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Dr Seuss’ adult book – The Seven Lady Godivas

The wonderful Brainpickings blog brought my attention to a Dr. Seuss book I was not familiar with – The Seven Lady Godivas: The True Facts Concerning History’s Barest Family.

It’s a picture book about the Lady Godiva legend and it was produced for the adult market. As all good history students know Lady Godiva rode naked through the streets of Coventry to protest against her husband’s taxes. Later versions of this story gave us the term ‘peeping tom’. Apparently, the Seuss book flopped in 1939 but was republished in 1987. AbeBooks has both editions, including a 1939 copy inscribed to Seuss’ wife’s piano teacher.

Why did the original book fail to sell? Who knows? Was it the pre-war mood in America, or adult material simply wasn’t his forte? His story features seven Godiva sisters who are always naked and they are all courting men called Peeping.

Today we see all methods of protest but Godiva’s naked ride through the city still remains the most original. You can find a large statue of Godiva in Coventry city centre – comedians regularly add accessories on Friday and Saturday nights around 2.30am.

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