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 August 2002 in Basel, and it is run by a group of young researchers. The purpose of this research ... more

The research subjects

• Dedication is a widespread practice. It can be found in works of very different nature, genres and forms. Whoever attempts a first survey of dedications, will immediately realise how ordinary and socially accepted, almost compulsory, this practice was in Italy throughout the 19th century. In fact, despite changes and metamorphoses, the practice of dedication continued successfully well into the 20th century. And yet, few readers would be able to say to whom even some of the most ... more


• The Online Archive of the Italian dedication (AIDI) provides access to a corpus of dedications in continuous growth. Each dedication is accompanied by a photograph from the original edition, a transcription of the text and a descriptive file. Relevant information is organized ... more


• The dedication bibliography offers for the first time a specific bibliography on the subject. It is organized in alphabetical order and may be useful to anyone who would like to tackle this genre. It includes ancient and modern works in different languages. It covers various traditions and cultural areas, but privileges studies about dedications to literary, philosophical and historical works in Italian. It is divided into three sections, Monographs and Essays (I), Texts (II) and Catalogues and Indexes (III).


• The dedication glossary provides an alphabetical list of terms functional to the consultation of AIDI, and useful to researchers working on dedications. The glossary consists of definitions either established during the course of this research project, or already existent in the ancient and modern bibliography on the subject, from which they have been drawn, adapted and/or modified. For the sake of clarity, definitions are supported by easily recognizable examples, and short bibliographical references (author's name, shortened title, year of composition or publication).


Events offers a full calendar of the scientific and didactic activities that we organize, and which are related to this research field. Single events (courses, seminars, and conferences) are accompanied by a programme, a bibliography, documentary materials, press reviews, and, when available, photographic documentation. The Calendar also announces events organized by other universities and institutions.


• The Gallery collects iconographic materials relevant to the subject of dedication and coming from different media sources. It consists of two sections: Iconography of the dedication and Portraits of the dedicatees. The former offers representations of scenes where offerings and dedications are performed. The latter collects in an ideal gallery the portraits of some of the dedicatees that are catalogued in AIDI.

The Journal

• The journal of Dedications is called „Margini“. It publishes essays in Italian and other languages (with abstracts in English), and texts and materials relevant to dedications from different traditions and cultural areas (literature, history, philosophy, art, music, etc.). «Margini» is an annual publication and the subscription is free.

• The journal includes three sections: Essays (unpublished contributions), Library (previously published ‘classics') and Wunderkammer (narrative texts on dedications, ancient treatises on dedications, dictionary entries, and curiosities).

Future perspectives

• A second phase of this project entails the completion of a history of the dedication (“Chapters for a history of the dedication”) together with an Anthology of exemplary cases and a CD-ROM. Drawing on the materials collected for the Online Archive, the volume will present a diachronic and typological study of dedications in the Italian tradition.

• The Anthology will complement the volume with relevant documents: hard-to-find-texts that are now scattered in different works will become easily accessible also in printed format. The CD-ROM could offer a version of the on-line Archive at the stage finalised by that time.