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!Free Pdf ⚑ The Sot-Weed Factor ♆ Considered By Critics To Be Barth S Masterpiece, The Sot Weed Factor Has Acquired The Status Of A Modern Classic Set In The Late S, It Recounts The Wildly Chaotic Odyssey Of Hapless, Ungainly Ebenezer Cooke, Sent To The New World To Look After His Father S Tobacco Business To Record The Struggles Of The Maryland Colony In An Epic Poem On His Mission, Cooke Experiences Capture By Pirates 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 S Almost Determined To Protect 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 Lasting Relevance For All Readers What a fun book I d like to compare it to Bob Dylan s 115th Dream, but alas it s already been done The song s plot is not all that far from what John Barth is up to in The Sot Weed Factor, but Barth is far dare I say it exhausting This is a mock history of the real life poet Ebenezer Cooke, who wrote the Hudibrastic poem The sot weed factor or, A voyage to Maryland A satyr In which is describ d the laws, government, courts and constitutions of the country, and also the buildings, feasts, frolicks, entertainments and drunken humours of the inhabitants of that part of America In burlesque verse.That title is sort of a plot outline for the novel, with the million little twists and turns left out Barth s meticulous attention to historical detail and his excellent imitation of the tone and style of the 18th c novel had me believing this world Slightly The plot is outrageous There is a crazy coincidence on nearly every page And it s so dense and complicated that you need a chart to figure it all out On one level Barth is a serious storyteller, but he pushes his writing to the outer limits of the sensible as in this delightful chapter heading, The Poet Wonders Whether the Course of Human History Is a Progress, a Drama, a Retrogression, a Cycle, an Undulation, a Vortex, a Right or Left Handed Spiral, a Mere Continuum, or What Have You Certain Evidence Is Brought Forward, but of an Ambiguous and Inconclusive Nature If you read this book with a straight face it s very satisfying but a silly grin with occasional laughter works too.Ah, except for poor Joan Toast.It s like this song you can laughor just go with it.There are stories within stories, characters within characters, plots within plots Books within books Things either go horribly wrong or wondrously right, as if there were an outside hand always intervening John BarthFrom how many ships must a man get tossed,Before you call him drowned Get the ebook here. Escher Sphere, 1942, Maple, diameter 235mmI visited the Escher museum in The Hague recently It was a real treat because I ve been fascinated by Escher s work since I first saw his Hand Drawing Itself view spoiler hide spoiler Well loved books from my pastRating 5 golden stars of five, with a rapturous yodel cluster The Publisher Says 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 lasting relevance for readers of all times My Review The book description is a bit weak kneed, but I can t find a better one, and I detest writing the book reports with a passion.A couple months ago, I started a re read of this book that did not go well I sighed I snorted I rolled my eyes, and cut up rough whenever we got into the book s faux antique Englysshe I was responding to it like it was a phauntaiysee nawvelle with majgickq and other such borderline criminal goins on I put it aside, and I forgot it, except to renew it online from the Port Washington liberry.Damn me anyway Why can t I listen to my REAL self John Barth, my Real Self murmured, John Barth of The Floating Opera and this book which you adored thirty years ago, he deserves better than this, to which Angry Self replied, Shut up you Seven hundred plus pages of this phauntaaahsticall ness will make us homicidal Why not encourage me to read Dickens or Tolkien if all you want to is encourage me to massacre random strangers Silence Begone Damn me What an ass I read the first six chapters and tossed the book aside ButI did keep renewing it.And today, today with two days left on my final renewal, to goddam day I pick the book up again And I read the first paragraph line And oh damn me Damn me How beautiful, how simply and completely perfect it is, and how I wish I could boil Angry Me in oil In the last years of the seventeenth century there was to be found among the fops and fools of the London coffee houses one rangy, gangling flitch called Ebenezer Cooke, ambitious than talented, and yet talented than prudent, who, like his friends in folly, all of whom were supposed to be educating at Oxford or Cambridge, had found the sound of Mother English fun to game with than her sense to labor over, and so rather than applying himself to the pains of scholarship, had learned the knack of versifying, and ground out quires of couplets after the fashion of the day, afroth with Joves and Jupiters, aclang with jarring rhymes, and string taut with similes stretched to the snapping point.Oh Oh oh oh oh I just had a crisis.Now I could just power through the seven hundred plus remaining pages in the next two days, ignoring all other beings and dutiesto the detriment of our carpets, as the dog would be on her own re eliminatory