Kenneth Elton Kesey was an American novelist and countercultural figure. He considered himself a link between the hippies of the 1960s. Kesey was born in La Junta and grew up in Springfield, 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. During this period, Kesey participated in government studies involving hallucinogenic drugs to supplement his income. Following the publication of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, he moved to nearby La Honda and began hosting happenings with former colleagues from Stanford, miscellaneous bohemian and literary figures, other friends collectively known as the Merry Pranksters, he mentored the Grateful Dead 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, 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, a collaborative novel written by Kesey and his graduate workshop students under the pseudonym of "O. U. Levon"—he continued to contribute fiction and reportage to such publications as Esquire, Rolling Stone, Oui and The Whole Earth Catalog. Between 1974 and 1980, Kesey published six issues of Spit in the Ocean, a literary magazine that featured excerpts from an unfinished novel and contributions from such luminaries as Margo St. James, Kate Millett, Stewart Brand, Saul-Paul Sirag, Jack Sarfatti, Paul Krassner, William S. Burroughs. After a third novel was released to lukewarm reviews in 1992, he reunited with the Merry Pranksters and began publishing works on the Internet until ill health curtailed his activities.
Kesey was born in Colorado, to dairy farmers Geneva and Frederick A. Kesey. In 1946, the family moved to Oregon. Kesey was a champion wrestler in high college in the 174-pound weight division, he qualified to be on the Olympic team, but a serious shoulder injury stopped his wrestling career. He graduated from Springfield High School in 1953. An avid reader and filmgoer, the young Kesey took John Wayne, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Zane Grey as his role models and toyed with magic and hypnotism. In 1956, while attending the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication in neighboring Eugene, Kesey eloped with his high-school sweetheart, Oregon State College student Norma "Faye" Haxby, whom he had met in seventh grade. According to Kesey, "Without Faye, I would have been swept overboard by notoriety and weird, dope-fueled ideas and flower-child girls with beamy eyes and bulbous breasts." Married until his death at the age of 66, they had three children: Jed and Shannon. Additionally, with the approval of Faye Kesey, Ken fathered a daughter, Sunshine Kesey, with fellow Merry Prankster Carolyn "Mountain Girl" Adams.
Born in 1966, Sunshine was raised by her stepfather, Jerry Garcia. Kesey had a football scholarship for his freshman year, but switched to the University of Oregon wrestling team as a better fit for his build. After posting a.885 winning percentage in the 1956–57 season, he received the Fred Low Scholarship for outstanding Northwest wrestler. In 1957, Kesey was second in his weight class at the Pacific Coast intercollegiate competition, he remains "ranked in the top 10 of Oregon Wrestling's all time winning percentage."A member of Beta Theta Pi throughout his studies, Kesey graduated from the University of Oregon with a B. A. in speech and communication in 1957. Disengaged by the playwriting and screenwriting courses that comprised much of his major, he began to take literature classes in the second half of his collegiate career with James B. Hall, a cosmopolitan alumnus of the Iowa Writers' Workshop who had taught at Cornell University and served as provost of College V at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Hall took on Kesey as his protege and cultivated his interest in literary fiction, introducing Kesey to the works of Ernest Hemingway and other paragons of literary modernism. After the last of several brief summer sojourns as a struggling actor in Los Angeles, he published his first short story in the Northwest Review and applied to the selective Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship for the 1958–59 academic year. Unbeknownst to Kesey, who applied at Hall's request, the maverick literary critic Leslie Fiedler (then
Caverns is a 1989 novel written collaboratively as an experiment by Ken Kesey and a creative writing class that he taught at the University of Oregon. The cover of the book says it was written by O. U. Levon—the name of this supposed author, spelled backwards, is "novel U. O.". The full list of authors is: Robert Blucher, Ben Bochner, James Finley, Jeff Forester, Bennett Huffman, Lynn Jeffress, Ken Kesey, Neil Lidstrom, H. Highwater Powers, Jane Sather, Charles Varani, Meredith Wadley, Lidia Yukman and Ken Zimmerman. Though still a counterculture icon, by the 1980s Kesey's writing output had slowed significantly. In 1988–89 he agreed to spend a year teaching a creative writing class at the University of Oregon. Kesey decided the best way to teach the course would be for the class of 13 graduate students to produce a novel when they assembled, twice a week, at Kesey's home. Lidia Yuknavitch known as Lidia Yukman, notes in her memoir The Chronology of Water that she was not a graduate student at the time.
