Robert Hughes has been a regular visitor to Barcelona since the 1960s and published a book about the city in 1992 that was quickly hailed as a classic. In Barcelona the Great Enchantress, Hughes crafts a more personal tale of his nearly forty-year love affair with the Spanish metropolis, one of the most vibrant and fascinating cities in Europe.
Beginning with a vivid description of his wedding in the splendid medieval ceremonial chamber in Barcelona's city hall, Hughes launches into a lively account of the history, art, and architecture of the storied city. He tells of architectural treasures abounding in 14th-century Barcelona, establishing it as one of Europe's great Gothic cities, while Madrid was hardly more than a cluster of huts. The city spawned such great artists as Antoni Gaudi, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, Salvador Dali, and Pablo Casals. Hughes's deep knowledge of the city is evident—but it's his personal reflections of what Barcelona, its people, and its storied history and culture have meant to him over the decades that sets Barcelona the Great Enchantress apart from all others' books.
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Robert Hughes was the long time critic for Time Magazine. He is the author of many books, including the best-selling Fatal Shore and his recent, critically acclaimed memoir Things I Didn't Know, as well as the originator and narrator of the highly acclaimed PBS television series Shock of the New and American Visions. A frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books, Hughes lives in New York City.From Publishers Weekly:
In this pared-down version of his acclaimed Barcelona (1992), art critic Hughes traces Barcelona’s progress from a burgeoning port city to the booming Catalan capital that roughly 1.5 million people call home today. Hughes’s portrait chronologically flutters from one century to another, shedding light on the city’s cryptic history in a way very few non-Catalans can. Hughes treats the city as if it’s his own, and his critiques are justified and insightful, drawing on personal anecdotes, excerpts of Catalan manuscripts and anti-Castilian decrees. It’s not the details of cataclysmic events like the plague of 1348 or the bitter suffocation forced upon Cataluña by Franco that make Hughes’s book worthwhile, but rather the accounts of small events that transformed "one enormous ashtray, covered in a mantle of grime and grit" into what is now an affable, colorful, modern hub. The author poetically weaves politics, food, architecture, sport, myths and music into a striking depiction of the great Catalan seaport. 8 b&w photos, 1 map.
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