We all have some recollections of Dr. Seuss and in particular the unusual illustrations ( Theodor Geisel) which seemed to overshadow the narrative of the story. Nature was constantly bent, shaped and metamorphisized into hybrid living forms with unlikely and unexpected geometric forms. It was the art of exaggeration and simplification. There was Architecture with peculiar protrusions and mathematically challenging angles where linear symmetry was at a premium. These were some of the artistic signatures that Dr. Seuss illustrated in his sixty odd books and previous work as an advertising illustrator.
Like Dr. Seuss, Gaudí almost never used straight lines in his constructions. The Casa Batlló is, arguably, his most Seussian work. (Although, to be fair, it should be pointed out that the Casa Batlló was completed in 1877 exactly 50 years before Seuss published his first book). There’s something about this building that feels organic; to walk around inside it is to feel like one’s walking around the innards of some living creature. Indeed, locals refer to this building as the casa dels ossos (the house of bones). Known as the “Dr. Seuss” of masonry, Gaudi’s whimsical and dreamlike structures remain a testament of one of the most original and memorable architects of all time.
It is hard to determine exactly when Seuss came into contact with Gaudi, but his buildings certainly do share common features with those of Gaudi, who once replied to his detractors by stating that there were no straight lines in nature; as debatable as Gaudi’s beliefs may have been- his Roman Catholic beliefs were highyl linear!- they do tend to describe Seuss’s architecture: Curvy, meandering structures that draw on Art Nouveau, Surrealism, Gaudi and Escher that make imaginary worlds vibrate with an exoticism and a sense of the magical.
Seuss also shared with the avant-garde an attitude to language. For Seuss, language was not an inherited set of rules, but a world to be explored, even expanded. “Why use snarl when I can use snerl?” Nel asks. In On Beyond Zebra (1955), Seuss imagines an entire alphabet beyond Z, consisting of letters like YUZZ, ZATZ, FUDDLE, and FLUNN. Seuss, says Nel, “literally goes after language itself — going beyond portmanteau words to give us portmanteau letters.” Pointing out the arbitrariness of language, of course, is a subversive act, reminiscent of French surrealist Andre Breton’s declaration: “We make no claim to change the mores of mankind, but we intend to show the fragility of thought, and on what shifting foundations, what caverns we have built our trembling houses.”
Read More: http://www3.sympatico.ca/ian.g.mason/Seuss.htm a
…Seuss never adopted the cynicism that plagues many of today’s postmodernists. A successful American ad man rather than a bomb-throwing radical, he retained our trust as a mildly eccentric uncle with whom our children would come to no harm. Though he adopted radical, avant-garde techniques — surrealism, subversion of language, ambiguity — he employed them in constructive ways that encouraged children to see beyond the mental limits imposed by their society. Read More: http://www3.sympatico.ca/ian.g.mason/Seuss.htm