Baroque New Worlds: Representation, Transculturation, Counterconquest

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Baroque New Worlds traces the changing nature of Baroque representation in Europe and the Americas across four centuries, from its seventeenth-century origins as a Catholic and monarchical aesthetic and ideology to its contemporary function as a postcolonial ideology aimed at disrupting entrenched power structures and perceptual categories. Baroque forms are exuberant, ample, dynamic, and porous, and in the regions colonized by Catholic Europe, the Baroque was itself eventually colonized. In the New World, its transplants immediately began to reflect the cultural perspectives and iconographies of the indigenous and African artisans who built and decorated Catholic structures, and Europe’s own cultural products were radically altered in turn. Today, under the rubric of the Neobaroque, this transculturated Baroque continues to impel artistic expression in literature, the visual arts, architecture, and popular entertainment worldwide.

Since Neobaroque reconstitutions necessarily reference the European Baroque, this volume begins with the reevaluation of the Baroque that evolved in Europe during the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth. Foundational essays by Friedrich Nietzsche, Heinrich Wölfflin, Walter Benjamin, Eugenio d’Ors, René Wellek, and Mario Praz recuperate and redefine the historical Baroque. Their essays lay the groundwork for the revisionist Latin American essays, many of which have not been translated into English until now. Authors including Alejo Carpentier, José Lezama Lima, Severo Sarduy, Édouard Glissant, Haroldo de Campos, and Carlos Fuentes understand the New World Baroque and Neobaroque as decolonizing strategies in Latin America and other postcolonial contexts. This collection moves between art history and literary criticism to provide a rich interdisciplinary discussion of the transcultural forms and functions of the Baroque.

Contributors. Dorothy Z. Baker, Walter Benjamin, Christine Buci-Glucksmann, José Pascual Buxó, Leo Cabranes-Grant, Haroldo de Campos, Alejo Carpentier, Irlemar Chiampi, William Childers, Gonzalo Celorio, Eugenio d’Ors, Jorge Ruedas de la Serna, Carlos Fuentes, Édouard Glissant, Roberto González Echevarría, Ángel Guido, Monika Kaup, José Lezama Lima, Friedrich Nietzsche, Mario Praz, Timothy J. Reiss, Alfonso Reyes, Severo Sarduy, Pedro Henríquez Ureña, Maarten van Delden, René Wellek, Christopher Winks, Heinrich Wölfflin, Lois Parkinson Zamora

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Because it provides a masterful synthesis of the field (and because it offers the first published translations of essential works written in Spanish, French, and Portuguese), the anthology (29 essays in total) is sure to become a mandatory first stop for all scholars of the Baroque. . . . Baroque New Worlds is a groundbreaking contribution for the study of transatlantic cultures,
and unusual attention to detail and presentation makes Zamora and Kaup’s volume user-friendly. . . . Baroque New Worlds reminds us that, in addition to compiling and reprinting texts, an anthology can be an intellectual tour de force in its own right.” - Antonio Barrenechea, Comparative American Studies

“Representing a step forward in understanding a tradition still productive in its multiplicity, this inclusive, sophisticated book highlights the trajectory of the baroque, which is sometimes submerged or ignored, but always developing into richer, more complex artifacts. Recommended.” - O. B. Gonzilez, Choice

“Zamora and Kaup's book represents a new refashioning of the term Baroque, as well as usefully engaging the term ‘Neo-Baroque’ that reinvigorates and resituates discussions in the field of aesthetics and cultural criticism.” - Pamela H. Long, The Comparatist

Baroque New Worlds: Representation, Transculturation, Counterconquest is an important and often captivating anthology that brings together key thinkers and formative writings on the aesthetic, political, and cultural dimensions of the Baroque. Embracing a transhistorical approach, Lois Parkinson Zamora and Monika Kaup develop a rich understanding of the labyrinthine and slippery nature of the Baroque—from its European origins, to its adaptation within a New World context, to its Neobaroque metamorphosis in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. This is a meticulously edited work that promises to become a key text on the Baroque and Latin American culture.”— Angela Ndalianis, author of Neo-Baroque Aesthetics and Contemporary Entertainment

Baroque New Worlds demonstrates the great and continuing usefulness of ‘Baroque’ as a way of making connections that might otherwise be hard to see, and of giving visibility to a large, important, and still-unfolding event in cultural history.”—Gordon Braden, author of Petrarchan Love and the Continental Renaissance

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822346425
  • Publisher: Duke University Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2010
  • Pages: 688
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Lois Parkinson Zamora is John and Rebecca Moores Distinguished Professor in the Departments of English, History, and Art at the University of Houston.

