See an Early Work From Dr. Seuss called 'The Pocket Book of Boners'

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Dr. Seuss is best known for children’s literature, but the writer and cartoonist does have some adult titles to his name which still carry a distinct attitude of juvenalia—though maybe not in the way you might think. 

In 1931, Seuss was a contributing illustrator for a book called Boners. Before you feel your childhood crumbling beneath you, “boner” was once a word somewhat synonymous with “blooper.” It’s a "collection of schoolboy wisdom, or knowledge as it is sometimes written, compiled from classrooms and examination papers." In other words, a collection of bad answers from students, such as, “People go to Africa to hunt rhinostriches” or “The people in Iceland are Equinoxes,” or “King Arthur collected all the fine brave good-looking young men of his time and called them The Knuts of the Round Table.” (That isn’t to say there aren’t things to be offended by in the work, as it does contain some instances of surprising racism.) 

Seuss illustrated one of the sequels to Boners, called More Boners, and eventually four short titles were packaged together as The Pocket Book of Boners in 1941. If you haven’t gotten enough of the word, Still More Boners, Prize Boners, The Omnibus Boners, The 2nd Boners Omnibus, and Bigger & Better Boners were other books in the series. The Pittsburgh Press even noted the boner trend with a piece headlined, “Craze for Boners Stages Comeback in Recent Book.”

See some of the trademark Seussian illustrations below and if so inclined, you can invest in a copy via eBay.


[h/t Kottke.org]

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June 25, 2015 - 2:00am
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