Jose Carillo's Forum


This section features wide-ranging, thought-provoking articles in English on any subject under the sun. Its objective is to present new, mind-changing ideas as well as to show to serious students of English how the various tools of the language can be felicitously harnessed to report a momentous or life-changing finding or event, to espouse or oppose an idea, or to express a deeply felt view about the world around us.

The outstanding English-language expositions to be featured here will mostly be presented through links to the websites that carry them. To put a particular work in better context, links to critiques, biographical sketches, and various other material about the author and his or her works will usually be also provided.

Art critic takes on role of raconteur, knowledgeable guide to Rome

Whether you have already visited Rome or plan to visit it sometime soon, a book that can give you a much better and deeper appreciation of the place is Robert Hughes’s Rome (Alfred A. Knopf, 498 pages), a loving, trenchant, eminently entertaining but often savage critique of the Eternal City as a cultural marvel and popular tourist destination.

Rome By Hughes

Hughes takes on the role of an erudite raconteur and guide to the art, cultural, spiritual, and architectural attractions of the age-old city, drawing largely from his long personal acquaintance with it. An expatriate Australian, he had lived for a time in Italy in the 1960s before making London his home base as a writer and TV documentary filmmaker (he later moved to New York in 1970 to work as art critic for Time magazine.)

Says the Literary Review about Hughes’s Rome: “We enjoy reading Hughes precisely because he avoids that corseted coyness which characterises too much art history writing nowadays. Thankfully not having to worry about securing professional tenure at a university or gaining a coveted gallery curatorship, he can speak with the candour of a visceral enthusiasm, savaging mediocrity and rhapsodically defending excellence.”

Read an excerpt from Robert Hughes’s Rome in now!

Read Francine Prose’s “Robert Hughes Tours Rome” in The New York Times now!

Read Ingrid D. Rowland’s “The Crass, Beautiful Eternal City” in the New York Review of Books now!

Read Mary Beard’s review of Robert Hughes’s Rome in the Guardian of UK now!

Robert Hughes is an Australian-born art critic, writer, and television documentary maker who has made New York his professional and home base since 1970. He left Australia for Europe in 1964, living for a time in Italy before settling in London, England in 1965 to write for The Spectator, The Daily Telegraph, The Times, and The Observer. He moved to New York in 1970 where he took the position of art critic for Time magazine.

In “The Pump You Draw the Water From,” writer and journal editor Sven Birkerts writes about his personal encounters with writer’s block: “Though I don’t think of myself, touch wood, as a blocked writer, I will admit that the spells of sputter and balk — of hesitate, delete, and pause — have increased over the last decade, and the anxiety that is their shadow has grown accordingly. This is painful, as the vocation has over the years become ever more identified with the inner life.”

Read Sven Birkerts’s “The Pump You Draw the Water From” in the LA Review of Books now!

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