Things I Didn't Know by Robert Hughes
(Vintage)

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Synopsis

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.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Robert Hughes

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Robert Hughes was born in Sydney, Australia on July 28, 1938. He studied art and architecture at the University of Sydney. He pursued art criticism mostly as a sideline while painting, writing poetry and serving as a cartoonist for the weekly intellectual journal The Observer. He left Australia and spent time in Italy before settling in London, where he became a well-known critical voice and wrote for several newspapers. He was chief art critic for Time magazine for over 30 years. He wrote several books including The Fatal Shore, American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America, Culture of Complaint: The Fraying of America, Things I Didn't Know, and Rome. He also hosted an eight-part documentary about the development of modernism from the Impressionists through Warhol entitled The Shock of the New. It was seen by more than 25 million viewers when it ran first on BBC and then on PBS. He also wrote a book by the same name about the series. He died after a long illness on August 6, 2012 at the age of 74.
 
Published May 29, 2009 by Vintage. 418 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Things I Didn't Know

Kirkus Reviews

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Some highlights: the merry mortars he launches against the Australian press, his stories about Catholic boarding school, his account of Florence’s disastrous 1966 flood, his flops as a writer (he couldn’t finish a book on da Vinci), his swift report about his courtship by Time.

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The New York Times

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And there’s the popular historian Alan Moorehead, who became a kind of surrogate father figure to the young Mr. Hughes, and who encouraged him to leave Australia, warning him that were he to stay there, he ran the risk of becoming “a bore, a village explainer.” The most compelling — and most elus...

Dec 01 2006 | Read Full Review of Things I Didn't Know (Vintage)

The New York Times

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"Well, well, well,” William Burroughs drawls on encountering Matt Dillon in “Drugstore Cowboy.” “If it isn’t bad Bobby Hughes.” “Things I Didn’t Know” is the story of how another Bobby Hughes — or Robbie Huge, as Julian Schnabel nearly remembered him in his memoir — made good.

Sep 24 2006 | Read Full Review of Things I Didn't Know (Vintage)

The Guardian

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Things I Didn't Know by Robert Hughes (Vintage, £10.99) Both Robert Hughes's fans and his detractors may be interested to know of the precise role that chance played in shaping his career.

Sep 22 2007 | Read Full Review of Things I Didn't Know (Vintage)

The Guardian

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Things I Didn't Know by Robert Hughes Harvill Secker £25, pp416 Robert Hughes begins his autobiography, unusually, by describing his death.

Oct 22 2006 | Read Full Review of Things I Didn't Know (Vintage)

The Guardian

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Things I Didn't Know by Robert Hughes 395pp, Harvill Secker, £25 Robert Hughes goes to some lengths to present his career as an art critic as a series of happy accidents, but his book starts with an unhappy one: a car crash.

Dec 02 2006 | Read Full Review of Things I Didn't Know (Vintage)

BC Books

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While recovering from near-fatal physical injuries, Hughes was subject to vicious media attacks in Australia (where Rupert Murdoch has a Berlusconi-esque omnipresence in the news) on his way to a conviction for dangerous driving.

Dec 19 2006 | Read Full Review of Things I Didn't Know (Vintage)

London Review of Books

Later in this book, Hughes cannot resist relating how Frank Packer (‘the gross and meat-fisted capitalist who owned Australian Consolidated Press’) calmed the anxieties of a new secretary he’d seduced by offering her a black aniseed jelly bean as an oral contraceptive, even though he admits that ...

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Bookmarks Magazine

Robert Hughes—a Time magazine art critic, biographer, documentary maker, historian, and author of The Shock of the New (1981), The Fatal Shore (1987), and Goya ( 4 of 5 Stars Mar/Apr 2004)—offers an untraditional perspective on his 60-something years.

Aug 21 2007 | Read Full Review of Things I Didn't Know (Vintage)

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