From the Back Cover
In this boisterous satire on the historical novel, the hapless, naive Ebeneezer Cooke is sent from England to the New World to look after his father's tobacco business. But instead of the cultivated Eden he has been led to expect, he finds the Maryland plantation to be a barbarous and pestilential place where the Indians stink of bear grease, the colonials are drunkards and the women are sluttish. With a dazzling display of invention and unfailing wit, John Barth takes us on a wildly chaotic journey of innocence and experience through an eighteenth century that never was.
“One thing about Mr Barth's gargantuan novel can be cleared up right away. A sot-weed factor is, in eighteenth-century America, the manager of a tobacco plantation. The reader is advised to cling to this solid fact, because nothing else in Mr Barth's monstrous tome is what it appears to be, not only on the surface but also several layers below. A most magnificent, tongue-in-cheek, totally scandalous romp, reeking with vice, blasphemy and every kind of scurrility known to man.”
“'The Sot-Weed Factor' is that rare literary creation – a genuine serious comedy. Ebeneezer Cooke, in this boisterous historical farce, emerges as one of the most diverting heroes to roam the world since Candide.”
“Brilliant… as it were, a lost novel by Defoe or Smollett which recreates with a remarkable air of verisimilitude a whole lost world. Exceedingly enjoyable.”
“A mightily-hewn boulder of a novel among the smoother pebbles of contemporary fiction. A tour de force.”
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
About the Author
John Barth stands alongside Thomas Pynchon as one of the innovative giants of post-war fiction. He is the author of The Sot-Weed Factor, The Tidewater Tales, Lost in the Funhouse, The Last Voyage of Somebody the Sailor and the National Book Award winner Chimera. He taught for many years on the writing programme at John Hopkins University.