Friday, March 02, 2007

Art Blogging on Request: Dr. Seuss

Keith McIlwain e-mailed to request that I artblog about Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904-1991) an American illustrator and poet on the occasion of his birthday. That is a very sensible and timely suggestion. Thanks, Keith!

Geisel was born in Massachusetts, the son of German immigrants. He graduated from Dartmouth, where he adopted the pen name 'Dr. Seuss' and began writing for humor magazines. After dropping out of a doctoral program at Oxford, he returned to the US and engaged in commercial illustration. Geisel published his first children's book And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street in 1937. He served in the US Army during WWII as an illustrator and animator. Geisel's reputation surged during the 1950s and he published numerous children's works such as The Cat in the Hat. He died in 1991 from cancer.

Illustration from Green Eggs and Ham (1960). Seuss was most famous for his fuzzy, amorphous and playful creatures speaking and acting in rhyme. This book, according to legend, was written when a publisher bet Seuss $50 that he couldn't write a book using no more than fifty words. Seuss won.

Seuss, a staunch anti-fascist, created numerous political cartoons, especially during the war.

Seuss also created a number of widely-used military training and propaganda films during the war, such as the famous Your Job in Germany, in which he worked with Frank Capra.


Vicki said...

Thanks, John, for artblogging on Dr. Seuss. He and my son share a birthday, and, as a child, my son was fascinated by his humorous rhyming books. He still treasures his complete collection of the children's books, although at 23, he wouldn't be caught dead reading one!

Jeff the Baptist said...

Don't forget his involvement with the Private Snafu training films he help write and produce with such Warner Bros. notaries as Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, and Bob Clampett. Snafu was voiced (of course) by Mel Blanc.

Keith McIlwain said...

Very nice...thanks! Good job! Love his work, and I was unaware of its diversity!

View from the Trekant said...

"They were brought up on propaganda, products of the worst education in the world . . ."

Replace "Germany" with some "Radical Islamic terrorism" and the same points can be made.

John said...

YouTube has lots of good Pvt. Snafu videos available. I hadn't know that Seuss was involved.