functions, and the complete bumfuzzlement of my houseys as I would not be showing up at the station to fetch thembut it s not on It s just not This isn t a book to be got through, it is a book to be appreciated, savored, delighted in.I will await the tides of fortune washing a copy of my own back up on the shores of my private liberry It is worth the wait The rapturous narcosis of my first immersion has returned Thirty years are as but a moment John Barth is still there, his words as gorgeously deployed as ever they were Delightful Delightful.Damn me anyway This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Sextants and ParallelsJohn Barth took four years to write this epic Epic, and published it at the age of 30 in 1960.I or less spent four days inside its four walls over Easter I was determined to gobble it up before the chocolate Easter eggs were finished , but I could spend a lifetime or what little remains of it recounting its marvels.This was my third Barth novel I loved the first two But this one totally blew my mind, both in terms of ambition and execution.Swords and CannonsI have my favourite novelists, just as I have my favourite novels I m reluctant to canonise authors, let alone entire oeuvres, or even individual novels Hence, despite my favourites, I ve always been reluctant to claim that there might be such a thing as a Great American Novel which is little than a marketing term , let alone one whose glory extends beyond the boundaries of the United States.Yet, having just finished this work, I m tempted to argue that it s the best American novel written in the twentieth century The only thing that holds me back is the fact that I haven t read Pynchon sMason Dixon , which explores the past like this novel.Art and WileOne of the reasons for my enthusiasm is how the work fits into the history of the novel.It s at once a parody and an homage But it also passes itself off as a pretty amazing iteration of what it seeks to parody.I read and enjoyed a lot of voluminous, early English novels in my youth, before I became impatient with my time Midway through my life, I briefly doubted the virtue of length and maximalism, arguing that, if a writer had 900 pages in them, then why couldn t they split them into three discrete works This experience has persuaded me that, at least in Barth s case, I should trust the author s assessment of appropriate lengthThe tale is no marvel of brevityyet it must be told In this tale, Barth immerses us, sometimes over our heads, in both a world and a worldview, and it s a delightenment.There were times when the pace of the novel seemed to slow, and I wondered why there were still hundreds of pages to go However, each time, in retrospect, it seemed as if Barth was merely slowing down to take a corner Once through it, he accelerated, and the tale was off again, even if sometimes on a different tangent.Raillery and Bookish ConverseBarth argues that this is when he discovered what we now call Post Modernism He might be right, insofar as the movement embraces imitation.He would say later that novels likeThe Sot Weed Factorarenovels which imitate the form of the Novel, by an author who imitates the role of Author Pranks and LarksWhat I love about this assertion is the degree of mischief implicit in it.If we have read any of these earlier novels from the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries , readers will be familiar with the form adopted by their authors especially the chapter headings that sometimes sound like head notes in reports of legal cases.Yet we also know that how they were written and what they wrote about reflected the time in which they were written.Barth might attempt to write in this manner, but he is was still a twentieth century schizoid man writing in the form of an eighteenth century novelist.To an extent he was a passenger in someone else s vehicle.He might have donned the garb, and he might have looked the part, but he and we are both conscious that it s a pretence.Aye, there s the rub But what a pretence Gerrit Dou imitates an ear ringed BarthInk and QuillHow to describe this fiction thenDear God Tis marvellous What a comedy Twas a marvelous tale, well told, and as nicely pointed as one of Aesop s A pretty tale indeed, if not a virtuous Aye, spread the word Wags and WitsBarth cautions us against taking authors too seriously or at their wordTis a great mistake for a tale teller to philosophise and tell us what his story means haply it doth not mean what he thinks at all, at least to the rest of us On first appearance, this might seem to warn us against emphasising too much the author s literary or philosophical intentions.To this extent, it urges us to enjoy the author s play authors and characters alike canplay this world like a harpsichord , not just their earnestness.Spin and TangleHowever, it also suggests that an author doesn t necessarily understand the true effect or import of their own tale.My book is not necessarily what I intended Ironically, it might be no than what I realised.Still, a tale requires a listener, just as much as a speaker, so we don t know its meaning, until we know how it has been heard.A tale, therefore, is constructed by both author and reader.What s important, too, is how well the tale is