Charles Dickens in Italy

180px-Picturesfromitaly_titlepageIn 1844 Charles Dickens went to Italy for a year. Based in Genoa, he travelled around, going as far south as Paestum, and published a book on his travels, Pictures from Italy  (1846) in which he refrained from commenting on the government of the country (courtesy to his hosts) and on its art (too much published already). He hoped for readers who were fair (complexion), very cheerful (eyes), not supercilious (nose), smiling (mouth), beaming (visage) and extremely agreeable (general expression). But apart from welcoming  Dickens the man, how did Italians like his novels? This question has been addressed in a monumental two-volume survey, The Reception of Charles Dickens in Europe, (Bloomsbury 2013), edited and introduced by Michael Hollington (ex-UNSW). It is reviewed at length in this week’s TLS (April 11, pp. 12-13), where the reviewer notes the editor’s regretful demolition of the claim, made in an untraceable Kazakh journal by an unidentifiable author, that Dickens met Dostoevsky in London in July 1862.

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One thought on “Charles Dickens in Italy

  1. barbara pezzotti says:

    Very interesting, indeed. I have recently come across a book entitled “The Mammoth Book of Journalism”. Among the articles included in this collection there is Dickens’s “A man is guillotined in Rome” taken from “Pictures from Italy”. A fine piece of writing. Let’s say Dickens was not impressed by the state of justice in Rome in those times. I am now curious to know what the Romans thought about Dickens…

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