Jane Smiley's 1991 Pullitzer prize-winning novel has been described as "King Lear in a cornfield". This page presents a few companion links for the novel and the Shakespeare story, and charts comparing the characters and events in the two stories.


Parallels between characters in
King Lear
___ ___ and
A Thousand Acres

Dramatis Personae in
King Lear

Character counterparts in
A Thousand Acres

King Lear= King of Britain

Larry Cook= patriarch of an Iowa farming family

Goneril=Lear's eldest daughter

Ginny Cook Smith=Larry's eldest daughter

Regan=Lear's second daughter

Rose Cook Lewis=Larry's second daughter

Cordelia=Lear's youngest daughter

Caroline Cook=Larry's youngest daughter

Duke of Albany=Goneril's husband

Ty Smith=Ginny's husband

Duke of Cornwall=Regan's husband

Pete Lewis=Rose's husband

Earl of Gloucester=King Lear's friend

Harold Clark=Larry's friend and neighbor

Edgar=legitimate son of Gloucester

Loren Clark=Harold's younger son
who has stayed and worked on the family farm

Edmund=illegitimate son of Gloucester

Jess Clark=Harold's elder son
who has been away from the family for many years

If you have any questions, comments,
or corrections for this page, send