The research project
• The aim of the project “I margini del libro” is to study and catalogue dedications in the Italian tradition. Directed by Maria Antonietta Terzoli (University of Basel)
and financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation, this project was launched in Basel in August 2002 and works thanks to the collaboration of a group of young researchers.
The aim of this research is to attempt a first collection and a first historical and morphological survey of dedication texts, to identify its laws and conventions, its functioning mechanisms and strategies.
• With the exception of the important contribution by Gérard Genette, particularly significant from a theoretical viewpoint and specifically related to French literature (Genette 1987; on French dedications, see also Leiner 1965), this research field has hardly been gauged by literary critics. Altough very common in the Italian tradition, dedications have never been subject to a systematic, theoretical or historical survey, even though the topic has been touched upon marginally in essays on other subjects. The few contributions in Italian studies that deserve mention are very specialised, and focus on single authors. Some are included in the miscellaneous volume Strategie del testo 1995 that collects the proceedings of conferences organized by Gianfranco Folena in 1988 and 1989.
• Because our study falls within a field that has so far been little investigated, and never in a systematic manner, it can open up new research perspectives in literary historiography. For the purpose, we have created an Online archive of Italian dedications (AIDI), offering a data base in continuous growth to scholars, researchers and other people who may be interested in the subject. The use of new technologies collects in an ideal library documents, which are not always easily retrievable, and grants immediate access to them. Alongside the Online Archive, a number of relevant research materials and tools have also been devised: a specific Bibliography, a Glossary, an Events calendar, a Gallery and a Journal.