Pictures from Italy: A Whimsical Early Travelogue by Dickens, Newly Illustrated
By Maria Popova
In the 1840s, young Charles Dickens traveled to Italy and France with his family, recording the experience in a lesser-known early work that was part travelogue, part imaginative fairy tale. Now, Indian independent publisher Tara Books — whose exquisite handmade gems and whimsical children’s picture-books you might recall — has brought Pictures from Italy (public library; UK) back to life in a beautiful new edition, illustrated by Italian artist Livia Signorini in eleven striking full-color gatefolds inspired by Dickens’s impressions, complemented by beautiful full-page black-and-white closeups.
And let us not remember Italy the less regardfully, because, in every fragment of her fallen Temples, and every stone of her deserted palaces and prisons, she helps to inculcate the lesson that the wheel of Time is rolling for an end, and that the world is, in all great essentials, better, gentler, more forbearing, and more hopeful, as it rolls!
Images courtesy Tara Books
Published February 7, 2013