By Robert Hughes
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780679743835, 592pp.)
Publication Date: March 9, 1993
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Barcelona is Robert Hughes's monumentally informed and irresistibly opinionated guide to the most un-Spanish city in Spain. Hughes scrolls through Barcelona's often violent history; tells the stories of its kings, poets, magnates, and revolutionaries; and ushers readers through municipal landmarks that range from Antoni Gaudi's sublimely surreal cathedral to a postmodern restaurant with a glass-walled urinal. The result is a work filled with the attributes of Barcelona itself: proportion, humor, and seny -- the Catalan word for triumphant common sense.
Born in Sydney, Australia, in 1938, Robert Hughes has been the art critic of Time since he moved from Europe to the United States in 1970. His books--The Shock of the New, The Fatal Shore, Nothing if Not Critical, Barcelona--have won many awards in Australia, America, and Europe, most recently
(1992) the international El Brusi prize for literature and communications given by the Olimpiada Cultural in Barcelona.
"Confirms...Mr. Hughes's authority as a first-rate chronicler and historian. The book is destined to become, like Forster's Alexandria and Mary McCarthy's Venice Observed, a classic."
--The New York Times Book Review
"Authoritative, carefully researched, and full of insights into the city's great heritage...his judgments are full of tolerant and good-humored fascination....There is no single volume in either Catalan or Spanish that approaches this book in scope or detail...a superb achievement and a great pleasure to read."
--Washington Post Book World
"Brilliant...an extraordinary book that combines history, criticism of the arts and architecture, and a profound sympathy for the moral essence of a people."
--New York Newsday