Elaine B. Safer (essay date 1988)
SOURCE: Safer, Elaine B. “The Absurd Quest and Black Humor in Ken Kesey's Sometimes a Great Notion.” In The Contemporary American Comic Epic: The Novels of Barth, Pynchon, Gaddis, and Kesey, pp. 138-55. Detroit, Mich: Wayne State University Press, 1988.
[In the following essay, Safer characterizes Kesey's Sometimes a Great Notion as a work of epic vision and scope that derives its most poignant power from elements of black humor.]
Sometimes a Great Notion—more so than the novels of John Barth, Thomas Pynchon, and William Gaddis—focuses on traditional heroic subjects: the conflict between two brothers, the Oedipal bind, and the reaction to...
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