One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

(Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

Author Ken Kesey
Illustrated by Joe Sacco
Foreword by Chuck Palahniuk
Introduction by Robert Faggen
Look inside
A Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition of a counterculture classic, and the inspiration for the new Netflix original series Ratched, with a foreword by Chuck Palahniuk

Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel has left an indelible mark on the literature of our time. Now in a new deluxe edition with a foreword by Chuck Palahniuk and cover by Joe Sacco, here is the unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially the tyrannical Big Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her. We see the struggle through the eyes of Chief Bromden, the seemingly mute half-Indian patient who witnesses and understands McMurphy’s heroic attempt to do battle with the powers that keep them all imprisoned.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
© Brian Lanker
Ken Kesey was born in 1935 and grew up in Oregon. He graduated from the University of Oregon and later studied at Stanford with Wallace Stegner, Malcolm Cowley, Richard Scowcroft, and Frank O'Connor. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, his first novel, was published in 1962. His other books include Sometimes a Great NotionDemon Box, and Sailor Song. Kesey's two children's books are Little Tricker the Squirrel Meets Big Double the Bear and The Sea Lion. He died on November 10, 2001. View titles by Ken Kesey
© Don J. Usner
Sketches by Ken Kesey   vii
Introduction by Robert Faggen   ix

Part One   1
Part Two  127
Part Three  173
Part Four   223
Sketches

Psychedelic sixties. God knows whatever that means it certainly meant far more than drugs, though drugs still work as a pretty good handle to the phenomena.

I grabbed at that handle. Legally, too, I might add. Almost patriotically, in fact. Early psychedelic sixties...

Eight o'clock every Tuesday morning I showed up at the vet's hospital in Menlo Park, ready to roll. The doctor deposited me in a little room on his ward, dealt me a couple of pills or a shot or a little glass of bitter juice, then locked the door. He checked back every forty minutes to see if I was still alive, took some tests, asked some questions, left again. The rest of the time I spent studying the inside of my forehead, or looking out the little window in the door. It was six inches wide and eight inches high, and it had heavy chicken wire inside the glass.

You get your visions through whatever gate you're granted.

Patients straggled by in the hall outside, their faces all ghastly confessions. Sometimes I looked at them and sometimes they looked at me. but rarely did we look at one another. It was too naked and painful. More was revealed in a human face than a human being can bear, face-to-face.

Sometimes the nurse came by and checked on me. Her face was different. It was painful business, but not naked. This was not a person you could allow yourself to be naked in front of.

Six months or so later I had finished the drug experiments and applied for a job. I was taken on as a nurse's aide, in the same ward, with the same doctor, under the same nurse—and you must understand we're talking about a huge hospital here! It was weird.

But, as I said, it was the sixties.

Those faces were still there, still painfully naked. To ward them off my case I very prudently took to carrying around a little notebook, to scribble notes. I got a lot of compliments from nurses: "Good for you, Mr. Kesey. That's the spirit. Get to know these men."

I also scribbled faces. No, that's not correct. As I prowl through this stack of sketches I can see that these faces bored their way behind my forehead and scribbled themselves. I just held the pen and waited for the magic to happen.

This was, after all, the sixties.

Ken Kesey

"A work of genuine literary merit . . . What Mr. Kesey has done in his unusual novel is to transform the plight of a ward of inmates in a mental hospital into a glittering parable of good and evil."
--The New York Times Book Review

"[A] brilliant first novel . . . a strong, warm story about the nature of human good and evil . . . Keysey has made his book a roar of protest against middlebrow society's Rules and the invisible Rulers who enforce them."
--Time

"The final triumph of these men at the cost of a terrifying sacrifice should send chills down any reader's back. . . . This novel's scenes have the liveliness of a motion picture."
--The Washington Post

"An outstanding book . . . [Kesey's] characters are original and real. . . . This is a tirade against the increasing controls over man and his mind, yet the author never gets on a soap box. Nor does he forget that there is a thin line between tragedy and comedy."
--Houston Chronicle 