told Its appeal is in the telling It doesn t have to be perfect, as long as it is fit for purpose or is entertaining Being a tale, it s also delivered in parts We might enjoy some parts than othersTales are like tarts, that may be ugly on the face of em and yet have a worthwhile end Innocence and ExperienceFor all the bawdy humour, the novel deals incidentally, at least, with serious issues.At heart, it s a tale of innocence and experience.The virgin poet Ebenezer Cooke and his twin sister, Anna, are the innocents Their former tutor and friend, Henry Burlingame III, is the experienced one.There is a creative tension between the three, although Henry is the primary source of it like the author himself,he makes game of my innocence. Needless to say, the game encompasses twins, coupling and couplets Entwining, swiving and rhyming abounds And so it should Pretty or not, it makes no claim to virtue.Preachment and PracticeOf course, innocence comes before experience Hence, innocence is associated with virginity the loss of it with the fall and subsequent worldly experienceTwas carnal knowledge, knowledge of the flesh, that caused man s fall In Henry s case, it also motivated and drove his engagement with the worldYet anon I lost my virginity , and so committed me to the world twas then I vowed, since I was fallen from grace, I would worship the Serpent that betrayed me, and ere I died would know the taste of every fruit the garden grows Sneak and SubterfugeSo begins Ebenezer s quest to learn about the new world of Maryland , if not necessarily lose his virginity.Still, everywhere he goes in this not quite Virgin Maryland, he encounters Henry in his various dis guisesHe loves the world, and comprehends it at first glance sometimes even sight unseen yet his love is flavoured with a similar contempt, from the selfsame cause, which leads him to make game of what he loves Sundry Trials and ImposturesHenry, who ironically hasnor wealth, nor place, nor even parentage , is far relaxed with the world He doesn t strive to understand it in its totality He seeks only to understand himself within itOne must needs make and seize his soul, and then cleave fast to t, or go babbling in the corner one must choose his gods and devils on the run, quill his own name upon the universe, and declare, Tis I, and the world stands such a way One must assert, assert, assert, or go screaming mad Henry confronts real life every moment of the day, often masked or impersonating an otherI know you not from one hour to the nextThe world s a happy climate for imposture Factions and IntriguesPersonality is fluid and fragmented Nothing is whole Each of us has adriven and fragmented spiritWe have to reinvent or rediscover ourselves step by step on the journey through life Henry advises EbenezerYou must embrace your Self as Poet and Virgin, regardless, or discard it for something better In either case don t seek whole understanding the search were fruitless, and there is no time for t Ostensibly, the novel is the tale of Ebenezer s education However, his rival is equally educated over the course of the novel, for all his worldliness and playfulness.Idlers and Ne er Do WellsLike most in the American colonies, Henry is an orphan The absence of a father means the absence of a father figure, and therefore a source of authority.Just as orphans might lack a heritage, some lack a moral compass These are the men who colonised the New WorldThe plain fact is, the greatest part are castaways rebels, failures, jailbirds and adventurers Cast such seed on such soil, and twere fond to seek a crop of dons and courtiers..There is a freedom there that s both a blessing and a curse, for t means both liberty and lawlessness Tis than just political and religious liberty they come and go from one year to the next Tis philosophic liberty I speak of, that comes from want of history It throws one on his own resources, that freedom makes every man an orphan like myself and can as well demoralise as elevate Morals and MetaphysicsAmerica s origins are therefore both de moralised and demoralised.When Ebenezer arrives in Maryland, it is fast going from sot weed tobacco to pot well, opium, actually.Ebenezer s poetry, his culture, his civilisation is no solution It s too removed from realityLiteratureavailed him not, for though it afforded one a certain sophistication about life and a release from one s single mortal destiny, it did not, except accidentally, afford solutions to practical problems Shifting and ConfoundedFor all Man s love of Reason, there is no order or logic in Life History too is a fabrication, oursWe all invent our pasts, or less, as we go along, at the dictates of Whim and Interest the happenings of former times are a clay in the present moment that will we, nill we, the lot of us must sculpt Thus Being does make Positivists of us all Moreover, this Clio was already a scarred and crafty trollop when the Author found her Toss and TempestUltimately, Life is a tempest, that tosses us around on the watersThis thing we call civilisation tis a bumboat load o judges, dons and poets, on a dark and vasty main o erwracked with storms. Life is beyond our control, and that of our factors and agents We might be a character on its stage, but it tells its own