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Pictures from Italy (Penguin Classics) Paperback – July 1, 1998

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

This book is in Electronic Paperback Format. If you view this book on any of the computer systems below, it will look like a book. Simple to run, no program to install. Just put the CD in your CDROM drive and start reading. The simple easy to use interface is child tested at pre-school levels.

Windows 3.11, Windows/95, Windows/98, OS/2 and MacIntosh and Linux with Windows Emulation.

Includes Quiet Vision's Dynamic Index. the abilty to build a index for any set of characters or words. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Landport, Portsea, England. He died in Kent on June 9, 1870. The second of eight children of a family continually plagued by debt, the young Dickens came to know not only hunger and privation,but also the horror of the infamous debtors’ prison and the evils of child labor. A turn of fortune in the shape of a legacy brought release from the nightmare of prison and “slave” factories and afforded Dickens the opportunity of two years’ formal schooling at Wellington House Academy. He worked as an attorney’s clerk and newspaper reporter until his Sketches by Boz (1836) and The Pickwick Papers (1837) brought him the amazing and instant success that was to be his for the remainder of his life. In later years, the pressure of serial writing, editorial duties, lectures, and social commitments led to his separation from Catherine Hogarth after twenty-three years of marriage. It also hastened his death at the age of fifty-eight, when he was characteristically engaged in a multitude of work. Public grief at his death in 1870 was considerable: he was buried in the Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey.

Kate Flint is Professor of English at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. She is author of The Woman Reader, 1837-1914 (1993) and The Victorians and the Visual Imagination (2000), and has published widely on nineteenth and twentieth century literary and cultural history. She is currently completing The Transatlantic Indian 1776-1930.

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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (July 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140434313
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140434316
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,283,385 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By James Paris on May 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
I don't think I'd like to have Charles Dickens as my travelling companion. He's always on the go, seemingly preferring an enclosed carriage careening down the road to mixing it with the natives (he makes one exception for Genoa, where he spends twelve months). And he makes virtually no mention of his wife, to whom refers at one point as accompanying him, but who therupon disappears as surely as if she had fallen down a well. Finally, as a Roman Catholic, I would spend my trip grimacing at his observations of my faith.
The people appearing in PICTURES are almost entirely people encountered enroute, including postilions, innkeepers, guides, soldiers, and the like. He does not appear to have entertained any intention of interviewing writers, political leaders, prelates, or others. It is as if I took a trip through the U.S. and wrote only about bus drivers, service station attendants, traffic cops, and ticket takers.
And yet, and yet, it is obviously the great Charles Dickens writing this book. The writing is superb even if the subject matter is strangely limited. I was entertained, dismayed, and befuddled all at the same time. Comparing it to something like Mark Twain's INNOCENTS ABROAD or ROUGHING IT, however, I feel it is Twain who comes out ahead. Dickens, it seems, forgot to create any memorable characters.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Malcolm Cameron on April 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
'Pictures from Italy' is a gem of travel writing. What travel writing should be about; how travel has both changed and stayed the same since 1844; how modern travel writing has degraded.

These are reminiscences by Charles Dickens as he traveled from London to Florence in 1844. Namely from London, to Paris, Lyons (commencing in a four horse carriage, complete with 24 bells on each horse and one postilion being a person riding the leading left-hand horse instead of a coachman), by boat down the Rhone to Avignon, and then variously to Aix, Marseilles, Genoa, Nice, Parma, Modena, Bologna, Ferrara, Verona, Mantua, through the Pass of Simplon into Switzerland, to Rome by Pisa and Siena, then Naples and finally Florence.

Such a trip "from London in about nine to ten days" Dickens noted compared to "Eighteen hundred years ago, the Roman legions under Claudius protested against being lead...urging that it lay beyond the limits of the world". Dickens was, in a sense, a real traveler within the environment compared to today's traveler who should be awarded a degree of Bachelor of Freeway Construction by counting the 178 tunnels between Italy and Monaco for example.

Unlike modern travel writing Charles Dickens provides critical comment such as "Much of the romance of the beautiful towns and villages...[along the Riviera and in Genoa]...disappears when they are entered...the inhabitants... are like a population of Witches - except that they are certainly not to be suspected of brooms or any other instrument of cleanness".

Travel for Dickens is history, true journalism, real and critical comment. Not the modern Hollywood entertainment of Julia Roberts "Eat, Pray, Love" as in 'reconnecting with the true inner self'(!).
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By C. M Mills on December 26, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
He left the London fog for the canals of Venice, the museums and statues of Florence, the churches and ruins of Rome and the glory of the Italian Mediterranean sun! He was Charles Dickens the greatest British novelist of the Victorian era. In 1846 Dickens and his family decided to spend several months in Italy where the great author could write and explore the wonders of the Italian boot.
Dickens was not the first or the last British author to love Italy. Just think of such literary luminaries as Frances Trollope, D.H. Lawrence
and EM Forster to name a few. Dickens gives us pictures in words of all the major cities and sights. After reading this short (just over 200 pages long) travel book the reviewer learns from Dickens that:
1. The cities and towns were usually run-down and the people encountered were poor. Dickens says little about Italian cuisine.
2. Rebellion against the monarchy was already in evidence in 1846. Several years later Garibaldi would lead a major Italian revolution.
Dickens was a committed democrat who favored constitutional monarchy such as was the practice in his native England.
3. Dickens disliked many aspects of the Roman Catholic Church as he witnessed it in Italy.
4. He includes many anecdotes regarding the mule and cart travel in upland Italy. Travel was often dangerous and slow.
5. Dickens was an early riser and walker enjoying touring on foot the major attractions.
This work is shorter and not as interesting as his "American Notes for General Circulation" but it is a window into the mind of a creative genius who relished new sights, sounds and smells. Viva Italia! Viva Dickens!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D. James on December 19, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This account of Dickens's year in Italy with his family,1844-5, is an insight into the man's all-round appreciation of fresh sights and a different culture. From Genoa to Naples, from his horror at witnessing a public execution to his jesting at commedia theatre, from visiting the Pope to what purports to be Juliet's bedroom Dickens is full of fun and insight.
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