Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Maurice + Marice (for Maurice, usually)

Maurice Sendak died today, as I'm sure you must all know by now, unless maybe you've been stuck out In the Night Kitchen or perhaps far, far away Where the Wild Things Are. Sendak was 83 years old and by his own account ready to leave this mortal coil and be rejoined with his brother Jack (despite being an atheist, he said, he fully expected to see such a reunion someday) along with his partner of fifty years, Dr. Eugene Glynn. Maurice Sendak was known for making provocative barbs and observations and one time declared: "I would infinitely prefer a daughter. If I had a son, I would leave him at the A&P or some other big advertising place where somebody who needs a kid would find him and he would be all right... Girls are infinitely more complicated than boys and women more than men. And there's no doubt about that. We just don't like to think about it. Certainly the men don't like to think about it. I have lived my whole life with a dream daughter..." This is a bit hard to comprehend given that his characters are almost always boys; however, people of all sexes, ages, and races adore Maurice Sendak. I once knew a little boy who had Wild Things completely memorized before he could even form the words properly: "Where the whaddy wah wah!" he would nightly exclaim. If Sendak had had a daughter, her name might have been Marice, which in the world of bibliographic databases is most likely to be a typo for Maurice. By combining both terms, we found eight examples in OhioLINK (one of which was a case of two correctly spelled names) and 139 in WorldCat.

(President Barack Obama, joined by First Lady Michelle, their daughters, Sasha and Malia, and Michelle Obama's mother, Marian Robinson, prepares to read Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak on Monday, April 13. 2009, to children at the White House Easter Egg Roll, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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