Do you ever read the dedications in the front of books? They are easy to skip over as you eagerly dive into a book. But they often give a glimpse into the heart of the author and to what or who is important to him or her. I remember reading some great book dedications — some eloquent, some succinct, some serious, and some witty.
I recently ran across a humorous book dedication online. It reads as follows:
My brilliant and beautiful wife without whom I would be nothing. She always comforts and consoles, never complains or interferes, asks nothing and endures all, and writes my dedications.” — Albert Paul Malvino, Electronic Principles
I never thought about books on electronics being dedicated to someone!
One of the textbooks in our MLF202 Intermediate French is an adaptation of the first part of Victor Hugo's novel Les Misérables. Designed to help people learning French, it is a simplified version from the Hachette publishing house.
Here is a translation of the dedication from the original Les Misérables:
So long as there shall exist, by reason of law and custom, a social condemnation which, in the midst of civilization, artificially creates a hell on earth, and complicates with human fatality a destiny that is divine; so long as the three problems of the century – the degradation of man by the exploitation of his labor, the ruin of woman by starvation, and the atrophy of childhood by physical and spiritual night – are not solved; so long as, in certain regions, social asphyxia shall be possible; in other words, and from a still broader point of view, so long as ignorance and misery remain on earth, there should be a need for books such as this.
In the world of book dedications, that one is quite powerful, and it definitely sets the tone for the book.
I enjoyed reading Shadow of the Almighty — The Life & Testament of Jim Elliot, by Elisabeth Elliot. It is a wife's biography of Jim Elliot, one of the five missionaries martyred by the Aucas, composed largely of things Jim wrote in letters and personal journals. The title of the book comes from Psalm 91:1 "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty," which you can clearly see, as you read the book, is what Jim did in his life. Her dedication of the book to their daughter Valerie, who was a small child when her father was martyred, is especially touching. It reads as follows:
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