I am pleased to announce the publication of my new book, Tender, Tawdry & Timeless Book Dedications.
Yes, I advocate by day to end workplace discrimination, bullying and abuse but at night I engage in the gentler pursuit of collecting book dedications. There are many surprising human stories behind book dedications, old and new, and they tell us much about the times. Most of the dedications in this collection are accompanied by commentary about why the dedication is significant or what was happening in the life of the author. Book dedications reflect humor, drama and even mystery.
Who knew that Dr. Seuss and his wife couldn’t have children and so he created imaginary children to dedicate his books to? Most readers pass by the book’s dedication page with nary a glance but not England’s former reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth. She was so incensed about a book dedication in 1599 that it almost cost the dedicatee, the Earl of Essex, his head. Following the tragic suicide of poet Sylvia Plath, her book was republished by her ex-husband but Plath’s book dedication had mysteriously vanished.
This collection features book dedications that span the ages, from lovely Elizabethan stanzas to the sometimes tawdry dedications of authors in more recent times. Perhaps the most beautiful book dedication of all time was written by the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who shortly thereafter abandoned the recipient – his pregnant wife – for another woman. But there also are many book dedications that do reflect timeless love. One contemporary author dedicated all of his books to his wife when she was living and, after she died, he dedicated a book in her honor. By contrast, the nadir of book dedications surely occurred in 1992 when an American rapper dedicated his memoir to his private body part. (He reportedly regrets it!)
Tender, Tawdry & Timeless Book Dedications is a fun excursion through literature’s back streets and alleyways. It’s available as an ebook and in paperback. I hope you enjoy it … and please share this news with your friends!