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Needs No Thanks

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A selection of recent book dedications, the last two from the same novel: a prize for guessing who it’s by.

‘I’d like to thank my girlfriend… who travelled with me while I did the field work, and read through the whole manuscript at stages. Admittedly she was paid handsomely in fine Italian wine.’

‘In Memoriam Matris’

‘To Barack and Michelle Obama, and the future of American art’

‘To complainers everywhere’

‘to mine enemies, without whom none of this would have been possible’

‘Animals possess a purity that exceeds even that of children and they have much to teach us, if only we will cease our arrogance and listen. I am grateful to my late dogs, Nicky, Wendy and Tiger, and my late cats, Percy, Emily, Toby, Big Syd and Homer Wells Lamb.’

‘I would like to dedicate this book to the word “humility”.’

‘I would also like to give my thanks to Jane Austen. Childless, like so many of the great feminists, she is nonetheless the mother, I believe, of “the line of sanity” that so characterises the English novel.’

‘Shakespeare, defying all rules and properties as usual, needs no thanks from this writer.’

Comments on “Needs No Thanks”

  1. Niall Anderson says:

    I’m guessing they’re from the The Pregnant Widow.

  2. I’m guessing item 6 is from JM Coetzee. Or not.

  3. jcclakeru says:

    I think the line of sanity has been crossed.

  4. Niall Anderson says:

    Do I win a prize, then? Or is the LRB just adumbrating the prize-giving impulse, rather than advocating it?

  5. Niall Anderson had correctly identified Martin Amis’s new novel, winning a voucher to the LRB bookshop.

  6. Niall Anderson says:

    I’d just like to give thanks to Philip Roth. Childless, like most of the great misogynists, he is nonetheless the father, I believe, of “the archetypal ballbreaker” that so often populates the modern American novel by men of a certain age.

  7. A.J.P. Crown says:

    Who wrote the “fine Italian wine” and “Animals possess a purity” ones?

  8. A.J.P. Crown says:

    Does anyone besides me read old posts?

  9. A.J.P. Crown says:

    Oh, come on Deborah Friedell, put me out of my misery. I know you’re in there somewhere.

  10. I’m sorry to tell you that we’ve decided not to shame these writers by name (either that or I no longer remember).

  11. A.J.P. Crown says:

    And googling the phrase only brings me back here. Actually, I quite like the animal one; I see nothing shameful in dedicating one’s books to a dog. You really should be encouraging that kind of thing.

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