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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Taste of a past age
To my shame, I didn't know of this book's existence until an Italian acquaintance asked about it. It describes perfectly the Italy of the Victorian, post-Garibaldi era. If you don't read Dickens for pleasure you may find his prose-style a little trying but keep going- it's worth the effort.
Published on 29 Aug 2009 by Diane Clifford

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3.0 out of 5 stars Reading for knowledge and pleasure
I have read quite a number of Charles Dickens books and found this book both informative and interesting and it gave me some insight into what it must be like to visit Italy.
Published 15 months ago by Johann Sebastian Bach


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Taste of a past age, 29 Aug 2009
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This review is from: Pictures from Italy (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
To my shame, I didn't know of this book's existence until an Italian acquaintance asked about it. It describes perfectly the Italy of the Victorian, post-Garibaldi era. If you don't read Dickens for pleasure you may find his prose-style a little trying but keep going- it's worth the effort.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Not what it claims to be!, 25 Jun 2013
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This is a review of the Kindle edition of Pictures from Italy and not of Mr Dickens magnificent travelogue. I bought the book on the strength of the notes, which turned out not to be there! The edition simply stops at page 187 of 235!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Reading for knowledge and pleasure, 17 April 2013
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This review is from: Pictures from Italy (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
I have read quite a number of Charles Dickens books and found this book both informative and interesting and it gave me some insight into what it must be like to visit Italy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Pictures from Italy, 27 Dec 2012
This review is from: Pictures from Italy (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
I read about this book in Claire Tomalin's biography of Dickens and was fascinated by the fact that it has been in print ever since it was published in 1846. I bought 3 copies. There is one illustration shown which is by Samuel Palmer. I do not know whether he illustrated the original edition. It would be fascinating to see them if he did. I have not yet finished reading the book but am thoroughly enjoying it. The explanatory notes to each chapter are very helpful.
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3.0 out of 5 stars More like a sketchpad than a picture book, 28 July 2010
This review is from: Pictures from Italy (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
Various sketches of Italy told by Dickens as an observant tourist. Useful insight on the atmosphere of Italy at the time and Dickens' writing process but otherwise lightweight.

As Dickens travels on a grand tour of Italy giving his take on the major sights, he makes it clear than this is in no way a guidebook but more a collection of impressions - each one a sketch of his experience. They have some of the same observation and wit of the characterizations in his novels but without the narrative drive this becomes simply a collection of notes. Many of them did find their in way into his stories in one form or another, but here they exist in the raw making it possible to see the workings of the artist's mind and technique more easily. So easily in fact that parts of the book were lampooned at the time.

Very little of what is written is truly memorable but it is evocative of a tourist Italy that has now passed away and anyone wishing to write about that period would do well to read this book, since if nothing else it is powerfully atmospheric. Where it fails however is that is only shows the people of Italy in a shadowy way. They are observed but without interaction so that the work becomes a series of vignettes that lack coherence other than the author's own journey, but since that is just a meander there is no storyline to speak of.

In the end this is a curiosity, it's quite useful to see parts of Dickens's thought process but ultimately this is just background to his major works.
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4.0 out of 5 stars book, 9 Feb 2010
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T. Craven "confused" (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pictures from Italy (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
This recounts Dickens'experiences in Italy (and France en route)and concentrates mainly on the northern part of the country. Dickens tries not to be judgemental about the country and does emphasise positive aspects, although his suspicion of the country's main religion is evident.
I found it an interesting read and was surprised at the way he seems to take travelling from England to Italy twice during a short period of time in his stride.Given the distances involved, weather conditions, and means of travel he must have been a hardy traveller.
The book covers the many towns/cities he visited but he does tend to concentrate on Rome and to a lesser extent Genoa. As a guide book I'm not sure about its present relevance, but it is a fascinating account of a mid ninetreenth century tourist.In Rome in particular we learn that mass tourism is not a late twentieth century phenomenon.
Never having read any Dickens before I found his style a bit difficult mainly because of his often lengthy sentences,punctuated with colons and semi-colons.
Overall I would recommend the book and await an 'In Dickens Footprints' travelogue or holiday offering.
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting, non-typical Victorian travel book., 22 Jan 2001
This review is from: Pictures from Italy (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
Pictures from Italy is a travelogue by one of the most eminent Victorian writers. It is interesting as it skips the works of art and the architecture of Italian cities ("which can be found in any Baedecker"), and focuses on their inhabitants and their costumes in xix century. The most beautiful pages are those dedicated to Rome, a city very similar to London, as the author points out. Another wonderful four pages are those that describe a dream called Venice as a surrealistic city. By reading his travelogue one learns something about the author of Oliver Twist.
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Pictures from Italy (Penguin Classics)
Pictures from Italy (Penguin Classics) by Charles Dickens (Paperback - 29 Jan 1998)
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