What if…William Shakespeare had written The Big Lebowski?
The Dude has met the Bard—and he doth abide.
Join “The Knave” and Sir Walter on a wild tale of mistaken identity, kidnapping, bowling, and a rug that, in faith, really tied the room together—in a sidesplitting Shakespearean comedy of errors and ninepins, told in five glorious acts of iambic pentameter and impeccable period prose.
Already a theatrical hit and a worldwide viral phenomenon, Two Gentlemen of Lebowski comes alive anew in this definitive and lavishly illustrated edition, featuring recently discovered historical engravings, scholarly annotations, and a revelatory afterword from the author.
|Publisher:||Simon & Schuster|
|Product dimensions:||7.76(w) x 11.82(h) x 0.62(d)|
Read an Excerpt
THE KNAVE’s house. Enter THE KNAVE, carrying parcels, and BLANCHE and WOO. They fight.
Whither the money, Lebowski? Faith, we are as servants to Bonnie;
promised by the lady good that thou in turn were good for’t.
Bound in honour, we must have our bond; cursed be our tribe
if we forgive thee.
Let us soak him in the chamber-pot, so as to turn his head.
Aye, and see what vapourises; then he will see what is foul.
They insert his head into the chamber-pot.
What dreadful noise of waters in thine ears! Thou hast cool’d
thy head; think now upon drier matters.
Speak now on ducats else again we’ll thee duckest; whither the
Faith, it awaits down there someplace; prithee let me glimpse
What, thou rash egg! Thus will we drown thine exclamations.
They again insert his head into the chamber-pot.
Trifle not with the fury of two desperate men. Long has thy
wife sealed a bond with Jaques Treehorn; as blood is to blood,
surely thou owest to Jaques Treehorn in recompense.
Rise, and speak wisely, man—but hark;
I see thy rug, as woven i’the Orient,
A treasure from abroad. I like it not.
I’ll stain it thus; to deadbeats ever thus.
He stains the rug.
Sir, prithee nay!
Now thou seest what happens, Lebowski, when the agreements
of honourable business stand compromised. If thou wouldst
treat money as water, flowing as the gentle rain from heaven,
why, then thou knowest water begets water; it will be a watery
grave your rug, drown’d in the weeping brook. Pray remember,
Thou err’st; no man calls me Lebowski. Hear rightly, man!—for
thou hast got the wrong man. I am the Knave, man; Knave in
nature as in name.
Thy name is Lebowski. Thy wife is Bonnie.
Zounds, man. Look at these unworthiest hands; no gaudy gold
profanes my little hand. I have no honour to contain the ring. I
am a bachelor in a wilderness. Behold this place; are these the
towers where one may glimpse Geoffrey, the married man? Is
this a court where mistresses of common sense are hid? Not for
me to hang my bugle in an invisible baldric, sir; I am loath to
take a wife, or she to take me until men be made of some other
mettle than earth. Hark, the lid of my chamber-pot be lifted!
Search his satchel! His words are a fantastical banquet to work
pell-mell havoc and confusion upon his enemies. There sits
eight pounds of proof within.
Villainy! Why this confounded orb, such as men use to play at
ninepins; what devilry, these holes in holy trinity?
Obviously thou art not a colfer.
Then thou art a man to carry ball in his sack? Thou varlet, a
plague upon your house; I return thine orb to earth.
He drops the ball.
Thy floor cracks in haste, sir; thou art not a man of ample foundation.
Speak, friend; I am but of droplets.
Was this not a man of moneys and repute? Did not Treehorn
speak of chalcedony halls, and three chests of gold, as was hard
food for Midas? What think’st thou?
O undistinguish’d man! We are deceived; this man has put not
money in his purse.
Weep not for grief of my own sustaining, sir. At least I am
house-broken, none to break the houses of others.
If dog you are, in time you’ll have your day;
Waste time, but Jaques Treehorn will you pay.
13 rash egg: impolitically bold child or spawn. ‘Egg’ also calls to mind ‘zero’ (as in the French l’oeuf) and hints at the thugs’ unimpressed reaction to the Knave’s dwelling.
