- Kenneth Elton "Ken" Kesey was an American novelist, essayist, and countercultural figure
|Born:||17 September 1935 Comment |
|When did Ken Kesey die? / Died||10 November 2001|
|How many years did Ken Kesey live? / Lived||66 years|
Ken Kesey facts
- He considered himself a link between the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the hippies of the 1960s
- Kesey was born in La Junta, Colorado and grew up in Springfield, Oregon, graduating from the University of Oregon in 1957
- He began writing One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in 1960 following the completion of a graduate fellowship in creative writing at Stanford University; the novel was an immediate commercial and critical success when published two years later
- Subsequently, he moved to nearby La Honda, California and began hosting happenings with former colleagues from Stanford, miscellaneous bohemian & literary figures (most notably Neal Cassady), and other friends under the imprimateur of the Merry Pranksters; these parties, known as Acid Tests, integrated the consumption of LSD with multimedia performances
- He mentored the Grateful Dead (the de facto "house band" of the Acid Tests) throughout their incipience and continued to exert a profound influence upon the group throughout their long career
- Sometimes a Great Notion—an epic account of the vicissitudes of an Oregon logging family that aspired to the modernist grandeur of William Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha saga—was a commercial success that polarized critics and readers upon its release in 1964, although Kesey regarded the novel as his magnum opus
- In 1965, following an arrest for marijuana possession and subsequent faked suicide, Kesey was imprisoned for five months
- Shortly thereafter, he returned home to the Willamette Valley and settled in Pleasant Hill, Oregon, where he maintained a secluded, family-oriented lifestyle for the rest of his life
- In addition to teaching at the University of Oregon—an experience that culminated in Caverns (1989), a collaborative novel written by Kesey and his graduate workshop students under the pseudonym of "O
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