Dr Seuss is a gentleman who needs no introduction. He is one of the most well known children’s authors and cartoonists that has ever lived. Although his rise to fame was a difficult one, nevertheless he succeeded, and we can all be thankful for that. But without a doubt, the most difficult part of this once in a lifetime character is his name. It looks simple enough at first sight, but truth be known, we are pronouncing it wrong. So would you like to know the real pronunciation of Dr Seuss?
Before we get to how to sound out his name, we better first explain how he got it. The real name of the popular author was Theodor Seuss Geisel. His well known alias may never have eventuated had he not fallen foul of prohibition when he ws young.
In 1921 Theodor was attending Dartmouth College where he joined the school’s student humor magazine, the Dartmouth Jack-O-Lantern. Over a short period of time he rose through the ranks until he became editor-in-chief, but it wasn’t meant to last. Like most young men, even during the time of Prohibition, he wanted to experiment with alcohol. Now this is the problem. Alcohol was illegal at the time, and he had a position of authority and power within the magazine, any transgression could have damaged the reputation of the publication. It’s alright if you don’t get caught, but he did get caught. He was caught drinking gin with some of his friends in his room, and had to resign from his position. But he had a solution, one that’s used from time to time by other authors. He used a pseudonym, “Seuss,” which was just his middle name.
The real pronunciation of Dr Seuss.
Now as we have said, most of us have been pronouncing Seuss wrong all this time. When you read the name you tend to look at it and pronounce it the way that you were taught to read in English, but this is a German name. To say it in English it often comes out at “Sewss”. It looks right, and surely must sound right, but Seuss himself pronounced his name Soice, as in voice with a “S”. Alexander Liang, who was one of his fellow writers at the Dartmouth Jack-O-Lantern took it upon himself to write a short poem on how to pronounce Seuss’s name.
You’re wrong as the deuce
And you shouldn’t rejoice
If you’re calling him Seuss.
He pronounces it Soice!
But we’re a stubborn bunch, and we continued to say his name wrong, even when we had the real pronunciation of Dr Seuss explained to us. Eventually the good Dr started saying the mispronounced name himself, because everyone else already said it that way. He also felt that it was appropriate for a children’s author to be associated with mother goose.
…evoked a figure advantageous for an author of children’s books to be associated with – Mother Goose.