20 deadbeat: a person who evades the payment of, or defaults on, a debt
33 profanes: debases, defiles, corrupts
35 Geoffrey, the married man: Elizabethan mores viewed bachelorhood with suspicion. Men were expected to be married, and often had to be to accept public office or important civic responsibilities.
37 baldric: a belt or sash worn over the shoulder
39 lid of my chamber-pot: a lid is customarily placed upon the pot to contain odours. Leaving it off indicates the Knave’s incivility and lack of a wife.
43 confounded: perplexed. Blanche means ‘confounding,’ though that is not the issue here.
43 orb: sphere
44 ninepins: the sport of kings. Variants and alternate names include loggats, kayles, and skittles. Shakespeare frequently referred to the sport: in The Taming of the Shrew, it is a metaphor for Petruchio’s courtship of Katherine; in Coriolanus, Menenius compares his overcommitted loyalty to the title character to a poorly rolled frame; and, most famously, Hamlet’s line ‘Ay, there’s the rub’ refers to an obstacle deflecting a bowling ball from its course.
45 colfer: a player of ‘colf,’ the Dutch predecessor to the Scottish game of golf. In the sixteenth century, as the modern game filtered down from Scotland, its variants were enjoyed by commoners and royalty alike; Mary, Queen of Scots, was an avid golfer.
46 varlet: a rascal or disreputable character, from the Old French vaslet
50 of droplets: i.e., only has a little urine left. Possibly a reference to the use of the aspergillum to sprinkle holy water in religious ceremonies, as if Woo is blessing the rug.
52 chalcedony: a fine mineral, similar to quartz. Named for the Bithynian port town of Chalcedon.
57 house-broken: versed in sanitary excretory habits suitable for civilised living; in casual speech, meaning docile or peaceably mannered.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I actually got to see the only professional performance of it ever done, and it was AWESOME!
Hip! Hip! Hooray for Humor! For those of you out there who lived in a cave when the hysterical movie The Big Lebowski was given to the people, I will begin by explaining the story. Jeff Lebowski was an unemployed L.A. sloth who was referred to as "The Dude;" the one and only thing he seemed to love was bowling. Then, when a case of mistaken identity gets him mixed up with another man named Jeff Lebowski who is a multi-millionaire, "The Dude" is roughed up by a couple of thugs who tell him that his wife owes their boss money. Of course, it's not "The Dude's" wife, it is the multi-millionaire's wife named Bunny. Soon Bunny is kidnapped and the rich Lebowski has the poor Lebowski bring the ransom to set her free, but there is another who believes that "The Dude" should say, "The heck with the broad, keep the dough." From there it is a comedy of trial and error throughout the entire film, and has become a cult favorite over time. When I received this fantastic book in the mail, I was instantly "taken in" by the masterful writing; this was definitely a stellar job done by a fine author. As we begin this five-act comedy, two Shakespearean thugs - Blanche and Woo - enter The Knave's home, and proceed to insert his head into thee old chamber-pot demanding their master's money. Everything from mistaken identity to the class conflicts that were ripe in the Shakespearean Age come to the forefront of this laugh-out-loud story. Throughout the book we readers are also given definitions to some, perhaps, little-known words. Such as, in this story, bowl is not so much a game with ten pins and a big, black ball, but means: to play at a game of bowls. Such games were popular in Shakespeare's time, though often negatively compared with the more noble sport of archery. These little bits of extremely intelligent humor are strewn throughout this great work. Even The Knave, to explain his own popular name, declares: "I am the Knave, called the Knave. Or His Knaveness, or mayhap Knaver, or mayhap El Knaverino, in the manner of the Spaniard." Not only is the story beautifully retold from the Bard's point of view, but the book is also filled with classic illustrations, historical annotations, and some of the coolest engravings I've seen. Not only that, but there is an afterword that will literally make you laugh yourself out of bed. Quill says: Buy it! Buy it! Buy it! An FYI for readers, a religion named Dudeism is actually practiced out there in America, and I can only stand up and beg for the globe to accept Knaveism, too, after reading this eloquent story. The Shakespearean qualities and wording have taken this story to an entirely new level, and not only will fans of pop culture look at this as their new Bible, but readers who love Shakespeare and highly intelligent writing will be huge fans, as well. And.yes.I doth protest way to much, Dude.