"Located" near the Landing by Thomas Nast, in Charles Dickens's Pictures from Italy, Sketches, and American Notes, fifth chapter, "Genoa and its Neighborhood," 18. Wood-engraving, 4 by 5 ¼ inches (9.8 cm high by 13.4 cm wide), vignetted.

Passage Illustrated: Dickens Arrives at Albaro

The first impressions of such a place as Albaro, the suburb of Genoa, where I am now, as my American friends would say, "located," can hardly fail, I should imagine, to be mournful and disappointing. It requires a little time and use to overcome the feeling of depression consequent, at first, on so much ruin and neglect. Novelty, pleasant to most people, is particularly delightful, I think, to me. I am not easily dispirited when I have the means of pursuing my own fancies and occupations; and I believe I have some natural aptitude for accommodating myself to circumstances. But, as yet, I stroll about here, in all the holes and corners of the neighbourhood, in a perpetual state of forlorn surprise; and returning to my villa: the Villa Bagnerello (it sounds romantic, but Signor Bagnerello is a butcher hard by): have sufficient occupation in pondering over my new experiences, and comparing them, very much to my own amusement, with my expectations, until I wander out again. [Chapter 5, "Genoa and its Neighborhood," 19]

Commentary: A Picture without an Accompanying Text

Dickens, who focuses on the streets and Genoa's general lack of sanitation, also finds the diversity of the people fascinating. Nast synthesizes Dickens's impressions of the busy port in order to introduce American readers to the city that served as the Dickens family's homebase for their Italian travels. Nast caricatures the Genoese rather than realistically describing and individualising them, but he successfully conveys a sense of the intense communal life of the street scene by means of the images behind the two central figures: a man in a straw hat and breeches washes his hands at the lion-headed water-fountain to the left; the outline of a donkey's head appears just up left; and, to the right, the presence of a monk establishes that this is definitely not a contemporary English scene.

Relevant Marcus Stone illustrations for Pictures from Italy

Related Material

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Dickens, Charles. Chapter 4, "Genoa and its Neighborhood." Pictures from Italy, Sketches by Boz, and American Notes. Illustrated by A. B. Frost and Thomas Nast. The Household Edition. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1877. 19-32.

_______. Pictures from Italy and American Notes. Illustrated by A. B. Frost and Gordon Thomson. London: Chapman and Hall, 1880. 1-381.

Orestano, Francesca. "Charles Dickens and Italy: The 'New Picturesque'.” Dickens and Italy: Little Dorrit and Pictures from Italy, ed. Michael Hollington and Francesca Orestano. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars, 2009. 49-67.

Created 7 May 2019

Last modified 7 June 2020