John Barth: The Sot-Weed Factor



John Barth: The Sot-Weed Factor

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Considered by critics to be Barth’s most distinguished masterpiece, The Sot-Weed Factor has acquired the status of a modern classic. Set in the late 1600s, it recounts the wildly chaotic odyssey of hapless, ungainly Ebenezer Cooke, sent to the New World to look after his father’s tobacco business and to record the struggles of the Maryland colony in an epic poem.

On his mission, Cooke experiences capture by pirates and Indians; the loss of his father’s estate to roguish impostors; love for a farmer prostitute; stealthy efforts to rob him of his virginity, which he is (almost) determined to protect; and an extraordinary gallery of treacherous characters who continually switch identities. A hilarious, bawdy tribute to all the most insidious human vices, The Sot-Weed Factor has a lasting relevance for readers of all times.

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