Kesey laid forth two rules: first, the students could not discuss the plot of the novel with anyone outside of the class. The class soon developed a third rule: there could be no writing outside of class. All work was to be done collaboratively, to help prevent the novel from developing 13 different prose styles. Kesey described his role in the process as quarterback of a football team; the class completed the book, published in December 1989. According to Kesey's "Introduction," the novel was inspired by an actual news clipping, an Associated Press story on October 31, 1964 entitled "Charles Oswald Loach, Doctor of Theosophy and discoverer of so-called'SECRET CAVE OF AMERICAN ANCIENTS,' which stirred archaeological controversy in 1928." The rest of the novel appropriates Loach as its central character. Set in the 1930s, Loach is imagined as a convicted murderer, released from San Quentin Prison, in the custody of a priest, to lead an expedition to rediscover the cave; the novel—described by The New York Times as Indiana Jones meets The Canterbury Tales—features a motley crew of characters: Father Paul, an unbalanced priest.
The characters spend most of the novel together in a military vehicle making their way to Utah where Loach says the cave is located, getting caught in various comic misadventures along the way. The idea of the composite novel or collaborative fiction was not new. In 1872 Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote a book Six of One by Half a Dozen of the Other with five other authors about three mismatched couples searching for their proper mates. A dozen authors, including Henry James, William Dean Howells and Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman collaborated to write The Whole Family, with each author writing from the perspective of a different family member. Another famous composite novel was Naked Came the Stranger, a book written by 24 journalists to be deliberately incoherent but still prove that any novel with sex sells; the work of Kesey and his class departed from previous composite novels by having the thirteen class members and Kesey collaboratively write each sentence. Of the methodology, Alfred Bendixen wrote in The New York Times that "The book shows that a group of apprentice writers can collaborate and produce a readable tale in a short period of time.
But Caverns reminds us - sometimes painfully - that the novel requires an individual voice realized characters and a clear sense of time and place." Because of Kesey's attachment to the project, the book was reviewed in newspapers and magazines. Critics were intrigued by the book but critical of its shortcomings: noting in particular the lack of a coherent voice and a too-large cast of characters. Writing in The Los Angeles Times, Bob Sipchen noted, "Caverns is an amusing lark, full of weird characters and goofy plot twists, it was a sufficiently intriguing project to make The Mainstream Media swarm around Kesey again. But no one is calling Caverns literature." Weddle, David. "Ken Kesey's Eclectic Writing Acid Test". Rolling Stone
Rastafari, sometimes termed Rastafarianism, is an Abrahamic religion that developed in Jamaica during the 1930s. Scholars of religion and related fields have classified it as both a new religious movement and a social movement. There is no central authority in control of the movement and much diversity exists among practitioners, who are known as Rastafari, Rastafarians, or Rastas. Rastas refer to their beliefs, which are based on a specific interpretation of the Bible, as "Rastalogy". Central is a monotheistic belief in a single God—referred to as Jah—who resides within each individual. Haile Selassie, the Emperor of Ethiopia between 1930 and 1974, is given central importance. Many Rastas regard him as an incarnation of Jah on Earth and as the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, another figure whom practitioners revere. Other Rastas regard Haile Selassie not as Jah incarnate but as a human prophet who recognized the inner divinity in every individual. Rastafari is Afrocentric and focuses its attention on the African diaspora, which it believes is oppressed within Western society, or "Babylon".
Many Rastas call for the resettlement of the African diaspora in either Ethiopia or Africa more referring to this continent as the Promised Land of "Zion". Rastas refer to their practices as "livity". Communal meetings are known as "groundations", are typified by music, chanting and the smoking of cannabis, the latter being regarded as a sacrament with beneficial properties. Rastas place emphasis on what they regard as living "naturally", adhering to ital dietary requirements, twisting their hair into dreadlocks, following patriarchal gender roles. Rastafari originated among impoverished and disenfranchised Afro-Jamaican communities in 1930s Jamaica, its Afrocentric ideology was a reaction against Jamaica's then-dominant British colonial culture. It was influenced by both Ethiopianism and the Back-to-Africa movement promoted by black nationalist figures like Marcus Garvey; the movement developed after several Christian clergymen, most notably Leonard Howell, proclaimed that Haile Selassie's crowning as emperor in 1930 fulfilled a Biblical prophecy.
