Stanley Elkin, 1930–95, American writer, b. New York City. An offbeat fiction writer, Elkin had a gift for black comedy, fantastic imagery, bizarre situations, and a kind of lyrical bleakness, all expressed in ornately wrought language. He was essentially a moralist, and his works reveal a deep underlying seriousness. His novels include Boswell: A Modern Comedy (1964), The Franchiser (1976), George Mills (1982), The Magic Kingdom (1985), and Mrs. Ted Bliss (1995). His short stories, notably Criers and Kibitzers, Kibitzers and Criers (1966), and novellas, such as Searches and Seizures (1973), won critical acclaim. Also an essayist (e.g., the 1992 collection Pieces of Soup), Elkin taught writing (1960–95) at Washington Univ. in St. Louis.