tale, fearless of outcome or coincidence or absurdity We don t write Life it writes usLife is a shameless playwright But so were Rabelais and Shakespeare, and so is Barth All three of them have writ large about Life for our reading pleasure.Their subject matter is the stuff of life, drawn both dramatic and comic, tragic and farcical In Barth s twinned words many of which I ve used for my sub headings , this novel contains within fops and fools, love and candor, lust and pride, trysts and secret meetings, hypocrisy and lewd delight, gasps and titters.Some might equal these tales and their telling, but none are better At least, none that come to mind.Detail of Back Cover and Spine Illustration by Owen WoodADDED EXTRAS Couplets and Eulogies view spoiler I Shiver at the Memory Of Joan Toast In the Words of John Barth Twas in my chamberI saw her last,As pink and nakedAs a lover s dream.You d not believe How fine her fair skin feels,Or how tight and sprightlyIs her whole small body.How could I forgetThe fat of her little buttocksO ertop the hard young muscle Or the softness of her breastsThat gently flattenedWhen she lay supine,But hung like apples of Heav nWhen she bent o er me I shiver at the memory The Hudibrastic Virgin Falls for a Scarlet HarlotOn virgin shelf,Eb found himself.With wealth nigh nought,Five guineas short,His night ended,UnbefriendedBy Mistress Joan,In bed alone.Though he dreams ofA new found love,We must deduct,He s still un view spoiler plucked hide spoiler When we heap obloquy on Satan, is t not ourselves we scold, for that we secretly admire his Heavenly insurrection I knew naught of John Barth till I read this He was a Marylander by birth and here, his third novel, he writes an historical fiction of earliest Maryland There are recognizable names, and recognizable vignettes, but Barth takes liberties It is, instead, an historical farce, and so perforce honest.We Americans are a self loathing lot That Satan thing, supra We take an odd pride in the swamp that spawned us And so we beshit ourselves, not always figuratively view spoiler Notice my use of the present tense hide spoiler Boisterous, Hilarious, Satirical, Epic Frolic Set in Seventeenth Century London and Colonial MarylandA Goodreads buddy described this book as a rollicking tale Good description.Don t expect brevity or logic here.I already knew Barth was a formidable and unique writer, since I d read and loved Lost in the Funhouse a long time ago.The Sot Weed Factor is an entirely different type of novel So Barth, like the most brilliant writers, is extremely versatile and has proven he can write well in completely different styles Barth s lengthy novel, written with very authentic dialogue and, in the texts within the texts, written style of the times, tracks the innumerable adventures of one Ebenezer Cooke, who was born in England in 1666 and died in Maryland in 1732 or at least that s the arc of the novel Our hero is based on a real poet, Ebenezer Cook sometimes spelled Cooke who lived around the same time and wrote a biting satirical poem scourging life in Maryland entitled The Sot Weed Factor In the idiom of that time, a sot weed factor is a tobacco dealer Little is known of the real Ebenezer Cook This real poem and poet are obviously the source of Barth s title and his main character The poem is also the source of certain basic plot elements But that s like saying a vegetable is the source of a culinary masterpiece or a simple tune is the source of a complex jazz piece Barth, our chef jazzman expressing himself through his characters creates complex riffs on the original undreamed of by the real Cook.Ebenezer Cooke is a genuine horse s ass at the beginning of the novel He s pompous, pretentious, and hoarding his innocence both of life and of sex like it s gold although at least in the beginning of the book, he s quite reserved Only later on does he start trumpeting his virtues He s about to flunk out of Cambridge, since he s started dabbling with writing verse Ebenezer is also paralyzed by a lack of direction His problem is that he finds every path in life equally appealing and cannot decide between them.In the book s opening paragraph, Barth describes Ebenezer thusIN THE LAST YEARS OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY THERE WAS TO BE found among the fops and fools of the London coffee houses one rangy, gangling flitch called Ebenezer Cooke, ambitious than talented, and yet talented than prudent, who, like his friends in folly, all of whom were supposed to be educating at Oxford or Cambridge, had found the sound of Mother English fun to game with than her sense to labor over, and so rather than applying himself to the pains of scholarship, had learned the knack of versifying, and ground out quires of couplets after the fashion of the day, afroth with Joves and Jupiters, aclang with jarring rhymes, and string taut with similes stretched to the snapping point Ebenezer gets a surprise visit in his Cambridge rooms from his former tutor, Henry Burlingame Burlingame had disappeared for no apparent reason after teaching Ebenezer and his twin sister, Anna, at the estate of their father, Andrew, in St Giles in the Fields Burlingame was a fantastic teacher and curious about all subjects and the world