St. Louis. (Bowker Author Biography) mostrar menos
Image credit: Courtesy of Dalkey Archive Press

Obras por Stanley Elkin

The Living End (1979) 275 exemplares
The Magic Kingdom (1985) 250 exemplares
Mrs. Ted Bliss (1995) 246 exemplares
George Mills (1982) 242 exemplares
The Dick Gibson Show (1971) 181 exemplares
The Franchiser (1976) 164 exemplares
A Bad Man (1967) 138 exemplares
Searches and Seizures (1973) 123 exemplares
The MacGuffin (1991) 118 exemplares
Boswell (1964) 112 exemplares
The Rabbi of Lud (1987) 75 exemplares
Pieces of Soap: Essays (1992) 69 exemplares
Stanley Elkin's Greatest Hits (1980) 51 exemplares
The Best American Short Stories 1980 (1980) — Editor — 34 exemplares
Stories from the Sixties (1971) 15 exemplares
The Condominium (1973) 9 exemplares
Marchand de liberté (1993) 6 exemplares
Alex and Gypsy (1976) 6 exemplares
The Six-Year-Old Man (1987) 5 exemplares
Early Elkin (1985) 4 exemplares
The First George Mills (1980) 4 exemplares
La seconde vie de Preminger (2012) 2 exemplares
Eligible Men (1974) 1 exemplar
The coffee room (1987) 1 exemplar
Elkin Stanley 1 exemplar
El no va más (1989) 1 exemplar

Associated Works

The Best American Short Stories of the Century (2000) — Contribuidor — 1,564 exemplares
The Granta Book of the American Short Story (1992) — Contribuidor — 368 exemplares
The Best of Modern Humor (1983) — Contribuidor — 291 exemplares
100 Years of the Best American Short Stories (2015) — Contribuidor — 290 exemplares
Russell Baker's Book of American Humor (1993) — Contribuidor — 209 exemplares
The Best American Essays 1994 (1994) — Contribuidor — 181 exemplares
The Best American Essays 1992 (1992) — Contribuidor — 138 exemplares
The Oxford Book of Jewish Stories (1998) — Contribuidor — 132 exemplares
The Best American Essays 1990 (1990) — Contribuidor — 119 exemplares
The Best American Essays 1989 (1989) — Contribuidor — 103 exemplares
The Granta Book of the American Long Story (1822) — Contribuidor — 99 exemplares
Great Esquire Fiction (1983) — Contribuidor — 70 exemplares
The Grim Reader: Writings on Death, Dying, and Living On (1997) — Contribuidor — 61 exemplares
The Jewish Writer (1998) — Contribuidor — 53 exemplares
Granta 1: New American Writing (1979) — Contribuidor — 44 exemplares
The Best American Short Stories 1978 (1978) — Contribuidor — 25 exemplares
The Best American Short Stories 1963 (1963) — Contribuidor — 19 exemplares
The Best American Short Stories 1965 (1965) — Contribuidor — 17 exemplares
The Best American Short Stories 1962 (1962) — Contribuidor — 11 exemplares
Best modern short stories (1965) — Contribuidor — 8 exemplares
The Paris Review 32 1964 Summer-Fall (1964) — Contribuidor — 4 exemplares
Fiction, Volume 1, Number 1 — Contribuidor — 1 exemplar


Conhecimento Comum

Nome legal
Elkin, Stanley Lawrence
Data de nascimento
Data de falecimento
Local de nascimento
New York, New York, USA
Local de falecimento
St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Locais de residência
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Brooklyn, New York, USA
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (BA & PhD in English)
short-story writer
professor (English)
American Academy of Arts and Letters ( [1982])
Washington University in St. Louis (Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters)
Prémios e menções honrosas
American Academy of Arts and Letters Academy Award (Literature, 1974)
National Book Critics Circle Award