By the 1950s, Rastafari's counter-cultural stance had brought the movement into conflict with wider Jamaican society, including violent clashes with law enforcement. In the 1960s and 1970s it gained increased respectability within Jamaica and greater visibility abroad through the popularity of Rasta-inspired reggae musicians like Bob Marley. Enthusiasm for Rastafari declined in the 1980s, following the deaths of Haile Selassie and Marley, but the movement survived and has a presence in many parts of the world; the Rasta movement is decentralised and organised on a cellular basis. There are several denominations, or "Mansions of Rastafari", the most prominent of which are the Nyahbinghi, Bobo Ashanti, the Twelve Tribes of Israel, each offering a different interpretation of Rasta belief. There are an estimated 700,000 to 1 million Rastas across the world; the majority of practitioners are of black African descent, although a minority come from other ethnic groups. Scholars of religion have categorised Rastafari as a new religious movement, a new social movement, or as a social movement.
The scholar of religion Leonard E. Barrett referred to it as a sect, the sociologist Ernest Cashmore as a cult, while scholar of religion Ennis B. Edmonds argued. Although Rastafari focuses on Africa as a source of identity, the scholar of religion Maboula Soumahoro noted that it was not an "authentic" African religion but an example of creolization, a product of the unique social environment that existed in the Americas. Edmonds suggested that Rastafari was "emerging" as a world religion, not because of the number of adherents that it had, but because of its global spread. Many Rastas themselves, however, do not regard it as a religion, instead referring to it as a "way of life". In 1989, a British Industrial Tribunal concluded that—for the purposes of the Race Relations Act 1976—Rastafarians could be considered an ethnic group because they have a long, shared heritage which distinguished themselves from other groups, their own cultural traditions, a common language, a common religion; the term "Rastafari" derives from the pre-regnal title of Haile Selassie.
It is unknown why the early Rastas adopted this form of Haile Selassie's name as the basis of their religion's name. Many commentators—including some academic sources—refer to the movement as "Rastafarianism"; this term has been used by some practitioners. However, "Rastafarianism" is considered offensive by most Rastafari, being critical of "isms" or "ians", dislike being labelled as an "ism" or "ian" themselves. Cashmore urged fellow academics not to use this term, which he described as "insensitive". Rastafari is a heterogeneous movement, it is thus difficult to make broad generalisations about the movement without obscuring the complexities within it. Rastas refer to the totality of their religion's ideas and beliefs as "Rastalogy"; the scholar of religion Ennis B. Edmonds described Rastafari as having "a cohesive worldview"; because it has no systematic theology or developed institutions, the sociologist of religion Peter B. Clarke stated that it was "extremely difficult to generalise" about Rastas and their beliefs.
Based on his research in Ghana, the scholar of religion Darren J. N. Middleton sugge
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test is a nonfiction book by Tom Wolfe, published in 1968. The book is remembered today as an early – and arguably the most popular – example of the growing literary style called New Journalism. Wolfe presents an as-if-firsthand account of the experiences of Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters, who traveled across the country in a colorfully painted school bus, the destination of, always Furthur, as indicated on its sign, but exemplified by the general ethos of the Pranksters themselves. Kesey and the Pranksters became famous for their use of LSD and other psychedelic drugs in hopes of achieving intersubjectivity; the book chronicles the Acid Tests, the group's encounters with famous figures of the time, including famous authors, Hells Angels, The Grateful Dead, it describes Kesey's exile to Mexico and his arrests. Tom Wolfe chronicles his group of followers. Throughout the work, Kesey is portrayed as someone starting a new religion. Due to the allure of the transcendent states achievable through drugs and because of Kesey's ability to preach and captivate listeners, he begins to form a band of close followers.