in general Ebenezer s indecision about his life s path is in part a result of Burlingame s eclectic tutelage, that made all life paths seem equally desirable.Burlingame, hearing that Ebenezer is about to be kicked out of Cambridge, explains his disappearance Andrew Cooke had presumed that Burlingame had designs on Anna, and fired him on the spot He also proposes a business venture that Ebenezer should join him in London in a tutoring businessUnhappy day laughed Ebenezer I ve no skill in any craft or tradewhatever I cannot even play Flow My Tears on the guitar I can do nothing Then tis plain you ll be a teacher, like myself Sheart Twould be the blind leading the blind Aye, smiled Burlingame Who better grasps the trials of sightlessnessthan he whose eyes are gone But what teach I know something of many things, and enough ofnaught I faith, then the field is open, and you may graze where you list Teach a thing I know naught of exclaimed Ebenezer And raise thy fee for t, replied Burlingame.Ebenezer decides he s no teacher, and goes home to face his father Andrew Cooke decrees that Ebenezer must apprentice as a clerk for a time in London and then sail to Maryland to oversee Andrew Cooke s estate there, Malden.Ebenezer has no talent for or interest in, clerking eitherHe would begin to add a column of totally meaningless figures and realize five minutes later that he d been staring ata wen on the neck of the boy in front of him, or rehearsing in his mind areal or imaginary conversation between himself and Burlingame, or drawingmazes on a bit of scratch paper For the same reason, though he hadby no means the troublemaker s temperament, his untamable fancy than once led him to be charged with irresponsibility one day, for example, scarcely conscious of what he was about, he involved himself entirely in a game with a small black ant that had wandered across the page He spends several years in London and fares unspectacularly in Barth s words.He then gets himself into trouble he seems to have a knack for getting into trouble and dragging everyone around him into it He falls in love with a whore, the humorously named Joan Toast, and refuses to pay John McEvoy, her pimp and lover, on the grounds that he cannot bring himself to pay for a woman he has fallen in love with.McEvoy then mails a letter to Andrew declaring that Ebenezer has been spending time with whores, not advancing in his job, etc As a result, Andrew sends Ebenezer to Maryland.Before Ebenezer leaves London, he dresses up in his best and humorously depicted finery and pays a call on Lord Balti, persuading him to make him Poet Laureate of Maryland.Ebenezer commences to have many misadventures, including multiple captures by pirates, several near drownings, being robbed of all his worldly goods several times , being captured by Indians, etc He also commits a petty theft of his own after nearly getting in a duel with a stationery book seller who drives him crazy by offering him too many notebook options slim cardboard quarto with unlined paper, thick leather quarto with lined paper, etc Ebenezer hates options because, since they are all equally attractive to him, he can never choose between them He encounters various shady characters such as the aptly named Captains Slye and Scurry , shysters, quacks, shady lawyers, golden hearted whores and disreputable women, pirates, thieves, spies, traitors, imposters, rebellious Natives and slaves, Indian kings, etc But others often take Eben himself for a madman.The novel is a comedy of errors albeit with a somewhat sobering postscript.The themes of trickster, criminals, and especially disguises and mistaken and faked identities pervade the entire book as well as that of twins We also have changes in social and cultural identities occurring on a regular basis certain characters switch between being Indians and being English colonists others morph from being servants to being gentlemen and vice versa Burlingame disappears and reappears at regular intervals in both England and Maryland He assumes various disguises and identities many of which don t become obvious until later in the book He s a master trickster He s also clearly a spy, although for whom is not clear until the novel s end Orphaned Burlingame is also obsessed with finding his parentage and origins Ebenezer helps with this task.The Laureateship causes multiple problems It engenders numerous Ebenezer Cooke impersonators, who of course, also cause Ebenezer trouble.Also, coincidences abound many of which strain credulity, but credulity is not the point here Or as Barth puts itLest it be objected by a certain stodgy variety of squint minded antiquarians that he has in this lengthy history played fast and loose with Clio, the chronicler s muse, than ever Captain John Smith dared, the Author here posits in advance, by way of surety, three blue chip replies arranged in order of decreasing relevancy In the first place be it remembered, as Burlingame himself observed, that we all invent our pasts, or less, as we go along, at the dictates of Whim and Interest the happenings of former times are a clay in the present moment that will we, nill we, the lot of us must sculpt Moreover, this Clio was already a scarred and crafty trollop when the Author found her