The Sot-Weed Factor by John Barth
The novel is set in the 1680s and 90s in London and on the eastern shore of the colony of Maryland. It tells the story of an English poet named Ebenezer Cooke who is given the title "Poet Laureate of Maryland" by Charles Calvert. He undergoes many adventures on his journey to Maryland and while in Maryland, all the while striving to preserve his innocence (i.e. his virginity). The book takes its title from the grand poem that Cooke composes throughout the story, which was originally intended to sing the praises of Maryland, but ends up being a biting satire based on his disillusioning experiences.
The 519th greatest fiction book of all time
This book is on the following lists:
- - 7th on For The Love of Books (For The Love of Books)
- - 42nd on 20th Century's Greatest Hits: 100 English-Language Books of Fiction (Larry McCaffery)
- - TIME Magazine All Time 100 Novels (TIME Magazine)
- - The 100 Greatest American Novels, 1893 – 1993 (Jeff O'Neal at Bookriot.com)