What is Dedication?

The idea of ​​dedication is used with respect to what implies or has dedication : the act and the result of dedicating. This verb, for its part, alludes to consecrating something to a divinity or to allocate or direct something to someone.

The most common use of the concept of dedication refers to the note that one person directs to another to offer a work or some kind of gift. In books, dedications are usually included at the beginning.

For example: “As an anniversary present, my husband gave me a beautiful bouquet of roses with a very affectionate dedication”, “The writer included the doctor who saved his life in the dedication of his new novel”, “Before interpreting the song, the artist made a dedication to the victims of the flood”.

A dedication allows you to offer or address a book to one or more individuals. Writers usually include a dedication that is printed between the first pages of the work: it can be addressed to family, friends, publishers, people who have helped you in the writing process, etc. It is also common for authors to write a dedication by hand when they give away one of their books or when a reader approaches them with a copy.

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Many times, a subject who gives a book to another dedicates it. In this case, the dedication is not a creation of the author, but of the person who acquires the work to give it away. A woman can buy a Stephen King book to give to her son, writing the following dedication on the first page: “My beloved son, I wish you a very happy birthday. I hope you enjoy this novel by your favorite author. He loves you, your mom. ”

Although it has not been determined who was the first person to create a dedication in the history of mankind, it is possible to find these little notes in many classic books. To cite one example, Maecenas (the Roman nobleman noted for having promoted the arts and been a protector of talented young poets) received several dedications from Virgil and Horace, two of his most renowned protégés.

We can also read the dedication that the poet and philosopher Tito Lucrecio Caro gave to Memio, one of his friends, in the only work attributed to him: « On the nature of things », in which he speaks in defense of the philosophy of Epicurus and the concepts of atomistic physics of Leucippus and Democritus. In the illustrated manuscript known as the 354 chronograph, there is a curious dedication accompanied by a striking drawing that shows two angels holding a sign on which the message itself is found.

Throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, this custom of authors continued, which consisted of making a dedication for their benefactors, as a way of thanking them for having given them so much support. In the 20th century, in certain non-academic intellectual circles, the dedication came to be considered a minor literary genre.

Since there are endless examples in which the authors of literary works used the dedication to obtain favors or with the aim of increasing their sales, the prestige of this type of thank you note has declined violently in recent times. Many writers have been known to include excessive flattery of kings and politicians in their books in an undeniably self-interested way, and such attitudes (or tactics, if you will) led many others to avoid the dedication altogether.

The French writer Antoine Furetière once pointed out that dedications had been invented by beggars, with the purpose of obtaining alms in exchange for praise, and this leads us to think about how thin the line between sincerity and interest can be.