We explain what a dedication is, its origin and how it is classified. Also, what are its general characteristics and some examples.
What is a Dedication?
A dedication is a short note or text that heads a work of some kind : artistic, investigative, scientific or academic, that directs or offers it to one person or more, whose affective significance is considerable for the author.
In other words, it is an acknowledgment or gratitude that the author of the work extends to a person , place or group of people who are special to him and who, in general, have something to do with his personal history or with the history of the realization of the work in question.
Thus, an author can dedicate his work to life, to God, to the country, to his mother, to his father , to his partner, to the people, to his best friend, to the person who supported him, to a loved one that he is not there to receive it but that he would have liked, an old teacher who taught him the first steps of the trade, etc.
The dedications are usually very brief, in prose, literal or metaphorical , depending on the author’s taste. Some are part of the text of the work and others are added by hand on top of it (in the case of printed works), generally taking advantage of the courtesy white pages at the beginning of a book or manuscript.
Origin of the dedication
It is impossible to know who invented the dedication as such, but it is known that since ancient times it was used as a way to present the work to a friend or, in any case, to thank the patron for maintaining the poet while he wrote the work: such This is the case of the Latin poets Horacio and Virgilio, for example.
This last practice can be seen throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance , but already in modernity it was used in a different way, to thank the cooperation or support of those who accompanied the author or even to say that the work had to do with someone or with something expressly, with its influence, with its nature, etc.
The dedications of the books usually go to the beginning, before the text of the work begins , whether it is fiction, research , journalism or science . This dedication can be more or less elaborate, from a simple “For xxx” to a couple of lines that justify the dedication: “For xxx, for believing in me even when I didn’t.”
Book dedications usually go on a plain white sheet , without any accompaniment or numbering. In the case of stories or poems , on the other hand, the dedication usually goes under the title of the same, so as not to be confused with those of the others in the book.
Graduate theses and other major academic works such as research , monographs and others, also usually carry dedications.
These, as in books, usually go before the formal content of the work , between the preliminary pages: dedication, acknowledgments, table of contents, epigraphs. The dedications of the theses are not different from those of the books.
Movie dedications appear on the screen as plain text.
Many films have dedications. The curious thing about this is that they do not appear at the beginning, as in the rest of the formats, but appear at the end , when the film has just finished, as a culmination or closure of the work.
Unlike the rest of the film, they appear on the screen as simple text , without any reading voice or animation, on an empty box (black or white) or some fixed background.
In the case of musical works, the dedication cannot be noted anywhere , since the work is perceived in its execution and, although an explicit dedication is found in the score (the written musical text), the public who listens to the song you will not be able to read it.
That is why many times the dedication of a song ends up being its title , as in Beethoven’s sonata “Para Elisa” or in “Canción brava para un pueblo manso” by the Venezuelan popular singer Alí Primera.
The dedications of love usually have a poetic language.
The dedications of love are a cross between the dedication and the love poem , since they are intended to express to the person who “receives” the work all the love that the author feels for them.
They should be handled with care, however, as they could get out of step with the rest of the work and make it ugly , so keeping them short is recommended. However, they tend to have a somewhat poetic language . For example:
- “For xxx, whose company has been a light in my dark nights”
- “I dedicate this work to xxx, although it is little in exchange for the love it has given me”
- “A xxx, for the kisses and caresses that we still owe each other”
Dedications to God
Dedications to God often have a biblical and emphatic tone.
It is common for works that took a lot of effort, especially undergraduate or end-of-year academic works , to be dedicated to God as a way of giving thanks for the vital opportunity to complete them successfully. This is very common, of course, in believing people.
Dedications to God are no different from dedications to a spouse or friend , but they generally have a more biblical and emphatic tone, for example:
- “To God, creator of all things, for guiding my steps with success”
- “To God, more than anyone, for having given me strength when I didn’t have it”
- “I dedicate this work to God, Father and Lord, for never having forsaken me”
Dedications and thanks
Dedications and acknowledgments are not the same thing. In general, the dedication is simple and brief , and shows an emotional link with the person who receives it, sometimes “in code” or in a way that is not very explicit for the common people.
Instead, the acknowledgments of a work are literally that : a series of explicit thanks to those who deserve recognition for their participation, support or accompaniment during the making of the work.
The acknowledgments can be lengthy , even exceed a page, and they usually make it very clear why they are thanked, for example: “A xxx, for your careful and generous reading of the draft of that work.”
How to make a dedication
It is important that the dedication is understandable and without spelling mistakes.
A dedication is very easy: you decide which person, place or group of people deserve the work , that is, you should “receive” it as if it were a gift, something that will be very significant.
Then, depending on the format of the work (for this, the previous points can be seen) a line is placed at the beginning or end of the work that expresses that dedication : “For xxx” or “For my unforgettable partner, xxx”.
Whatever the case, it is important that the dedication is understandable, that it has the correct name of the recipient (or a nickname, or a secret name, if the dedication is “in code”) and that it does not have spelling or grammatical errors .
Examples of dedications
Some examples of famous dedications by writers:
- “To Enrique Jardiel Poncela, my greatest enemy, with the support, sympathy and affection of Enrique Jardiel Poncela.” .. there were once eleven thousand virgins by Enrique Jardiel Poncela.
- “I dedicate this book to my enemies, who have helped me so much in my career.” The family of Pascual Duarte de Camilo José Cela.
- “This is a work of fiction, and it is not dedicated to anyone.” Charles Bukowski’s Postman
- “To my wife Marganit, and to my children Ella Rose and Daniel Adam, without whom this book would have been completed two years earlier.” An Introduction to Algebraic Topology , Joseph J. Rothman
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