Ken Kesey

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Ken Kesey (1935–2001) was an American writer best known for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.[1]

Life and Works

Kesey was born September 17, 1935.[2] He came from a Baptist family that moved frequently and enjoyed fishing, hunting, boxing, hypotism, and ventriloquism as a child.[3]

He enrolled in Stanford University's creative writing class and began writing a novel about the growing Beat scene in California.[4] According to Tom Wolfe's The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Kesey got the idea for the Chief Bromden character while under the influence of LSD. Kesey also worked in a mental hospital and secretly underwent electric shock treatment in order to better understand the characters of what he released in 1962 as One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.[5] After his success, he drove his family and others around the country in a bus to experiment with LSD, a group that became called the Merry Pranksters and led to the birth of several unloved children.[6] He continued to write about his "psychedelic" lifestyle in Kesey's Garage Sale (1973), Demon Box (1986), and The Further Inquiry (1990), and got the voyage made into a movie, Magic Trip.[7]

His "Merry Prankster" life made him the irresponsible father of four children by two single woman, after which he spent time and jail, got a liver tumor and died of surgical complications on November 10, 2001.[8]

See also