Things I Didn't Know
By Robert Hughes
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780307385987, 416pp.)
Publication Date: December 4, 2007
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Robert Hughes has trained his critical eye on many major subjects, from the city of Barcelona to the history of his native Australia. Now he turns that eye inward, onto himself and the world that formed him. Hughes analyzes his experiences the way he might examine a Van Gogh or a Picasso. From his relationship with his stern and distant father to his Catholic upbringing and school years; and from his development as an artist, writer, and critic to his growing appreciation of art and his exhilaration at leaving Australia to discover a new life, Hughes’ memoir is an extraordinary feat of exploration and celebration.
Robert Hughes was born in Australia in 1938. Since 1970 he has lived and worked in the United States, where until 2001 he was chief art critic for Time, to which he still contributes. His books include The Shock of the New, The Fatal Shore, Nothing if Not Critical, Barcelona, and Goya. He is the recipient of a number of awards and prizes for his work.
“Riveting. . . . Marvelously entertaining. . . . Hughes’ portraits of people he knew in his youth often display the bravura touch that has distinguished his best journalism.” —The New York Times“[Hughes] deftly intertwines personal and cultural history in this fiercely erudite memoir. . . . A fascinating examination of artistic patrimony and the formation of a critic.” —The New Yorker“Splendid. . . . Hughes has turned his hand to autobiography, with predictably and gratifyingly rewarding results.” —The Washington Post Book World“Hughes is the sort of ebullient writer who floods his reader with great bursting accumulations of words and gets carried away with the sheer exuberance of his narrative. It is compelling. You don’t want to miss a sentence” —The Christian Science Monitor