The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) recently awarded Ted Vrenkel, a University of Pittsburgh graduate student in the Department of English, a $50,000 grant in the field of American literature. The modest sum will fund Vrenkel’s current research project titled “Gleksonian dynamics of intrapersonal diffraction in ‘The Cat in the Hat,’” an innovative analysis of the classic but commonly misunderstood children’s book by Dr. Seuss.
“This seminal work of American pre-postmodernism has traditionally been analyzed using the Flennon-Psanti trans-metaromantic approach with traces of technocratic multi-variability,” Vrenkel explained, “but that approach disregards the third quasi-differential modality of Dr. Seuss’s anthropomorphic cat. My comprehensive analysis factors in all of that plus the cylindrical post-Einsteinian integrability of the cat’s hat, thereby promising the most thorough understanding of the book.”
With the book’s instant success upon its publication in 1957 came the heartfelt concerns of literary scholars that children may be overlooking the book’s deeper layers.
“We were worried that our kiddies weren’t picking up on the themes of neuro-humanistic cognitive impenetrability and neo-historical pseudocubism, without which the book is empty fluff,” said Peter Atro, chair of the Committee on Seuss Studies at Harvard. “Our colleague Glekson further complicated the matter by adding dynamics of intrapersonal diffraction to the list, which is why Vrenkel’s brilliant analytic approach is what all of us have long been thirsting for.”
As the committee’s work regains vigor, Atro and Vrenkel plan to collaborate on a children’s book on Gleksonian dynamics of intrapersonal diffraction in “The Cat in the Hat” that they hope will become required reading in all elementary schools.
“This long-awaited straightforward guide will at last allow children to appreciate the book for what it really is,” Atro said.
At the reception ceremony, Vrenkel thanked the NEH for the grant and promised not to let them down.
“The sanity and critical reading skills of American children used to be iffy,” he concluded solemnly. “They are now safe.”