it wants a nice honed casuist, with her sort, to separate seducer from seduced But if, despite all, he is convicted at the Public Bar of havingforced what slender virtue the strumpet may make claim to, then the Authorjoins with pleasure the most engaging company imaginable, his fellow fornicators, whose ranks include the noblest in poetry, prose, and politics Ebenezer runs into many of the same people he met in London or who showed up in others tales again and again in Maryland Many of them turn out to have previously unknown connections to others in Ebenezer s life Ebenezer also encounters new characters in Maryland , such as Mary Mungommery The Travelling Whore of Dorchester and Harvey Russecks, a trapper There are a couple of key players who possibly we are never certain never actually appear in person in the novel We are not really sure if they exist or not The themes of shifting and uncertain identities were also explored by Barth in Lost in the Funhouse There s plenty of meta here There are innumerable and very entertaining tales within tales In fact, it seems like almost every person Ebenezer encounters has a yarn to tell There are also a couple of manuscripts memoirs within the novel, not to mention Ebenezer s poetry Maybe that s why Barth insists this is postmodern , although I really don t see that it is Ebenezer does evolve through the novel He goes from being a terrible poet to a pretty good one He also realizes that the innocence he s set such store on is not worth as much as he thought Innocence and its loss is also a theme throughout the book.This is a kind of picaresque novel crossed with a Bildungsroman And it s remiscent of novels of that time period, such as The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman Anyway, this novel is hilarious and great fun to read, although I do admit it seemed a bit long although its length is probably appropriate for its epic sweep.Kevin Pariseau does an absolutely masterful job of reading the audio and voicing the different characters I read along in the Kindle book and the PDF version, both of which are available free online, since I think this novel might now be in the public domain.Here s a link to the original poem to Ian Pagan Szary for this link Also thanks to Ian for suggesting we do a buddy read on this, which inspired me to tackle this long book sooner rather than later. El veredicto es claro 3 de cada 4 lectores de Goodreads piensa que la novela es una obra maestra o est muy cerca de serlo En lo que a m respecta puedo decir que, aunque sea una novela algo alejada de lo que suelo leer y de la literatura que me sulibeya, me hizo pasar grandes ratos, lo cual tiene un m rito importante si tenemos en cuenta que el librito lo componen 1.173 p ginas, pr logo incluido, y que un buen pu ado de ellas puede que le sobren La novela es un homenaje a la pura narraci n de historias, muchas veces enlazadas en una espiral cuyo fin es el disparate, el absurdo, el desbarre total, y en el que se pasa revista a un buen pu ado de cuestiones morales, amorales e inmorales, que son parodiadas pero nunca demonizadas La s tira e incluso la parodia de ciertos personajes e historias nos puedan recordar a otros personajes y narraciones cl sicas, desde las historias de piratas, pasando por la de n ufragos o las epopeyas cl sicas, hasta las picarescas propias del siglo XVII, a lo que contribuye en buena medida el lenguaje utilizado felicito efusivamente al traductor por el trabajo realizado Es una novela muy cervantina, con su Sancho codicioso de su nsula Barataria y siempre preocupado por su amo siempre que su propio bienestar est asegurado aunque ello, desgraciadamente, vaya en detrimento del de su propio amo Y, por supuesto, la novela tiene a su Quijote virgen y a su Dulcinea puta S , el sexo es important simo, tanto que, si le damos alg n grado de verosimilitud a la historia, est en el propio nacimiento de la naci n americana lo hay de todo tipo y no siempre con humanos Todas esas historias est s llenas de grandes y peque as barbaridades, de crueldades, de estupideces, algunas incluso bienintencionadas, de todas esas acciones de las que somos capaces los humanos, de nuestra esencia como especie, de la eterna disputa Rousseau Hobbes, hombre salvaje hombre civilizadono se puede menos de recordar lo empinada y espinosa que es la senda que lleva a las alturas de la cortes a y el refinamiento, hasta el punto que con distraerse una sola vez para tomar aliento, por decirlo as , puede bastar para hacer que el escalador se despe e y vuelva a su estado originario son los hombres unos seres salvajes recubiertos por un p tina de cortes a O es la condici n salvaje una d bil mancha que contamina la cortes a natural del hombre y que una y otra vez se manifiesta en forma de erupci n, como si a un ngel le salieran granos en el traseroEn definitiva, que si es usted del tipo de lector que piensa queun cuento bien urdido es chismorreo de dioses, a quienes les es dado ver el coraz n y la m dula de la vida que hay en la Tierra es la telara a del mundo la urdimbre y la trama Vive Dios, lo que me gustan las historias, se oresentonces este es su libro. Luego de nueve d as y m s de 1200 p ginas puedo decir con total seguridad que El plantador de tabaco es una obra maestra