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[Detail] General view of harbor at San Juan, Porto Rico looking South.

Dedications

An author may dedicate a book to show esteem, gratitude, or affection for the dedicatee. In previous centuries, books were often dedicated to the author's patron, a person who provided monetary support while the book was being written. The dedication in such cases was sometimes fawning, describing the patron in glowing terms.

A careful reading of a dedication can provide some insight into the author. For example, the reader may make different assumptions if the author dedicates a book to a well-known liberal thinker rather than a renowned conservative thinker. Personal dedications can provide information about the author's family life.

Several books and pamphlets in the Puerto Rico at the Dawn of the Modern Age collection include author dedications. Find and read the dedications in the following documents. Because dedications are short, even those who do not read Spanish should be able to make a rough translation using a Spanish-English dictionary, print or online, of each dedication to get a sense of the author's intent:

To whom are these works dedicated? Many of the dedications are flattering. Why might this be the case? Which dedication do you find most informative in terms of providing some insight into the author?

Read some dedications in current nonfiction books. To whom are the works dedicated? How are the dedications similar to or different from the dedications in the works listed above?

Imagine that you are writing a nonfiction book about the history of your state. To whom would you dedicate the book? Why would you choose this person? What would you say about the person?