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Theodor SEUSS Geisel
     

Theodor SEUSS Geisel

4.3 3
by Donald E. Pease
 

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Dr. Seuss's infectious rhymes, fanciful creatures, and roundabout plots not only changed the way children read but imagined the world. And to Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, Green Eggs and Ham,The Cat and the Hat, these and other classics have sold hundreds of millions of copies and entertained children and adults for decades. After

Overview

Dr. Seuss's infectious rhymes, fanciful creatures, and roundabout plots not only changed the way children read but imagined the world. And to Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, Green Eggs and Ham,The Cat and the Hat, these and other classics have sold hundreds of millions of copies and entertained children and adults for decades. After graduating from Dartmouth, Theodor Geisel used his talents as an ad-man, political provocateur, and social satirist, gradually but irrevocably turning to children's books. Theodor SEUSS Geisel tells the unlikely story of this remarkable transformation. In this compact and engrossing biography, Donald Pease reveals the evolution of Dr. Seuss's creative persona while offering an honest appraisal of his life. The book also features many of Dr. Seuss's lesser-known illustrations, including college drawings, insecticide ads, and wartime political cartoons-all of which offer a glimpse of his early artistic style and the visual origins of the more famous creatures that later populated his children's books. As Pease traces the full arc of Dr. Seuss's prolific career, he combines close textual readings of many of Dr. Suess's works with a unique look at their genesis to shed new light on the enduring legacy of America's favorite children's book author.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A slim biography puts the good Doctor and his oeuvre on the couch for some gentle analysis. In the preface, Pease (English, Comparative Literature, African-American Literature/Dartmouth Univ.) gives a brief overview of existing Seuss scholarship and locates his work within it as "a modest effort to explore" the "relationship between Dr. Seuss's art and Geisel's life." The author-who was awarded the Ted and Helen Geisel Chair in the Humanities at Dartmouth, Geisel's alma mater-proceeds in largely chronological fashion. He sketches Geisel's childhood in Springfield, Mass., the child of two prominent German-immigrant families and scion of the Geisel brewery dynasty. The double whammy of World War I and Prohibition was a trauma, writes Pease, that Geisel spent the first part of his career working to exorcise. His anti-authoritarian streak was cultivated as editor of the Jack-O-Lantern, Dartmouth's humor magazine, from which he was fired for drunken shenanigans. Pease consistently refers to his subject as "Ted," "Geisel" or "Dr. Seuss" depending on the context, a device that works well in advancing his thesis: "Dr. Seuss was no longer reconstructing Ted's boyhood experience; in [The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins and The King's Stilts] he was teaching moral lessons. Geisel's democratic impulses and his liberal humanitarianism are evident in both works." Drawing on Geisel's writings and speeches as well as secondary sources both contemporary and retrospective, Pease drives his narrative forward, occasionally indulging in lit-crit gobbledygook (If I Ran the Zoo and If I Ran the Circus "both introduce a hypothetical frame that suspends the provenance of the adult's insistence on empiricallyverifiable reality"). For the most part, though, he argues his points cleanly, and his readings of his subject's books will engage readers. In his sparkling exegesis of The Cat in the Hat, the author interprets the Cat "as the activity of reading personified."A solid addition to the literature about one of the 20th century's most influential American writers.
Publishers Weekly - Library Journal
A celebrated academic and authority on Geisel's work, Pease presents a comprehensive look into the life of the artist and author best known as Dr. Seuss. Born into a prominent German family and raised in Springfield, Mass., young Geisel demonstrated his linguistic creativity early on, mixing German and English to create nonsense names for toys and imaginary animals; he also drew cartoons on the walls in every room of his childhood home, improbably encouraged by his mother. As a student at Dartmouth, Geisel had limited enthusiasm for his studies, but fell in love with the Jack-O-Lantern, the college newspaper he wrote for and edited. It was at the Jack-O-Lantern Geisel would develop the whimsical Dr. Seuss persona that would define his profession and, to a great extent, his life. On a tour of Geisel's prolific career (he was, among other roles, an advertiser and political cartoonist), Pease analyzes the appeal and impact of Geisel's game-changing children's books (The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat, etc.) clearly and succinctly; the intricacies of Geisel's tumultuous personal life provide a sobering counterpart. B&W photos.
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From the Publisher
"Highly engaging and eminently readable, this short yet comprehensive biography of the author of the some of the most popular children's classics of all time is bound to be of wide interest to anyone who grew up with them and would like to know more about the life and career of the man who was Dr. Seuss."
-Lawrence Buell, Harvard University

"Dr. Seuss is known to millions of grateful readers of all ages, but Theodore Geisel to far fewer. But, indeed, he was a major presence in the world of literature in the twentieth century, as Donald E. Pease Jr. makes abundantly clear in this thoroughly engaging, often brilliant, biography. It's an original work of scholarship as well as a book with narrative momentum. I learned a great deal from its pages, which has sent me back to Dr. Seuss-always a good place to land."
-Jay Parini author of The Last Station

"I'm glad that so many of Donald Pease's unique and revealing insights on Dr. Seuss—observations he shared with me on camera with an effusiveness and profundity quite unmatched—have found their way into book form. No one tells these tales of young Ted, Mr. Geisel, and Dr. Seuss, and makes the connections between the three of them, quite like Dr. Pease."
-Ron Lamothe, producer-director of The Political Dr. Seuss

"A solid addition to the literature about one of the 20th century's most influential American writers." — Kirkus

"The biography offers a succinct, thoroughly researched, and engaging introduction to one of children's literature most influential creators...The result is a smoothly integrated portrait that humanizes an American icon and will appeal to casual readers and researchers alike." — Booklist

"Lively little psychobiography...Pease nimbly demonstrates that Geisel's lessons for children and adults alike are that learning need not be tedious, brilliance need not be gratuitously complex, and moral lessons can be conveyed without scolding." —Daily Beast

"Offering a compelling treatment that is accessible to any reader...Highly recommended." —Choice

"Well researched biography. It is both a candid and a sensitive portrayal of an author and illustrator, revealing his pain and sensitivities from childhood to old age...This volume deserves a place in academic, public and school libraries. It is truly a treasure. Highly recommended." — Catholic Library World

"A distinguished addition to the "Lives and Legacies" series...Pease's sensitivity to the quality of linguistic play and the substance of the author's communitarian message demonstrates why Seuss's art has earned its continued admiration and universal respect." —Modern Fiction Studies

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199746002
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
03/10/2010
Series:
Lives and Legacies Series
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
4 MB

Meet the Author

Donald Pease is Professor of English, Comparative Literature, and African-American Literature at Dartmouth, the Avalon Foundation Chair of the Humanities, the Founding Director of the Futures of American Studies Institute at Dartmouth, and the Chair of the Dartmouth Liberal Studies Program.

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Theodor Seuss Geisel 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Overall the book was well written and insightful, but I felt it was more about analyzing his books than it was a biography of his life. There were details in there about his life, and how those events impacted his writing, but it was not really what I was expecting from a biography.
TEST NOOKUSER More than 1 year ago
i love this book. and im batman. nuff said
TEST NOOKUSER More than 1 year ago
with all my heart bebe