Press Release: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Introduced by John Sutherland
Illustrated by David Hughes
‘A roar of protest against middlebrow society’s Rules and the Rulers who enforce them’
You never can tell when just that certain one might come in who’s free enough to foul things up right and left, really make a hell of a mess and constitute a threat to the whole smoothness of the outfit.
Chief Bromden is a downtrodden inmate in a mental institution run by the doll-faced Nurse Ratched and her team of aides. Then a new Admission appears: Randle Patrick McMurphy, transferred from a prison ward. A ‘hassler’ and a dangerous free thinker, McMurphy soon challenges the status quo, and a fight for supremacy begins.
In a brilliant introduction for this new illustrated edition from The Folio Society, John Sutherland shows how Kesey, like his fellow traveller Jack Kerouac, ‘picked up what was in the air’ of 1960s America, and made it into art. David Hughes’s illustrations echo Kesey’s anarchic energy. The lettering on the binding was handwritten by the artist bright yellow endpapers and head- and tailbands provide the finishing touches.
Ken Kesey had himself experienced the dark side of America’s psychiatric institutions. While working as a night aide in a mental hospital, he witnessed controversial treatments such as electroshock therapy and lobotomy. He also took LSD as part of a trial run by the CIA, and described the experience as an ‘eye-opener’, saying that he could truly ‘see into people’ for the first time. Kesey wrote parts of this novel while under the influence of mescaline, which partly accounts for its wild narrative panache. Above all it is a harrowing and challenging examination of our notions of freedom, sanity and social control.
Bound in buckram, blocked with hand lettering by David Hughes. Set in Haarlemmer. 328 pages. 7 colour illustrations and 7 black & white integrated illustrations. 9˝ × 6¼˝.
UK £34.95 US $59.95 Can $74.95 Aus $76.95
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