Monika Kaup is Associate Professor of English and Adjunct Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Washington, Seattle.

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Table of Contents

Illustrations xi

Acknowledgments xiii

"Baroque, New World Baroque, Neobaroque: Categories and Concepts Lois Parkinson Zamora Monika Kaup 1

Part 1 Representation: Foundational Essays on Baroque Aesthetics and Ideology

The European Baroque

Editors' Note to Chapter One 41

1 "On the Baroque" (1878) Friedrich Nietzsche 44

Editors' Note to Chapter Two 46

2 Excerpt from the Introduction to Principles of Art History: The Problem of the Development of Style in Later Art (1915) Heinrich Wölfflin 49

Editors' Note to Chapter Three 55

3 Excerpts from The Origin of German Tragic Drama (1928) Walter Benjamin 59

Editors' Note to Chapter Four 75

4 Excerpts from "The Debate on the Baroque in Pontigny" (1935) Eugenio d'Ors 78

Editors'Note to Chapter Five 93

5 Excerpts from "The Concept of Baroque in Literary Scholarship" (1945, rev. 1962) René Wellek 95

Editors' Note to Chapter Six 115

6 "Baroque in England" (1960) Mario Praz 119

Editors' Note to Chapter Seven 136

7 Chapter 2 from La folie du voir, "The Work of the Gaze" (1986) Christine Buci-Glucksmann 140

The New World Baroque and the Neobaroque

Editors' Note to Chapter Eight 161

8 Excerpt from "Savoring Góngora" (1928) Alfonso Reyes 165

Editors' Note to Chapter Nine 179

9 Chapter 1 from Redescubrimiento de América en el arte, "America's Relation to Europe in the Arts" (1936) Ángel Guido 183

Editors' Note to Chapter Ten 198

10 "The Baroque in America" (1940) Pedro Henríquez Ureña 200

Editors' Note to Chapter Eleven 209

11 Chapter 2 from La expresión americana, "Baroque Curiosity" (1957) José Lezama Lima 212

Editors' Note to Chapters Twelve and Thirteen 241

12 "The City of Columns" (1964) Alejo Carpentier 244

13 Excerpt from "Questions Concerning the Contemporary Latin American Novel" (1964) Alejo Carpentier 259

Editors' Note to Chapters Fourteen and Fifteen 265

14 "The Baroque and the Neobaroque" (1972) Severo Sarduy 270

15 Chapter 3 from Barroco, "Baroque Cosmology: Kepler" (1974) Severo Sarduy 292

Editors' Note to Chapter Sixteen 316

16 "The Rule of Anthropophagy: Europe under the Sign of Devoration" (1981) Haroldo de Campos 319

Part 2 Transculturation: Colonial Practice

17 "Góngora in Spanish American Poetry, Góngora in Luso-Brazilian Poetry: Critical Parallels" Jorge Ruedas de la Serna 343

18 "Sor Juana and Luis de Góngora: The Poetics of Imitatio" (2006) José Pascual Buxó 352

19 "American Baroque Histories and Geographies from Sigüenza y Góngora and Balbuena to Balboa, Carpentier, and Lezama" Timothy J. Reiss 394

20 "Baroque Quixote: New World Writing and the Collapse of the Heroic Ideal" William Childers 415

21 "Baroque Self-Fashioning in Seventeenth-Century New France" Dorothy Z. Baker 450

22 "The Fold of Difference: Performing Baroque and Neobaroque Mexican Identities" Leo Cabranes-Grant 467

Part 3 Counterconquest: Postcolonial Positions

23 Chapter 2 from Ensayo de contraconquista, "From the Baroque to the Neobaroque" (2001) Gonzalo Celorio 487

24 Chapter 1 from Barroco y modernidad, "The Baroque at the Twilight of Modernity" (2000) Irlemar Chiampi 508

Editors' Note to Chapter 529

25 "The Novel as Tragedy: William Faulkner" (1970) Carlos Fuentes 531

26 "Góngora's and Lezama's Appetites" (1978) Roberto González Echevarría 554

27 "Europe and Latin America in José Lezama Lima" Maarten van Delden 571

28 "Seeking a Cuba of the Self: Baroque Dialogues between José Lezama Lima and Wallace Stevens" Christopher Winks 597

