CFP: The Cat in the Hat at 50 (3/1/07; MLA '07)

full name / name of organization: 
Philip Nel
contact email: 

Session at the Modern Language Association's annual meeting in
Chicago, December 27-30, 2007.
Sponsored by the MLA's Children's Literature Division.

        The Cat in the Hat (1957) turns 50 in 2007. Seuss wrote the
book in response to the "Why Johnny Can't Read" crisis of the 1950s:
within two years of its publication, The Cat was already being hailed
as "the most influential first-grade reader since McGuffey." The book
inaugurated Random House's Beginner Books series, which included
Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham (1960), P.D. Eastman's Go, Dog. Go!
(1961), and Stan and Jan Berenstain's The Big Honey Hunt (1962) — the
first in their long-running Berenstain Bears series. More
importantly, the success of The Cat enabled Seuss to write for
children full-time. (Though The Cat was Seuss's twelfth children's
book, his primary source of income was advertising.)
        Over the past 50 years, the Cat has starred in two animated
cartoons, one feature film, a Broadway musical, and Robert Coover's
satirical novella "The Cat in the Hat for President" (1968). He has
appeared in political cartoons and on two U.S. postage stamps, has
marched in parades, and serves as the mascot for the National
Education Association's Read Across America Day. The Cat has sold
over seven million copies in English, and has been published in over
a dozen other languages. Along with the Grinch, the Cat is the
character most closely associated with Dr. Seuss.
        This panel invites submissions related to any aspect of The
Cat in the Hat and its legacy. Topics may include but are not limited
to: influence, adaptations, translations, reception, historical and
cultural contexts, childhood, education, reading primers (including
other Beginner Books), and Seuss as editor (he served as President of
Beginner Books, and until the early 1970s remained actively involved
as an editor).
        By 1 March 2007, please send a one-page abstract to: Philip
Nel, English Department, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
66506-6501 (
        Panelists will need to be members of the MLA by 1 April 2007.

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Received on Sun Jan 28 2007 - 15:00:49 EST