They begin to participate in the drug-fueled lifestyle. Starting at Kesey's house in the woods of La Honda, the early predecessors of acid tests were performed; these tests or mass usage of LSD were performed with lights and noise, meant to enhance the psychedelic experience. The Pranksters leave the confines of Kesey's estate. Kesey buys a bus in which they plan to cross the country, it is driven by the legendary Neal Cassady, the person upon whom Dean Moriarty character in Jack Kerouac's On the Road was based. They name it Furthur, they traverse the nation. As the Pranksters grow in popularity, Kesey's reputation grows as well. By the middle of the book, Kesey is idolized as the hero of a growing counterculture, he starts friendships with groups like Hells Angels and their voyages lead them to cross paths with icons of the Beat Generation. Kesey's popularity grows to the point that permits the Pranksters to entertain other significant members of a growing counterculture; the Pranksters meet The Grateful Allen Ginsberg and attempt to meet with Timothy Leary.
The failed meeting with Leary leads to great disappointment. A meeting between Leary and Kesey would mark the meeting of West. Leary was on the East Coast, Kesey represented the West Coast. In an effort to broadcast their lifestyle, the Pranksters publicise their acid experiences and the term Acid Test comes to life; the Acid Tests are parties where everyone takes LSD and abandon the realities of the mundane world in search of a state of "intersubjectivity." Just as the Acid Tests are catching on, Kesey is arrested for possession of marijuana. In an effort to avoid jail, he is joined by the Pranksters; the Pranksters are unable to obtain the same results from their acid trips. Kesey and some of the Pranksters return to the United States. At this point, Kesey becomes a full blown pop culture icon as he appears on TV and radio shows as he is wanted by the FBI, he is located and arrested. Kesey is conditionally released as he convinces the judge that the next step of his movement is an "Acid Test Graduation", an event in which the Pranksters and other followers will attempt to achieve intersubjectivity without the use of mind-altering drugs.
The graduation was not effective enough to clear the charges from Kesey's name. He is given two sentences for two separate offenses, he is designated to a work camp to fulfill his sentence. He begins serving his time in the forests of California; the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test is remembered as an accurate and "essential" book depicting the roots and growth of the hippie movement. The use of New Journalism yielded amazement or disagreement. While The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test was not the original standard for New Journalism, it is the work most cited as an example for the revolutionary style. Wolfe's descriptions and accounts of Kesey's travel managed to captivate readers and permitted them to read the book as a fiction piece rather than a news story; those who saw the book as a literary work worthy of praise were amazed by the way Wolfe maintains control. Despite being engulfed in the movement and aligned with the Prankster's philosophy, Wolfe manages to distinguish between the realities of the Pranksters and Kesey's experiences and the experiences triggered by their paranoia and acid trips.
Wolfe is in some key ways different from the Pranksters, because despite his appreciation for the spiritual experiences offered by the psychedelic, he accepts the importance of the physical world. The Pranksters see their trips as a breach of their physical realities. Throughout the book Wolfe focuses on placing the Pranksters and Kesey within the context of their environment. Where the Pranksters see ideas, Wolfe sees Real-World objects. While some saw New Journalism as the future of literature, the concept was not without critics and criticism. There were many who challenged the believability of the style and there were many questions and criticisms about whether accounts were true. Wolfe however challenged such claims and notes that in books like The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, he was nearly invisible throughout the narrative, he argues. As proponents of fiction and orthodox nonfiction
Kesey's Garage Sale
Kesey's Garage Sale is a collection of essays written by Ken Kesey. The book features the play "Over the Border", based on the time Kesey spent hiding in Mexico from drug charges in the United States, it is illustrated by the cartoonist and Merry Prankster Paul Foster
Last Go Round
Last Go Round is a novel written by Ken Kesey and Ken Babbs. It was Kesey's last novel and is about the famous "Last Go Round" that took place at the original Pendleton Round-Up in 1911; the book contains references to real historical figures, was published with photographs from the early days of the Pendleton rodeo. However, the story is written with characters and feats that are larger than life. Henderson, David W. From Library Journal
Sometimes a Great Notion (film)
Sometimes a Great Notion is a 1971 American drama film directed by Paul Newman and starring Newman, Henry Fonda, Michael Sarrazin, Lee Remick. The cast includes Richard Jaeckel in an Academy Award-nominated performance; the screenplay by John Gay is based on the 1964 novel of the same name by Ken Kesey, the first of his books to be adapted for the screen. Filmed in western Oregon during the summer of 1970, it was released over a year in December 1971; the economic stability of fictional Wakonda, Oregon, is threatened when the local logging union calls a strike against a large lumber conglomerate. When independent logger Hank Stamper and his father Henry are urged to support the strikers, they refuse, the townspeople consider them traitors. All of the Stampers live in one compound, including Henry's good-natured nephew Joe Ben. Hank struggles to keep the small family business alive and widens the rift between himself and his complacent wife Viv, who wants him to put an end to the territorial struggle but is resigned to his doing things as he sees fit.
