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Other titles in the Modern Library 20th Century Rediscovery series:
A Garden of Earthly Delightsby Joyce Carol Oates
Synopses & Reviews
Joyce Carol Oatess Wonderland Quartet comprises four remarkable novels that explore social class in America and the inner lives of young Americans. In A Garden of Earthly Delights, Oates presents one of her most memorable heroines, Clara Walpole, the beautiful daughter of Kentucky-born migrant farmworkers. Desperate to rise above her haphazard existence of violence and poverty, determined not to repeat her mothers life, Clara struggles for independence by way of her relationships with four very different men: her father, a family man turned itinerant laborer, smoldering with resentment; the mysterious Lowry, who rescues Clara as a teenager and offers her the possibility of love; Revere, a wealthy landowner who provides Clara with stability; and Swan, Claras son, who bears the psychological and spiritual burden of his mothers ambition.
A masterly work from a writer with “the uncanny ability to give us a cinemascopic vision of her America” (National Review), A Garden of Earthly Delights is the opening stanza in what would become one of the most powerful and engrossing story arcs in literature.
A Garden of Earthly Delights is the first novel in the Wonderland Quartet. The books that complete this acclaimed series, Expensive People, them, and Wonderland, are also available from the Modern Library.
"The new version condenses the passages that were most overwritten, and her characters' voices are...more colorful. Oates also improves the pacing....[But] parts of this [revision] swoon into...the structurally perfect yet self-absorbed style of graduate workshop writing....If you can push through the cement-thick voice of the first 100 pages, you will find that she tells a gem of a tale." Sarah Cypher, The Oregonian (Portland, OR)
"If the phrase 'woman of letters' existed, she would be, foremost in this country, entitled to it." John Updike
For this new edition, Oates has rewritten and revised three-fourths of her novel. In her Afterword she writes about revisiting a novel originally penned at the age of 26.
About the Author
Joyce Carol Oates is the Roger S. Berlind Professor in the Humanities at Princeton University. She is the author of numerous works of fiction and poetry, as well as books of essays, criticism, and plays. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.
The Modern Library 20th Century Rediscoveries is a new series — six books a year, one every other month — of rediscovered novels from the last century, restored to print in handsome trade paper editions ideal for "New in Paperback" tables and reading groups.
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