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Kevin Cryan
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Robert Hughes's memoir.
« : 22.09.07 at 09:22 »
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Robert Hughes's 2006 memoir, Things I Didn't Know, is Nicholas Lezard's paperback choice in the Review section of The Guardian today.  
 
Extract
 
..........here is the memoir of a young man's education, sentimental and intellectual, of a kind that will be familiar to those who have read Clive James's autobiographies. I'm afraid the comparison is unavoidable: contemporaries at Sydney University, they are both muscular humanist writers, confident of their opinions, intolerant of bullshit (as they see it), and both, if my memory of James's oeuvre serves me correctly, in Florence, or nearly there, at the time of the floods of 1966. (At least one anecdote about the destruction is told by each man.)
 
But Hughes is a less showy stylist than James, no less anxious to produce something readable and useful, but a little less anxious to please. In fact, there is a great curmudgeonliness in Hughes that surfaces from time to time, and results in his being occasionally branded as an "elitist" in his native country. No less traumatic than his car accident were the legal proceedings that followed it, and the first chapter ends with a ringing denunciation of the hypocrisy and fabrications of the Australian media.
 
.............

 
Things I Didn't Know
 
Robert Hughes
 
ISBN13: 9780099501435  
ISBN10: 0099501430
   
Offer Price: 9.99
   
RRP: 10.99  
 
Availability: In stock, usually despatched within 24 hours.
   
Publication Date:: 27/09/2007
   
Format: Paperback  
Publisher: VINTAGE  
 
Publisher's description
Gives us an account of the author's early life, up until the time he quit Australia for the United States. Part memoir, part history lesson, part philosophical tract, the author uses his own experiences to examine the nature of art, war, sex, religion-writing and life itself.  
 
Guardian Bookshop
 
 
 
Kevin Cryan
 
PS.
Geoff Dyer's New York Times review, published almost a year ago to the day, is less admiring of Hughes's writing, but interesting to read nonetheless.
 
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Murray McGlew
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Re: Robert Hughes's memoir.
« Reply #1: 21.12.10 at 01:50 »
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I've just read a book (a few years old now) by another contemporary of Hughes and James, "Josh Hartnett Definitely Wants to do This" by Bruce Beresford.
 
It isn't, as I'd supposed, an autobiography but extracts from a diary over a couple of years during which time he makes no films but does endless work on one doomed project after another. An entertaining read, although it leaves me wondering how anything worthwhile ever gets made. Beresford wonders similarly at various times in the book.
 
Beresford of course gets many mentions in the Unreliable Memoirs series, and such is the overlap in chronology he must have been well known to Pete as well. Both our boys get mentioned, including some musing along the lines that Andrew Lloyd Weber didn't have a decent librettist for much of his career, and he would have done well to have used Clive James if only he (Weber) had known about his (James') excellent work with Pete Atkin.
 
The eternal problem that a director faces apparently is that no on will put up money for a film unless some big stars are signed, and no big stars will sign unless the money is committed.
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