Complicating matters is Leland Stamper, Henry's youngest son and Hank's half-brother, who returns home with a college education and experience in urban living. A heavy drinker, Lee reveals he attempted suicide after his mother killed herself and has been suffering from deep depression since, he urges the neglected Viv to leave. Despite the fact that he is uncomfortable living with a family he knows, Lee joins forces with them when they are forced to battle both the locals, who have burned their equipment, the elements, which threaten their efforts to transport their logs downriver. After aiding their adversaries when their lives are in peril, the Stampers have two calamities at once, a falling tree that severs Henry's arm, a trunk that crushes Joe Ben in shallow water. Lee takes his father to the hospital, while Joe Ben laughs at his predicament until the tree trunk rolls atop him, pinning him down. Hank's desperate attempt to save Joe Ben fails. At the hospital, Henry dies after expressing his approval of Lee, while Hank returns home to find Viv has left him.
Lining up by the riverbank, the Stampers' rivals look forward to seeing them fail to deliver their logs, but Hank and Lee team up to transport them. Henry's severed arm is attached to the boat. Paul Newman as Hank Stamper Henry Fonda as Henry Stamper Lee Remick as Viv Stamper Michael Sarrazin as Leland Stamper Richard Jaeckel as Joe Ben Stamper Linda Lawson as Jan Stamper Cliff Potts as Andy Stamper Roy Jenson as Howie Elwood Joe Maross as Floyd Evenwrite Although both Sam Peckinpah and Budd Boetticher had expressed interest in bringing Ken Kesey's novel to the screen, Richard A. Colla was signed to direct the film in May 1970. Five weeks after principal photography began, Colla left the project due to "artistic differences over photographic concept," as well as a required throat operation. At the same time, leading man Paul Newman broke his ankle, the production shut down on July 29; as co-executive producer, Newman considered replacing Colla with George Roy Hill, who declined the offer, so when filming resumed two weeks Newman was directing as well as acting.
The fictional community of Wakonda was filmed in various locations in Lincoln County along the Oregon Coast. These included Kernville and other locations along the Siletz River, as well as Yaquina Bay, the Yaquina River, the city of Newport, where several scenes were filmed in Mo's Shanty Fish House; the film's theme song, "All His Children", with lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman and music by Henry Mancini, is performed by Charley Pride. The film was the first program to be broadcast by HBO, airing less than two years after its initial theatrical release; when it was aired on commercial television in 1977, it was retitled Never Give A Inch, a reference to the Stamper family philosophy. Vincent Canby of The New York Times called it "an interesting, if impure example of a genre of action film that flourished in the 1930s in movies about tuna fishermen, bush pilots, high-wire repairmen and just about any physical pursuit you can think of... As in Howard Hawks's Only Angels Have Wings, these films are, at their best less simple-minded than they sound—being expressions of lives lived entirely in terms of rugged individualistic professionalism...
Mr. Newman... has been remarkably successful both in creating vivid, quite complicated characters and in communicating the sense of beautiful idiocy, the strength of the two older Stampers. As he showed in Rachel, Rachel, Mr. Newman knows how to direct actors... handling of the logging and action sequences... is surprisingly effective, not because of any contemporary fanciness but because of what looks like a straight-forward confidence in the subject. My only real objection to the film, I think, is a certain impatience with the screenplay, which lumberingly sets up a physical and emotional crisis that can must erupt before this kind of movie can be said to have decently met its obligations." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times rated the film three out of four stars and described Newman as "a director of sympathy and a sort of lyrical restraint. He pushes scenes to their obvious conclusions, he avoids melodrama, by the end of Sometimes a Great Notion, we somehow come to know the Stamper family better than we expected to."
Richard Jaeckel was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor but lost to Ben Johnson for The Last Picture Show. Alan and Marilyn Bergman and Henry Mancini were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Al