A Garden of Earthly Delights

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A Garden of Earthly Delights
First edition
Author Joyce Carol Oates
Country United States
Language English
Series The Wonderland Quartet
Genre Naturalist novel
Published 1967 (Vanguard Press)
Media type Print (hardback & paperback)
Pages 440 pp
Followed by Expensive People

A Garden of Earthly Delights is a novel by Joyce Carol Oates, published by Vanguard in 1967. It was her second book published and it inaugurated the so-called Wonderland Quartet (1967 to 1971). It was a finalist for the annual U.S. National Book Award for Fiction.[1]

A Garden sets out to explore social class in America and the inner lives of its youngsters. It follows heroine Clara Walpole, a very beautiful daughter of a Kentucky-born farmer. The novel brings to life Clara's ill-fated life and the four men who shaped it: Clara’s father, an utterly bitter hard-working migrant farm worker; Lowry, who whisks the teenage Clara away and tempts her with love; Revere, a wealthy married business man who gives Clara stability; and Swan, Clara’s son who carries the physiological burden of Clara’s determination to escape her haphazard existence of violence and poverty. In an attempt to rise above her mother's ambitions, Clara struggles for independence by way of her relationships with the four different men in her life.

For a recent Modern Library edition of the novel, Oates revised three-quarters of the original published version of the novel.[2]


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