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    TheSevenLadyGodivas 372x500 The seven lady godivas NSFW???

    The Seven Lady Godivas: The True Facts Concerning History’s Barest Family is a picture book of the tale of Lady Godiva, written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss. One of Seuss’s few books written for adults, its original 1939 publication by Random House was a failure and was eventually remaindered. However, it later gained popularity as Seuss himself grew in fame, and was republished in 1987.

    Plot overview

    The book recounts the tale of not one, but seven Godiva sisters, all understandably nude. It opens with the sisters’ father, Lord Godiva, deciding to leave for the Battle of Hastings on horseback. This upsets the sisters, as horses are wild and untamed animals. Sure enough, before Lord Godiva manages to even leave the castle walls, he is flung from his horse and killed. As a tribute to their father’s fate, the Godiva sisters agree to never marry, despite the fact that each is courting one of seven brothers named Peeping, until they can warn their countrymen of the dangers of horses. The book then follows the sisters as they set out on individual quests for “horse truths”, which turn out to be well-known sayings involving horses.

    Publication history

    Seuss reportedly had misgivings about The Seven Lady Godivas before its publication; the drawing on the endpaper contains a small bucket of sap labeled “Bennett Cerf,” the name of Seuss’s publisher at Random House. Seuss, by calling Cerf a “sap”, was apparently implying that Cerf was being too nice in allowing the book to be published. The initial 1939 publishing had a print run of 10,000 copies, but only around 2,500 sold. Seuss himself called it his “greatest failure” and “a book that nobody bought”. The remaining copies were remaindered in the chain of Schulte’s Cigar Stores for twenty-five cents, though original editions now have been reported as selling at prices as high as $300.

    The book’s initial failure has been attributed to several factors: at two dollars, it was priced relatively high for the Great Depression era. Also, the book’s depiction of nudity, though it was intended for adults, led to cold reception.

    In 1974, Carolyn See wrote in Esquire that “America was feeling too blue to be cheered up by pictures of silly ladies”. Seuss said he tried to draw “the sexiest-looking women” he could, but they “came out just ridiculous”.

    The failure of The Seven Lady Godivas, Seuss’s fourth book, may well have led to his subsequent immersion into the world of children’s literature. He stated that he would “rather write for kids”, who were more appreciative, and was no longer interested in writing for adults. Indeed, his general contempt for adults is evident in his oft-repeated quote: “Adults are obsolete children, and the hell with them.”


    Personal Note – I remember finding this in my dads collection, when I was 9, and wondering why it wasn’t with all of our Dr. Seuss books. Not a bad story!

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