The story of how Dr Seuss wrote a little-known adult book about seven medieval sisters who never wore clothes. The book was a flop.
I love Dr Seuss’s Children’s books and found this story very funny. In fact my 19-year-old who grew up on Dr Seuss children’s stories and learnt a lot of his first words from the rhymes was quick to point out, he knew about the Seven Lady Godivas when I shared my discovery today.
As a writer, I think that sometimes you have to try writing in more than one genre before you know where your strength lies. It was how Dr Seuss did it – trying his writing and drawing talents at adult cartoons before he discovered his true calling was in children’s books. I often see writers going from general genres to adult/erotic books but not the opposite as Dr Seuss who celebrated his birthday yesterday did. He wrote the failed exhibitionist tome in 1939.
In this Daily Mirror article Seuss, also known as Theodor Geisel only sold 2500 copies of The Seven Lady Godiva. He wrote that he was in fact telling ‘a beautiful story of love, honor and scientific achievement’. His best-known characters are famous for their clothes. But the Cat in the Hat and the Fox in Socks have little in common with the stars of another The Seven Lady Godiva.
The gang of naked sisters who star in The Seven Lady Godivas: The True Facts Concerning History’s Barest Family, are famous for wearing no clothes at all.
Publishing the book was allegedly a condition for Random House, Seuss’s new publisher, when he jumped ship to them. However, it seems few agreed with his own high opinion of the bawdy tale. While 10,000 copies were printed, only 2,500 were ever bought.
He later accepted that the book was no good. According to The Atlantic, he said: ‘I attempted to draw the sexiest babes I could, but they came out looking absurd.
The famed author’s birthday, March 3rd is now celebrated as a national reading festival. The Dr Seuss’s children’s books were the favourites of both my two boys when they were growing up.