About

A Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition of a counterculture classic, and the inspiration for the new Netflix original series Ratched, with a foreword by Chuck Palahniuk

Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel has left an indelible mark on the literature of our time. Now in a new deluxe edition with a foreword by Chuck Palahniuk and cover by Joe Sacco, here is the unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially the tyrannical Big Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her. We see the struggle through the eyes of Chief Bromden, the seemingly mute half-Indian patient who witnesses and understands McMurphy’s heroic attempt to do battle with the powers that keep them all imprisoned.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Author

© Brian Lanker
Ken Kesey was born in 1935 and grew up in Oregon. He graduated from the University of Oregon and later studied at Stanford with Wallace Stegner, Malcolm Cowley, Richard Scowcroft, and Frank O'Connor. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, his first novel, was published in 1962. His other books include Sometimes a Great NotionDemon Box, and Sailor Song. Kesey's two children's books are Little Tricker the Squirrel Meets Big Double the Bear and The Sea Lion. He died on November 10, 2001. View titles by Ken Kesey
© Don J. Usner

Table of Contents

Sketches by Ken Kesey   vii
Introduction by Robert Faggen   ix

Part One   1
Part Two  127
Part Three  173
Part Four   223

Excerpt

Sketches

Psychedelic sixties. God knows whatever that means it certainly meant far more than drugs, though drugs still work as a pretty good handle to the phenomena.

I grabbed at that handle. Legally, too, I might add. Almost patriotically, in fact. Early psychedelic sixties...

Eight o'clock every Tuesday morning I showed up at the vet's hospital in Menlo Park, ready to roll. The doctor deposited me in a little room on his ward, dealt me a couple of pills or a shot or a little glass of bitter juice, then locked the door. He checked back every forty minutes to see if I was still alive, took some tests, asked some questions, left again. The rest of the time I spent studying the inside of my forehead, or looking out the little window in the door. It was six inches wide and eight inches high, and it had heavy chicken wire inside the glass.

You get your visions through whatever gate you're granted.

Patients straggled by in the hall outside, their faces all ghastly confessions. Sometimes I looked at them and sometimes they looked at me. but rarely did we look at one another. It was too naked and painful. More was revealed in a human face than a human being can bear, face-to-face.

Sometimes the nurse came by and checked on me. Her face was different. It was painful business, but not naked. This was not a person you could allow yourself to be naked in front of.

Six months or so later I had finished the drug experiments and applied for a job. I was taken on as a nurse's aide, in the same ward, with the same doctor, under the same nurse—and you must understand we're talking about a huge hospital here! It was weird.

But, as I said, it was the sixties.

Those faces were still there, still painfully naked. To ward them off my case I very prudently took to carrying around a little notebook, to scribble notes. I got a lot of compliments from nurses: "Good for you, Mr. Kesey. That's the spirit. Get to know these men."

I also scribbled faces. No, that's not correct. As I prowl through this stack of sketches I can see that these faces bored their way behind my forehead and scribbled themselves. I just held the pen and waited for the magic to happen.

This was, after all, the sixties.

Ken Kesey

Praise

"A work of genuine literary merit . . . What Mr. Kesey has done in his unusual novel is to transform the plight of a ward of inmates in a mental hospital into a glittering parable of good and evil."
--The New York Times Book Review

"[A] brilliant first novel . . . a strong, warm story about the nature of human good and evil . . . Keysey has made his book a roar of protest against middlebrow society's Rules and the invisible Rulers who enforce them."
--Time

"The final triumph of these men at the cost of a terrifying sacrifice should send chills down any reader's back. . . . This novel's scenes have the liveliness of a motion picture."
--The Washington Post

"An outstanding book . . . [Kesey's] characters are original and real. . . . This is a tirade against the increasing controls over man and his mind, yet the author never gets on a soap box. Nor does he forget that there is a thin line between tragedy and comedy."
--Houston Chronicle 

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