For months, literally months, I’ve been slowly making my way through this dense 1960 novel by John Barth. I am pleased it is over. I enjoyed it tremendously, but, much like Gravity’s Rainbow (a book it resembles only in its chutzpah) it was a bit of a chore. At 800 pages of prose written as ye’d be likely to o’erhear a typical wight speakin whilst in his cups, it was very slow going. If you have the patience, though, I strongly recommend it. I can think of no more humorous book about prostitutes, pirates, rape, defecation, sexually transmitted diseased, dildos, “salvage” Indians, rebellious slaves, scheming indentured servants, incest, bestiality, poetry, starvation, prurience, virginity, opium, obscure history about the Province of Maryland, corrupt judges, Protestantism vs Papacy, lunatic plot twists, mistaken identity and more. It is actually based on a real Maryland settler Ebenezer Cooke who wrote a 17th Century satirical verse called The Sot-Weed Factor. (Sot-weed a term for tobacco, a factor being a salesman.) Barth fabricated (slowly, and in florid verse) the inspiration that lead Cooke to pen his poem. This is the second Barth novel I’ve read. I think I enjoyed The Last Voyage of Somebody The Sailor a little more as that was truly sick and twisted – The Sot-Weed Factor and its horrible lewdness described in acceptable, respectible English might be funnier.