Thursday, 15 July 2010

On book dedications

Book dedications are generally a pretty bland affair. From time to time, you come across a humorous or poignant dedication. C. S. Lewis dedicated a book to his close friend Owen Barfield, "wisest and best of my unofficial teachers". One of Tim Winton's novels bears the beautiful dedication to his wife, "Denise, Denise, Denise". But in exceedingly rare instances, there have actually been dedications that are works of art in their own right. One of the most moving and powerful is the dedication to Charles Olson's great essay in literary criticism, Call Me Ishmael (1947). This was Olson's first book; his father had died several years earlier; the dedication page reads:

O fahter, fahter
gone amoong

O eeys that loke

Loke, fahter:
your sone!


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