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The Year's Work in Lebowski Studies

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Overview

A massive underground sensation, The Big Lebowski has been hailed as the first cult film of the internet age. In this book, 21 fans and scholars address the film's influences - westerns, noir, grail legends, the 1960s, and Fluxus - and its historical connections to the first Iraq war, boomers, slackerdom, surrealism, college culture, and of course bowling. The Year's Work in Lebowski Studies contains neither arid analyses nor lectures for the late-night crowd, but new ways of thinking and writing about film culture.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times

"More than a few of this book’s essay titles will make you groan and laugh out loud at the same time.... But just as often, the writing here is a bit like the film: amiable, laid-back and possessed of a wobbly Zen-acuity." —New York Times

Washington Post

"If you're a 'Big Lebowski' collector... you may want to acquire this... illuminating book." —Washington Post, December 31, 2009

Indianapolis Monthly

"Any self-respecting fan will want a copy for the living-room table." —Indianapolis Monthly, December 2009

Condalmo

"Fantastic... not just a book to be passed around among film studies majors. It manages to be deeply smart and serious about its ideas without become stuffy and impenetrable. It’s also not one of those hokey knock-off, cash-in books that you see trying to jump on the coattails. If you’re holiday shopping, this should definitely make the cut." —http://condalmo.wordpress.com/2009/11/11/dude-i-know/, Condalmo, 11/11/2009

Indiana Alumni Magazine

"What could be more ridiculous than the application of Marxist, feminist, and other Very Serious theories to the orgy of goofiness that constitutes the Coen brothers' film? But the thing is, after reading the book's 21 essays, you can't help yourself. You find yourself thinking, Dude, it really is all in there: the updated Western, the Arthurian romance (think pee-stained rug as Holy Grail), the homage to Raymond Chandler, the critique of petro-capitalism, the riff on Rip Van Winkle (bowling, duh!)." —Indiana Alumni Magazine, March/April 2010

Sara Antonelli

"The Year's Work in Lebowski Studies is like a roller coaster ride. And, like the amusement park for children, there are no disappointments. Each one of the essays in the collection is original, unexpected in content and elegant in writing, skilled in the difficult art of intertextual references, intriguing conclusions and always theoretically founded....the authors of this enthusiastic, passionate and rigorous book question Lebowski with the same care with which we read the works of the most representative of contemporary intellectuals…" —Sara Antonelli, L'Unità [translation], January 6, 2010

Patrick O'Donnell

"The essays are complex, evocative, approachable, and attentive to the film’s ironies and nuances. There is something here for the slacker as well as the scholar, for all Lebowskis, big and small, for film specialists, 90s fanatics, scholars of American studies, and the ever-growing assemblage of Lebowski cultists worldwide." —Patrick O'Donnell, Michigan State University

Percival Everett

"This book is the Dude's joint. The Year's Work in Lebowski Studies proves that academics can be very funny and even sometimes smart." —Percival Everett, author of Erasure and American Desert

Simon Critchley

"Dudely interesting.... Comentale and Jaffe have mixed up a provocative, truly strange cocktail of cultural studies and cultural theory." —Simon Critchley, the New School for Social Research, author of The Book of Dead Philosophers

Dwight Garner
The book is, like the Dude himself, a little rough around the edges. But it's worth an end-of-the-year holiday pop-in. Ideally you'd read it with a White Russian—the Dude's cocktail of choice—in hand…the writing here is a bit like the film: amiable, laid-back and possessed of a wobbly Zen-acuity.
—The New York Times
From the Publisher

"Fantastic... not just a book to be passed around among film studies majors. It manages to be deeply smart and serious about its ideas without become stuffy and impenetrable. It’s also not one of those hokey knock-off, cash-in books that you see trying to jump on the coattails. If you’re holiday shopping, this should definitely make the cut." —http://condalmo.wordpress.com/2009/11/11/dude-i-know/, Condalmo, 11/11/2009

"Any self-respecting fan will want a copy for the living-room table." —Indianapolis Monthly, December 2009

"This book is the Dude's joint. The Year's Work in Lebowski Studies proves that academics can be very funny and even sometimes smart." —Percival Everett, author of Erasure and American Desert

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Edward P. Comentale is Associate Professor of English at Indiana University Bloomington. He is author of Modernism, Cultural Production, and the British Avant-Garde and editor (with Stephen Watt and Skip Willman) of Ian Fleming and James Bond (IUP, 2005) and (with Andrzej Gasiorek) of T.E. Hulme and the Question of Modernism.

Aaron Jaffe is Associate Professor of English at the University of Louisville. He is author of Modernism and the Culture of Celebrity.

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Introduction / Edward P. Comentale and Aaron Jaffe
Part 1. Ins (Intrinsic Models and Influences)
1. The Really Big Sleep: Jeffrey Lebowski as the Second Coming of Rip Van Winkle / Fred Ashe
2. A Once and Future Dude: The Big Lebowski as Medieval Grail-Quest / Andrew Rabin
3. Dudespeak: Or, How to Bowl like a Pornstar / Justus Nieland
4. Metonymic Hats and Metaphoric Tumbleweeds: Noir Literary Aesthetics in Miller’s Crossing and The Big Lebowski / Christopher Raczkowski
5. The Dude and the New Left / Stacy Thompson
6. The Big Lebowski and Paul de Man: Historicizing Irony and Ironizing Historicism / Joshua Kates
7. Lebowski and the Ends of Postmodern American Comedy / Matthew Biberman
8. Found Document: The Stranger’s Commentary and a Note on His Method / Thomas B. Byers
9. No Literal Connection: Mass Commodification, U.S. Militarism, and the Oil Industry in The Big Lebowski / David Martin-Jones
10. "I’ll Keep Rolling Along": Some Notes on Singing Cowboys and Bowling Alleys in The Big Lebowski / Edward P. Comentale
Part 2. Outs (Eccentric Activities and Behaviors)
11. What Condition the Postmodern Condition Is In: Collecting Culture in The Big Lebowski / Allan Smithee
12. Holding Out Hope for the Creedence: Music and the Search for the Real Thing in The Big Lebowski / Diane Pecknold
13. "Fuck It, Let's Go Bowling": The Cultural Connotations of Bowling in The Big Lebowski / Bradley D. Clissold
14. LebowskIcons: The Rug, The Irong Lung, The Tiki Bar, and Busby Berkeley / Dennis Hall and Susan Grove Hall
15. On the White Russian / Craig N. Owens
16. Professor Dude: An Inquiry into the Appeal of His Dudeness for Contemporary College Students / Richard Gaughran
17. Abiding (as) Animal: Marmot, Pomeranian, Whale, Dude / David Pagano
18. Logjammin’ and Gutterballs: Masculinities in The Big Lebowski / Dennis Allen
19. Size Matters / Judith Roof
20. Brunswick = Fluxus / Aaron Jaffe
21. Enduring and Abiding / Jonathan Elmer
Endnote: The Goofy and the Profound: A Non-Academic's Perspective on the Lebowski Achievement / William Preston Robertson
Works Cited
Index
List of Contributors

Indiana University Press

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