The Sotweed Factor

 
 
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unsmoked
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19 April 2009 12:25
 

Unsmoked comments:

George Washington had a splendid farm, Jefferson and other American notables had farms - fields of cotton and tobacco, dozens or hundreds of slaves . . . but who did they inherit this wealth from?  Who were their fathers and grandfathers?  Who cleared these fields and planted the sotweed, making the soil say, ‘tobacco’, rather than elm and hickory?  What became of the red man who had burned the underbrush for thousands of years, maintaining the splendid hardwood forests of Eastern North America, drinking from the clear streams that criss-crossed Manahatta?

I lived in Maryland for several years; on sunny weekends wandering over hill and dale, stepping into abandoned slave cabins where now only the cows came to rest in the shade.  There, on a dusty shelf, I could still find a lead bookend embossed with a Greek Daphne or her sister playing the lyre.  Did the Africans who lived here have books?  Did they know whose image was on the bookend?

The Sotweed Factor by John Barth is a massive 1000 page spoof on the historical novel, or the Tom Jones genre - the colonies in the late 1600’s.  Read editorial and customer reviews at:

http://www.amazon.com/Sot-weed-Factor-John-Barth/dp/1903809509

[ Edited: 19 April 2009 12:31 by unsmoked]
 
 
 
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burt
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19 April 2009 17:39
 

Read that years ago (68, 69?) and laughed my head off.

 
 
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eudemonia
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21 April 2009 06:36
 

68,69 burt? I think, back in those days, that it was another type of weed that had you laughing your head off.  wink

 
 
 
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Carstonio
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21 April 2009 10:50
 

Sounds like a great book. I suspected from the threat title that this would involve Maryland, since the historical sites here talk about sotweed.

Unsmoked, what part of Maryland was that? I’m guessing the Eastern Shore since plantation slavery lasted there until the Civil War - Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass were both born there. My understanding is that most of the plantations on the other side of the Bay broke up after the Revolution.

 
 
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unsmoked
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21 April 2009 11:51
 
Carstonio - 21 April 2009 02:50 PM

Sounds like a great book. I suspected from the threat title that this would involve Maryland, since the historical sites here talk about sotweed.

Unsmoked, what part of Maryland was that? I’m guessing the Eastern Shore since plantation slavery lasted there until the Civil War - Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass were both born there. My understanding is that most of the plantations on the other side of the Bay broke up after the Revolution.

It was the rolling, pastoral country near Westminster.  A secretary in our office was from the Eastern Shore, and spoke of it, but I never made it over there.  From my window I could see the Blue Ridge about 20 miles away, and once bicycled there - up near Camp David.

 
 
sam harris is a neocon idiot
 
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sam harris is a neocon idiot
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21 April 2009 16:40
 
McCreason - 21 April 2009 10:36 AM

68,69 burt? I think, back in those days, that it was another type of weed that had you laughing your head off.  wink

Let he who is without sin cast the first stoned.

By the way, I laughed my ass off, without aid of any pharmaceuticals, through The Last Voyage of Somebody the Sailor, but everyone I tried to give the book to thought I was insane.

Flashbacks?

 
 
 
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unsmoked
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22 April 2009 10:14
 
teuchter - 21 April 2009 08:40 PM
McCreason - 21 April 2009 10:36 AM

68,69 burt? I think, back in those days, that it was another type of weed that had you laughing your head off.  wink

Let he who is without sin cast the first stoned.

By the way, I laughed my ass off, without aid of any pharmaceuticals, through The Last Voyage of Somebody the Sailor, but everyone I tried to give the book to thought I was insane.

Flashbacks?

I read it in ‘63, or maybe I should say ‘63-‘64 since I’m a slow reader - also without the aid of pharmaceuticals or weeds of any kind.  I see that it was revised in ‘67 and wonder what was changed.  Maybe it was just shortened as I see on the Amazon sight that the paperback is down to 700 or so pages.  Come to think of it, on the weed issue, I did have a dish of nettle greens that spring, as I did again last week; boiled of course, with the water changed.