Quotes from The Sot-Weed Factor

John Barth ·  756 pages

Rating: (6.2K votes)


“My dear fellow,' Burlingame said, '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 towns of Montezuma? Lookee, the day's nigh spent; 'tis gone careening into time forever. Not a tale's length past we lined our bowels with dinner, and already they growl for more. We are dying men, Ebenezer: i'faith, there's time for naught but bold resolves!”
― John Barth, quote from The Sot-Weed Factor


“All men are loyal, but their objects of allegiance are at best approximate.”
― John Barth, quote from The Sot-Weed Factor


“Is man a savage at heart, skinned o'er with fragile Manners? Or is savagery but a faint taint in the natural man's gentility, which erupts now and again like pimples on an angel's arse?”
― John Barth, quote from The Sot-Weed Factor


“The difference here 'twixt simple and witty folk, if the truth be known, is that your plain man cares much for what stand ye take and not a fart for why ye take it, while your smart wight leaves ye whate'er stand ye will, sobeit ye defend it cleverly.”
― John Barth, quote from The Sot-Weed Factor


“... a man's most useful friend and fearsome foe is the poet.”
― John Barth, quote from The Sot-Weed Factor



“Ah, God, it were an easy Matter to choose a Calling had
one all Time to live in! I should be fifty Years a
Barrister, fifty a Physician, fifty a Clergyman, fifty a
Soldier! Aye, and fifty a Thief, and fifty a Judge! All
Roads are fine Roads, beloved Sister, none more than
another, so that with one Life to spend I am a Man
bare-bumm'd at Taylors with Cash for but one pair of
Breeches, or a Scholar at Brookstalls with Money for a
single Book: to choose ten were no Trouble; to choose one,
impossible! All Trades, all Crafts, all Professions are
wondrous, but none is finer than the rest together. I
cannot choose, sweet Anna: twixt Stools my Breech falleth
to the Ground!”
― John Barth, quote from The Sot-Weed Factor


About the author

John Barth
Born place: in Cambridge, Maryland, The United States
Born date May 27, 1930
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