Stanley Elkin

Stanley Elkin (1930-1995) was an award-winning novelist, storywriter, and essayist. He lived in St. Louis, MO.


  • Stanley Elkin is no ordinary genius of language, laughter, and the irresistible American idiom; he is an ingenious genius–an inimitable sword swallower, fire-eater, and three-ring circus of fecund wit and inexhaustible comic artistry.

    —Cynthia Ozick

  • Mr. Elkin’s world is a wonderland of language. No writer commands words more artfully than Mr. Elkin at his best. No one else bendsEnglish into such fantastic and fanciful shapes or wrests such comedy from such unlikely material.

    —The Wall Street Journal

  • Elkin is one of America’s great tragicomic geniuses.

    —Robert Coover

  • Brilliant . . .His sentences are long riffs of jazz; the words swarm and gather; the prose is exuberantly betroped, exhilaratingly de trop.

    —The New York Times

  • Not since James Joyce, perhaps, has there been a better serious funny writer than Stanley Elkin . . .a dazzling master of language.

    —Publishers Weekly

  • It’s raw energy that Elkin loves . . . He’s Ahab smashing through the mask with jokes. Grizzly reality is his straight man.

    —John Gardner

  • A divine exploiter of the idiocies and intricacies of our language.

    —John Irving

  • How does Stanley Elkin make magic, book after book?Well, sentence after sentence, word after word, is how. He is an irreplaceable treasure.

    —Geoffrey Wolff

  • Pushing the envelope has always been Stanley Elkin’s stock-in-trade . . . .If we didn’t have him to read, we’d need to invent him. But we couldn’t come close.

    —Richard Ford