A title from The Old School Press 

An Italian Dream

Charles Dickens thinks he has been to Venice, but isn't sure

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About the book

In print

Some years back I came across a wonderful description of the interior of St Mark's Basilica in Venice and discovered it had been written by Charles Dickens. It didn't take too much help from various search engines to discover that it was from his book Pictures of Italy and to find the text, in particular of chapter VII, online at Project Gutenberg. I squirrelled it away planning to print it when the opportunity arose, and finally that moment came.

In this chapter, Dickens describes his visit to La Serenissima as if remembering a dream that happened between two other, more prosaic stops on his tour. 'In the luxurious wonder of so rare a dream, I took but little heed of time, and had but little understanding of its flight. But there were days and nights in it; and when the sun was high, and when the rays of lamps were crooked in the running water, I was still afloat, I thought: plashing the slippery walls and houses with the cleavings of the tide, as my black boat, borne upon it, skimmed along the streets.'

About the edition

I had the text set automatically from the digital copy in 12pt Poliphilus by Harry McIntosh at Speedspools. Poliphilus is a type based closely on that cut by Francesco Griffo and used for Aldus Manutius's Hypnerotomachia Poliphili which was published in Venice in 1499. I printed the text on a dampened hand-made paper from Cartiera Amatruda in Amalfi, a stock of which I bought from Christopher Skelton's estate some years back. Complementing that are end-papers of a burgundy-coloured Magnani Firenze, another Italian hand-made. The book consists of a single section of 16pp sewn into boards. The front cover carries a photograph, digitally manipulated, that I took on a rather misty day from Dorsoduro, towards San Giorgio, though the latter was not to be seen through the mist. The edition is 135 copies. The price is 36.

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Copyright Martyn Ould 2023