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Stanley Elkin was born in Brooklyn, New York. He grew up in Chicago, where his parents moved when he was three years old. He began writing as a boy. He attended the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, earning a bachelor's degree in English in 1952, a master's degree in 1953 and a doctorate in 1961. In 1953, he married Joan Jacobson, with whom he had three children. He served in the U.S. Army from 1955 to 1957. In 1960, he joined the faculty of Washington University in St. Louis as an English instructor, and remained at the university the rest of his life. He rose to full professor in 1969 and was appointed Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters in 1983. He became a famed teacher whose students were known to tremble in the wake of his comments. Stanley Elkin published his first novel "Boswell" in 1964 and his first collection of short stories, "Criers and Kibitzers, Kibitzers and Criers," in 1966. He became a prolific writer, producing 9 more novels, two volumes of novellas, two books of short stories, a collection of essays, radio plays, a screenplay, and numerous articles and stories for magazines such as Harper's, Playboy, and Esquire. His darkly comic and satiric writing style focused on American pop culture and the (often) painful side of human relationships. Elkin enjoyed critical acclaim and international popularity for many of his works. His extravagant, exuberant, and baroque language was widely admired. A diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in 1972 and two heart attacks did not stop Elkin's writing or teaching careers or keep him from taking travel assignments.



Mrs. Ted Bliss by Stanley Elkin was an enjoyable read. It was kind of a throwback to the Philip Roth, Saul Bellow styles of American literature, depicting the 70s and 80s in Miami Florida where the Jewish people moving from Chicago moved in next to the South American drug lords who moved out of their country. " They were—the Latinos—not only a proud people but a stylish, almost gaudy one. The high heels of the women, the wide, double-breasted, custom suits of the men, lent them a sexy, perky, tango air; sent unmixed signals of something like risk and danger that sailed right over the Jews’ heads." That sounds like it might lead to some interesting plot twists, but really except for the selling of her dead husband's car, Mrs. Ted Bliss has relatively few incidents of drama. The story really just depicts a widow who is hard of hearing in her 80s getting by. We read about h interactions with her children, her daughter in law and an old business partner of her husband's. The novel mostly just reveals Dorothy's inner monologue of her life and memories.
the writing, however, was phenomenal; the sentences fun to read and the descriptions at times hilarious. I would recommend this book and I will look to see other novels from this author.
Max had been the manager of Baltimore’s largest hardware store and had a guaranteed three-quarters point participation in net profits before his stroke in 1971 from which, thank God, he was now fully recovered except for a wide grin that was permanently fixed into his face like a brand...“I don’t dare go to funerals, they think I’m laughing,” Max said.

Dorothy was overcome with a feeling so powerful she gasped in astonishment and turned in her seat and looked in the back to see if her husband were sitting there. She was thrown into confusion. It was Ted’s scent, the haunted pheromones of cigarettes and sweat and loss, his over-two-year ownership collected, concentrated in the locked, unused automobile.

Women honored the men who put food on the table, who provided the table on which the food was put, and the men saved them. That was the trade-off. Men saved them. They took them out of awful places like Mrs. Dubow’s and put food on the table and kept all the books. Women owed it to them to be good-looking, they owed it to them that the shade of their dresses did not clash with the shade of their suits, to hold their shapes and do their level best to keep up their reflections in mirrors. It wasn’t vanity, it was duty.

And gathering up her metal detector, her trowel and shovel and hoe, and taking her fine paleontologist’s brush made off down the beach on her own, passing by groups of discrete populations—couples from the hotels stretched out on bathtowels; women older than Dorothy on beach chairs of bright woven plastic, indifferent as stylites, their skin dark as scabs; men, the ancient retired, chilly in suits and ties; girls in thong bathing suits, their teenage admirers trailing behind them like packs of wild dogs; kids, overexcited, wild in the surf, their parents frantically waving their arms like coaches in Little League; waiters, kitchen help, and housekeepers on smoke breaks; small clans of picnickers handing off contraband sandwiches, contraband beer; lovers kneading lotions and sunblock into one another’s flesh like a sort of sexual first aid.

if you both only managed to live long enough your worst enemy could become one of your best friends.
… (mais)
novelcommentary | 4 outras críticas | Jul 26, 2023 |
Dick Gibson’s radio career takes him around the country and gives Stanley Elkin the opportunity to riff on the foibles and foolery of 20th-c. USA in a text that is virtuosic, wacky, and darkly poignant.