Una historia declamada por decenas de personajes variopintos que entran en escena para luego salir y volver a entrar cientos de p ginas despu s, piratas, esclavos, indios, personajes hist ricos como Charles Calvert, Francis Nicholson o el mismo Ebenezer Cooke y m ltiples relatos dentro de relatos Una locura llevada a su grado m ximo, en la que la identidad carece de valor real y su suplantaci n es moneda corriente, la virginidad es un prestigio ilusorio entre el trasfondo de la masacre entre nativos y conquistadores, el l mite entre lo salvaje y lo civilizado se difumina y una intriga pol tica tan enrevesada y desesperante que no se tiene nunca constancia de lo que sucede.La escritura de Barth me result extraordinaria, en especial por su manejo de los tiempos para hacer determinadas revelaciones Cuando el libro comienza a lentificarse, saca una sorpresa debajo de la manga que propulsa la historia por unos cuantos cap tulos que hacen del proceso de lectura un viaje de lo m s adictivo Sus descripciones envuelven al lector en la atm sfera del Maryland del siglo XVII e inicios del XVIII y los di logos, aunque a veces pecan de artificiales, se sienten reales a pesar de las exageraciones propias de la s tira.Lo principal de El plantador de tabaco es la burla al sentido de la vida, de la conexi n de los hechos y de la seriedad con la que quiz deber a tomarse la existencia Todo lo que ocurre en este relato y en parte epopeya es un delirio que sobrepasa cualquier esencia significativa Barth se sienta sobre miles de a os de escritos filos ficos y proclama desde la altura un nuevo orden el caos La endeblez de la historia y de lo que nos hace ser quienes somos Rompe la moralidad impuesta, la tica absurda y la inocencia inconcebible y despliega una sucesi n de aventuras no solo grandiosa sino tambi n inquietante.En fin El plantador de tabaco es una obra maestra plagada de humor, inteligencia y profundidad, que recomiendo sin dudarlo. We sit here on a blind rock careening through space we are all of us rushing headlong to the grave Think you the worms will care, when anon they make a meal of you, whether you spent your moment sighing wigless in your chamber, or sacked the golden tombs of Montezuma Lookee, the day s nigh spent tis gone careering into time forever We are dying men i faith, there s time for naught but bold resolves It kills me when I go to the movies and I m sitting next to some little kid that has to study my reaction to the story for their cue to laugh or whatever reaction is appropriate I ll start to look at the kid to see if they are doing what I m doing I ll get distracted looking at the adult they are with and wondering what relationship dynamic they share that they aren t studying what they are doing Why choose me Then there s that feeling when someone is watching you and you feel pressured to give them that big laugh They ll repeat the joke if you didn t laugh hard enough Didn t you get it It s hilarious These feelings aren t conducive for that blissful wrapped up in a story feeling that I can t get enough I don t want to be prodded into laughing over endless dick and fart jokes I want to roll over and go to sleep and not wake up with a vegetable poking me into a further vegetated state.I can t remember the last time that I really laughed I mean a full on bellyaching sidesplitting laugh It may be me My goodreads friends list seem to love this one to pieces The whole thing and the ensuing of hilarity If it were a film I d expect the sound bites to read something like The thrill ride of the summer and I laughed until I cried Reviews all over the internet suggest it is a book to be loved Ribald, raunchy, corset poppin , romps, sweaty, sheets, rolling, rollicking, over the side, walk the plank, tied up, buttered up, tarred, feathered, skinned, scalped, pokered, buggered, roped, raped, underneath, hole, fit it, in, penis, vagina, poop Blah blah blah It was okay enough, at first I started out wondering why this blank faced young man was looking at everyone else in the movie theatre for his cue to look like he felt about anything I didn t really find it hilarious but I wasn t desperately bored, yet Have you ever read series fiction And you have to get through a lot of boring bits that reiterate information from previous volumes One that I used to read before I got bored with it was Michelle Sagara s Elantra series an excellent example, if you are familiar with it, because I doubt it ll ever end, or at least it seemed that way when I gave up Every damned time I had to sit through scenes of the lead character being late to everything She s always late Look, she s a klutz Scene after scene of this In case you forgot which I hadn t The Sot Weed Factor is one book I got really damned bored reading about stuff that just happened as if I had read about it years ago in an earlier volume when I hadn t because it was the same book that I was reading at that time I read it while waiting all day and into night for emergency car service If I had had ANY other book with me I would have given up I guess it is probably a satire of serial series too You know how back in the day or now, if it is the awful The Hobbit film s they would stretch out stories beyond en durability to milk out the most money Yeah I