Life and Works
He enrolled in Stanford University's creative writing class and began writing a novel about the growing Beat scene in California. 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. 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. 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.
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.
- The New York Public Library Student's Desk Reference. Prentice Hall: New York, 1991.
- "Kesey, Ken." Encyclopedia Britannica Online.