The Sot-Weed Factor is a 1960 novel by John Barth, set in the early 18th century and based on the real-life figure of Ebenezer Cooke, a Maryland poet and politician. The novel tells the story of Cooke's adventures as a young man, as he travels to the colonies and becomes embroiled in the politics and culture of the time.
Cooke is sent to Maryland as an agent for a London tobacco merchant, and becomes involved in the sot weed (tobacco) trade. He also becomes embroiled in a series of romantic and political adventures, including a rivalry with a rival poet, a love affair with a married woman, and a series of encounters with various colorful and eccentric characters.
The Sot-Weed Factor is a humorous and satirical novel that uses the conventions of the picaresque genre to explore themes of identity, colonization, and the nature of reality. It is known for its inventive use of language and its playful and irreverent style.