Dr. Seuss’s Naked Dames and Horses,Too!

March 28, 2012 // Filed under Blog

During the final week of the library’s Dr. Seuss display, I thought it would be interesting to “flesh out” our appreciation of this author a bit.  We’ve learned that Dr. Seuss wrote and illustrated many books for children, but he also produced cartoons for adults which have been collected in Dr. Seuss Goes to War and The Tough Coughs as He Ploughs the Dough. Additionally, Theodor Seuss Geisel authored the humorous storybook You’re Only Old Once! which was aimed at the aging adult audience.

Perhaps his most unexpected adult book is the strange story of  The Seven Lady Godivas, one of his earliest publications.  In this book Dr. Seuss concocted a highly imaginative legend to explain the origins of seven well-known proverbs.  These are the proverbs having to do with horses and what he called horse truths, an example of which would be “Never change horses in the middle of the stream.” 

So here’s where it gets strange: Dr. Seuss utilized the legend of Lady Godiva and her horse, but converted this individual into a family of seven Godiva sisters who must uncover these horse truths/proverbs.  As he stated tongue in cheek in his foreword, “History has treated no name so shabbily as it has the name Godiva.  Today Lady Godiva brings to mind a shameful picture-a big blond nude trotting around town on a horse…..There was not one; there were Seven Lady Godivas, and their nakedness actually was not a thing of shame.” And so the seven stalwart sisters fulfill their Seussian destiny to discover horse sense (and true love, too!) all while unflinchingly wearing their birthday suits.  Dr. Seuss must have had fun coming up with this one.  ~ Evelyn Fischel ~

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