felt like I was rereading books that I read in my teen series or early twenties I probably would be less moany about this one if I wasn t writing a review of it It s the energy it takes to have a reaction to something and finding out you didn t really care that much I don t feel like writing reviews of Tristam Shandy or any of the J.P Donleavy books I m really reminded of Philip from Of Human Bondage It s a history of a life, same as that book, and the hero is a cypher for a parade of other people s stories I liked Megha s nicer way of seeing it that it was an echo of the storytelling nature of lives past To me it felt like going from soap box to soap box to espouse whatever the author felt like talking about, and not much of a life for the hero He s always looking to everyone else and then he writes about it He would probably hold a quill to his lip and dream dreamy dreams about love and life and not understand any of it because he never lived any of it Ebeneezer depressed me I just saw him as some dick waving asshole confronting the prostitute Joan with his virtue It is supposed to be like this Tell me what it is supposed to be like, somebody Somebody live up to something so I don t have to get in the dirt The poor girl on the ship that he is disappointed was not a virgin when the other guy rapes her before he had meant to rape her himself Like Phillip s entitlement to a hot girl despite his bum leg It amazes me he s not seen as a dick for wanting a hot girl instead of the supposedly ugly girls who loved him but Mildred was evil because she wanted a hot guy instead of him I don t know This is innocence I saw a monster face hiding behind not having one He wonders about his own halted desires and stilted virtues Sure, he notices it to talk about it Talking a lot and making claims on the future and meaning isn t innocence to me Of course, the fictional Ebeneezer Cooke there was a real one likes to run around and call himself a poet I grew so tired of how often Barth refers to him as the poet as a name Names aren t art Innocence would be living in spite of it and art would be making something in spite of it, or just having something else to live in along with it Some place to go What was all of these hijinks and antics and adventures and scenes scenes scenes saying No, don t look at the face of the person next to you, Mariel You didn t like it that much.His twin sister moves between serenity of listening to her father, or her brother, or their tutor Burlingame Another no expression She has Burlingame s baby and their neighbors believe it is her brother s child They have to live with faces coming up with conclusions I was interested from time to time in the horrors of indentured servitude I am fascinated by the corruption and cruelty enacted on fellow men in contracts not feeding people to save money But then I never thought that colonization was a pure thing without warts on the ass I sort of cared about Mary and the Inn keeper s daughter They tried to live anyway mirroring the wet nurse who fell into trouble with a man because another authority male figure kept her locked up from life So they took lives for their own I liked that Joan could live as herself and like sex anyway, even as Ebeneezer hearing the story of the rape by trickery from her uncle after her first bleeding tells her that she should feel the horror and shame I don t care about what anyone says anyone else should be feeling There wasn t anyone alive then who didn t have to live with something I guess I don t give any kind of damn about satirizing other novels If they aren t living their life that says a lot about them than it does about their teachers or parents or that life wasn t handed to them on a clean silver platter I was just happy to finish it and never have to read it again.At least the prostitutes were diseased It is refreshing to read about prostitutes in novels that aren t just dream girls for some man, no matter what Ebeneezer thought It sucks and they do get haggard and have sexually transmitted diseases Thomas Pynchon in Inherent Vice I am talking to you Of course, I don t need an enormous book to tell me that either I would have been better off reading a book about the colony of Maryland and imagining stories out of that myself then trying to squint and imagine history and stories out of why aren t you laughing I just made another sex joke.P.s I read The Sound and the Fury that is an intensely style focused novel obsessed with virginity after reading this intensely stylized novel about a man obsessed with his own virginity Uh oh Is this a sign of my wet blanket existence going further into my future I never find Kristen s penis drawings funny She thought I thought they were obscene and that s why I disliked them I just didn t feel anything at all Pubic hair in the pictures was too intimate for me, though I can imagine it getting into food, for some reason Burlingame s suggestion for vegetables and penis will ruin this vegetarian s appetite I just don t find it funny I feel nothing I don t want to think about not feeling anything like I m lacking I just don t have the same sense of humor Maybe this book is for everyone else and I m on another ship going to another colony where they scalp Princess Tiger Lilly.