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Paperback The Sot-Weed Factor Book

ISBN: 0385240880

ISBN13: 9780385240888

The Sot-Weed Factor

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

This is Barth's most distinguished masterpiece.??This modern classic is a hilarious tribute to all the most insidious human vices, with a hero who is "one of the most diverting...to roam the world since Candide" ( Time ).

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

A Masterpeice of Satire!

Perhaps most impressive of all of John Barth's picaresque classic is the fact that it succeeds on many levels. It is quite difficult to imagine anyone taking this novel completely seriously, however it can be read as an epic. Most likely it will be enjoyed as a brilliant satire providing most readers with innumerable passages that will have them laughing out loud. However one senses many philosophical statements and themes communicated through the characters' preposterous actions and attitudes. It was the characters, in fact, that impressed me the most about "The Sot-Weed Factor," while appearing at times ridiculous to the point of being hilarious, most readers will likely find a little bit of themselves in characters like Ebenezer Cooke, Henry Burlingame, etc. My favorite character was Ebenezer's servant whose name eludes me at this time. Barth has coined himself a "smiling nihilist" and this book is a fine example of this sentiment, though most readers will likely spend less time smiling and more time doubled over in laughter. A must-read!

Hilarious, picaresque, bawdy tale

This true American masterpiece is written like a 17th century literary novel. The style could well be Fielding, except that Barth is even more hilarious.At a time when minimalist novelists seem to be in vogue, I revelled in the intelligent richness of the elaborate quixotic tale woven by Barth. When a novelist can write as well as peers like Saul Bellow or V.S. Naipaul, then a maximalist style like Barth's is to be savoured. Poor chaste poet laureate, Ebenezer Cooke, encounters harsh reality at every turn, including capture by pirates and Indians. His dreams drive him to ridiculous ends where his ambitions are constantly confounded by greater existential powers. "The road to Heaven's beset with thistles, and methinks there's many a cowpat on't." The dialogue is delicious and well-constructed with an authenticity and wit and bawdy truth. You have to marvel at the construction of such credible characters as Joan Toast, Bertrand, Boabdil, Andrew, Pocahontas and the pirate captain. Barth's dialogue on various letters of the alphabet, the trading of ancient insults and the scene where Ebenezer fears drowning in Chesapeake Bay were uproariously funny. Barth obviously knows the Eastern Shore near the Choptank River intimately: it's a lovely setting for his novel. For any true lover of great American literary novels, The Sotweed Factor should be on your must-read list.

erudite historical farce- outrageously hilarious

based on real life individual ebenezer cooke from the seventeenth century, barth fabricates a stunningly rich, complex world for that character which is brilliantly funny, historically rigorous and contains some of the best writing of the century. passage after passage is filled with deeply authentic atmosphere and dialogue that is so true to an earthy kind of slang of the times that is leaves novel phrases ringing in your head for weeks. it can be read (at least) on a couple of levels, the simplest being a recounting of colonial maryland through the experiences and eyes (and interactions with many, many other characters) of cooke. at a deeper level it could be read as a philosophical confrontation of an individual life with the world at large. one of the most influential works of fiction i've ever read.

An indisputable comic masterpiece

I have an official list of "The Three Funniest Novels That I Have Ever Read." The three books are, in no particular order, Stanislaw Lem's THE FUTUROLOGICAL CONGRESS, Joseph Heller's CATCH-22, and John Barth's THE SOTWEED FACTOR. There were times in the latter, especially near the end, where I had to pause repeatedly in my reading to laugh out loud.But this book has much more to offer than just humor. Barth, who in his novels clearly reveals himself to be a student of the genre, strives to write an 18th century novel in the 20th century, and succeeds magnificently. I believe that this novel couldn't help but delight any serious reader whose possesses even the slightest sense of humor.
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