- The Sot-Weed Factor by John Barth
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- The Sot-Weed Factor.
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You take its language and imagery and blow it up until it is a flagrant fiction incredible even to the dull-witted. This fantasy Maryland becomes disassociated with people's conceptions of the actual place. Shields goes on to draw an analogy with caricatures of the modern-day South seen on Hee-Haw and The Dukes of Hazzard I also think that temporarily leaping out of historical context can help students to better understand "The Sot-weed Factor," but I ask students to consider this poem as part of a comic, surreal tradition, in which a hapless everyman usually an outsider suffers exaggerated abuse and humiliation, staggering about in a constant state of confusion.
The emphasis in these texts is on the compounding of misfortune; the audience, recognizing the exaggerated, comic nature of the story, enjoys seeing things go from bad to worse to even worse. We could probably all brainstorm various texts that continue this tradition, but my own list would include Poe's story "Loss of Breath," in which a man is continually mistaken for a corpse and subject to all manner of ill treatment, parts of Roughing It by Mark Twain, Harold Lloyd's silent films, and Martin Scorsese's After Hours.
However, the text I use in class with "The Sot-weed Factor" is "Bob Dylan's th Dream," which epitomizes this surrealist suffering tradition and offers several parallels with Cook, despite the fact that there's no evidence Dylan knew the poem. Often my students do not get "The Sot-weed Factor. The anthology's head note can say it's comic, and the instructor can point out the objects of satire, the hyperbole and absurdity, and so on, but my students still don't process the poem as comedy.
Presenting them with something obviously similar in its structure, in its tone, helps them to recognize what's familiar in the poem. Dense, funny, endlessly inventive and, OK, yes, long-winded this satire of the 18th-century picaresque novel-think Fielding's Tom Jones or Sterne's Tristram Shandy -is also an earnest picture of the pitfalls awaiting innocence as it makes its unsteady way in the world. It's the late 17th century and Ebenezer Cooke is a poet, dutiful son and determined virgin who travels from England to Maryland to take possession of his father's tobacco or "sot weed" plantation.
He is also eventually given to believe that he has been commissioned by the third Lord Baltimore to write an epic poem, The Marylandiad. But things are not always what they seem. Actually, things are almost never what they seem.
The Sot-Weed Factor by John Barth
Not since Candide has a steadfast soul witnessed so many strange scenes or faced so many perils. Pirates, Indians, shrewd prostitutes, armed insurrectionists - Cooke endures them all, plus assaults on his virginity from both women and men. Barth's language is impossibly rich, a wickedly funny take on old English rhetoric and American self-appraisals. For good measure he throws in stories within stories, including the funniest retelling of the Pocahontas tale -revealed to us in the "secret" journals of Capt. John Smith - that anyone has ever dared to tell.
Large octavo, pp. Franklin's as-always lavish binding of Barth's famed satire - the adventures of Ebenezer Cooke fictionalized during the colonization of Maryland. The Franklin Library, doing what they did best. Handsomely preserved. Please review scans. Seasoned with in-spirit Ben Wohlberg illustrations. A pristine example of a famous epic historical romance. As New. Limited Signed Edition; Signed by Author. An exceptional collectible; John Barth's picaresque novel, originally published in is based on and takes its title from a satirical poem published in by Ebenezer Cooke, who is the protagonist of Barth's work.
This outstanding book is bound in genuine leather and features gilded, sewn in pages and ribbon marker, simply superb quality, Franklin Library at its best. Gilt lettered full leather binding. Gilt edges with silk endpapers and ribbon marker. Limited edition, signed by the author. Book still in the original shrinkwrap. Includes the booklet. A fine copy.
MORE BY JOHN BARTH
Signed Limited Edition. Franklin Library, Collector's Edition. Full Leather.
- The Sot-Weed Factor by John Barth - Discussion : books!
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A handsome red leather Collector's Edition signed by the author. This is Barth's best-known work, originally published in With gold-gilt cover designs and page edges, moire silk endpapers and bound-in silk bookmark. The very lightest touches of wear on the page edges; otherwise in fine unread condition. Beautiful copy in very early printing B46 on final page.
Edward Gorey designed the dust jacket and it has lost none of its color or brightness, even to the yellow lettering on spine. Textblock tight and square with no markings. Crisp, as new pages, with no toning. Rare in this condition. Same jacket as first printing. In mylar..
The Sot-Weed Factor.
The sot-weed factor John. Barth Barth, John. Fine with no dust jacket. Trace of foxing to gilt edges The author's masterpiece. Early, not first, printing with gutter code of B and no FE statement. Yellow cloth over blue boards, blue titles. Book very good with partially-removed owner bookplate to ffep, 2-inch tear to back pastedown at hinge but binding secure.
DJ, designed by Edward Gorey, good only, with peeling and chipping to folds, loss to spine-ends, soil at back panel. Signed by John Barth. Limited Edition, privately printed and individually signed. Illustrated by Ben Wohlberg. Bound in genuine leather.
Four raised bands along hubbed spine. Includes bound ribbon bookmark. Silk moire free endpapers and inside covers. Gilt page edges.
No visible shelfwear. Tightly bound with very clean and crisp pages. No marks. Volume is in Near Fine condition.. Limited Edition. Hard Cover. Near Fine. Very Good -. First Edition First Printing.
Review copy with publisher's promotional slip laid in. Interior is clean and complete with no marks.
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Spine is sunned, boards have wear, light bumping to corners. Jacket is chipped, worn and tanned on the edges. Bright and fine in full black cloth. In a clipped, very good or better dust jacket. Very Good. Gilt lettered red leather.
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Gilt edges. Silk endpapers and ribbon marker. Limited to an unspecified number of copies signed by the author. Special message from the author.