It did no good to change policy or fiddle with format. The world pressed in. It opened your windows. All one could hope for was to find his scapegoat, to wait for him, lurking in alleys, pressed flat against walls, crouched behind doors while the key jiggles in the lock, taking all the melodramatic postures of revenge. To be there in closets when the enemy comes for his hat, or to surprise him with guns in swivel chairs, your legs dapperly crossed when you turn to face him, to pin him down on hillsides or pounce on him from trees as he rides by, to meet him on the roofs of trains roaring on trestles, or leap at him while he stops at red lights, to struggle with him on the smooth faces of cliffs, national monuments, chasing him round Liberty’s torch, or up girders of bridges, or across the enormous features of stone presidents. To pitch him from ski lifts and roller coasters, to Normandy his ass and guerilla his soul. To be always in ambush at the turnings in tunnels, or wrestle him under the tides of the seas. Gestures, gestures, saving gestures, life-giving and meaningless and sweet as appetite, delivered by gestures and redeemed by symbols, by necessities of your own making and a destiny dreamed in a dream. To be free—yes, existential and generous.… (mais)
MusicalGlass | 1 outra crítica | Jan 4, 2023 |
I guess I don't need to read about another 1%er who helped make the united states the messed-up place it is today.
burritapal | 2 outras críticas | Oct 23, 2022 |
Stanley Elkin's [The Living End] fetches a mention in Stephen King's [Danse Macabre], a non-fiction treatise on the best, and worst, of horror from the 1950s through the 1980s. It appears in a chapter where Uncle Stevie names his best ten horror books, listed in a discussion about [Rosemary's Baby] and the ambient paranoia pervading the best horror stories. In Elkin's case, the paranoia is theological, or maybe transcendental, in nature - that God might not know exactly what he's doing at every moment in time, might actually get it wrong occasionally.

The book starts starts at a roaring pace, and humorously, with a modern-day Job narrative. Ellerbee, a man with a nagging jezebel of a wife, is killed in one of a string of organized armed robberies committed by a group intent on taking over businesses in the neighborhood. It's not the first time Ellerbee was targeted. But, in the afterlife, he finds himself at the pearly gates, peering over at a theme park scene, only to be scuttled to hell by a flippant, six-gun-toting St. Peter. In hell, he manages briefly to stop the suffering, only to realize the suffering is better than nothing at all. The narrative picks up with another of hell's residents, Ladlehaus, whom is accidentally sent into the very nothingness Ellerbee feared. Ladlehaus finds himself again a resident in his own corpse, decaying in a cemetery that was converted for the grounds of a high school. There, he torments Quiz, the groundskeeper, as a ghostly voice. Quiz, not fond of ghosts, enlists the students to playact a number of scenarios around the tomb in an effort to make Ladlehaus shut-up. But God takes Quiz before his time, in another of a comedy of error. As the mistakes unravel, in heaven and hell, God appears to proclaim that it isn't his fault if he grew bored of what his creation had made of itself - it's just not his fault.

Elkin is a keen writer, sharp-witted and irreverent. As other reviewers have noted, this book is full of blasphemy - so, be warned if that offends. But the creativity with which he handles religious dullardry is worth reading, and heeding. My principal quibble is that Elkin sets up such a fall with no landing ground. If not this, then what - where does one go from here when God has been disrobed. If there's nothing else, Elkins must be firmly in the nihilist camp. But it feels so much like there's another chapter somewhere with a redemption of sorts.

3 1/2 bones!!!!
… (mais)
2 vote
blackdogbooks | 4 outras críticas | Sep 1, 2022 |



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