Ken Kesey (1935-2001)

A selective list of online literary criticism for American writer Ken Kesey, favoring signed articles by recognized scholars, articles published in reviewed sources, and web sites that adhere to the MLA guidelines for web pages

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literary criticism

Barsness, John A. "Ken Kesey: The Hero in Modern Dress." On Randle McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Hank Stamper in Sometimes a Great Notion as American-west style heroes, inhabitants of "the pastoral dream in which civilization is a dirty word and Jeffersonian democracy is both the shape of the golden past and the definition of the utopian ideal." The Bulletin of the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association 23, 1 (March 1969) pp 27-33 [first page, blurred, jstor].

Boardman, Michael M. "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: Rhetoric and Vision." Boardman considers One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest as a modern tragic tale. The Journal of Narrative Technique 9, 3 (Fall 1979) pp 171-183 [first page, blurred, jstor].

Hicks, Jack. In the Singer's Temple: Prose Fictions of Barthelme, Gaines, Brautigan, Piercy, Kesey, and Kosinski (U of North Carolina P 1981). In this 1981 study, Hicks contends that the most important novels in the second half of the twentieth century were by Donald Barthelme, Ernest J. Gaines, Richard Brautigan, Marge Piercy, Ken Kesey, and Jerzy Kosinski [entire book at Questia subscription service].

Huffman, James R. "The Cuckoo Clocks in Kesey's Nest." Huffman examines Kesey's art, symbolic figures and images in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, noting that "not only race and sex, but virtually every element in the novel should be taken metaphorically." Modern Language Studies 7, 1 (Spring 1977) pp 62-73 [first page only].

Safer, Elaine B. The Contemporary American Comic Epic: The Novels of Barth, Pynchon, Gaddis, and Kesey (Wayne State UP 1988). On four American authors who promote an absurdist view of our profane and chaotic world. This book appears to be out-of-print.

Waldmeir, Joseph J. "Two Novelists of the Absurd: Heller and Kesey." According to Waldmeir, only two serious American novelists since the Second World War have made a conscious effort to move the novel into absurdist territory: Joseph Heller in Catch-22 and Ken Kesey in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Wisconsin Studies in Contemporary Literature 5, 3 (Autumn 1964) pp 192-204 [first page, blurred, jstor].

Ware, Elaine. "The Vanishing American: Identity Crisis in Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." Prof. Ware contends that the Indian character in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Chief Bromden, experiences a psychosis that results, in part, from growing up in a native American culture "in its final stages of sociocultural disintegration." MELUS 13, 3/4 (Winter 1986) pp 95-101 [first page, jstor].

"Ken Kesey Bibliography." An extensive list of Kesey's novels, stories, articles, and other writings, television appearances, films of his work, literary criticism about Kesey, and even the dates and places of his acid tests. By Martin Blank. Literary Kicks.

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