Editors' Note to Chapter Twenty-nine 622

29 "Concerning a Baroque Abroad in the World" (1990) Édouard Glissant 624

Bibliography 627

Notes on Contributors 645

Index 651

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First Chapter

Baroque New Worlds

Representation, Transculturation, Counterconquest

Duke University Press

All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8223-4642-5


Baroque, New World Baroque, Neobaroque CATEGORIES AND CONCEPTS

Lois Parkinson Zamora and Monika Kaup

THE CUBAN WRITER José Lezama Lima begins his essay "Baroque Curiosity" in Baroque fashion, with a parody, quoting the globalizing claim of a critic he does not name: "The earth is Classical and the sea is Baroque." Lezama's purpose is to suggest that by the time of his own essay, published in La expresión americana in 1957, the Baroque had emerged from two centuries of oblivion (and opprobrium), only to become overexposed, overextended, whatever-you-please. For Lezama, the Baroque had been appropriated and generalized to the point of meaninglessness.

Of course, Lezama's own project was also vast-not quite planetary perhaps, but certainly hemispheric-and it also involved appropriation: he would reclaim the Baroque for the New World, place it in its historical American contexts, and then make his own generalizing claims. Take this one, for instance, in the same essay, translated from the Spanish and included in our volume: "The literary banquet, the prolific description of fruits of the earth and sea, is rooted in the jubilant Baroque. We shall attempt to reconstruct ... one of those feasts, as Dionysian as dialectic, ruled by the desire to possess the world, to incorporate the exterior world through the transformative furnace of assimilation" (BNW 222). This statement is hardly less hyperbolic than that of the nameless critic whom Lezama parodies; at Lezama's Baroque table, we are again offered both earth and sea. And why not? Self-parody, too, is characteristic of the Baroque, as is excess, exaltation, exuberance. Lezama's style, as well as his subject, is Baroque: "as Dionysian as dialectic," overflowing and yet articulated; globalizing and yet also specific to Latin American cultural and historical realities.

To share in Lezama's Baroque banquet and help define it, we have selected twenty-nine essays that trace the reemergence of Baroque traditions and forms of expression over the course of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. In all cases, their purposes are distant from the monarchical, Catholic, colonizing origins of the Baroque, and yet they are also necessarily connected to those origins; they variously follow the Baroque from a colonial mode to a postcolonial one, from a seventeenth-century instrument of empire to a contemporary instrument of cultural revision and renewal. Historical continuity is balanced against historical rupture: our European authors engage seventeenth-century models to critique twentieth-century political and poetic practices, and our American authors weigh Old World Baroque forms against their New World uses. In large part, their concern is literature and literary culture, but their methods are interdisciplinary because, in their different ways, each engages Baroque aesthetics to define his or her subject. Some discuss visual and verbal arts specifically, others address historical cultures more generally, but all of them treat the multiple media of the Baroque as linked cultural formations. Our title, Baroque New Worlds, is intended to call attention to these multiple formations and to theorize a new set of possibilities in Europe and the Americas in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and again in the twentieth and twenty-first.

Baroque, New World Baroque, Neobaroque: we have organized our essays into three sections-"Representation," "Transculturation," and "Counter-conquest"-that correspond to these categories, but only loosely, because the boundaries of their forms and histories cannot be neatly drawn. The competing etymologies of the word baroque will give an idea of the definitional difficulties. René Wellek summarizes various possibilities at the beginning of his essay in this volume: a three-syllable nonsense word (baroco) coined to represent and remember the structure of a particular scholastic syllogism; a Portuguese word (barrôco) describing pearls that are lumpy and irregular; and a Tuscan term (barocco, barrocolo, or barrochio) referring to a medieval system of financial transactions, and more particularly to a usurer's contract. These different usages are well documented, but which one branches into art history, and then into literature, in the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth? Bruno Migliorini, Marie-Pierrette Malcuzynski, and Gerhart Hoffmeister favor the irregular pearl theory, arguing that this meaning moved gradually into the realms of artistic and aesthetic form; on the other hand, Erwin Panofsky and George Kubler prefer the scholastic syllogism, noting that baroco had become pejorative by the end of the sixteenth century, meaning pedantic and convoluted, thus coinciding with the depreciation of the Baroque style in eighteenth-century Europe. (No one seems to favor the usurer's contract, though it is often cited-probably because of its baroque far-fetchedness.) Panofsky and Kubler have textual confirmation on their side, but for our purposes, the metaphor of the irregular pearl is useful because it suggests our critical categories. In fact, we might think of the Baroque, New World Baroque, and Neobaroque as a single, rather large, eccentric pearl with excrescences and involutions corresponding to their overlapping histories and forms in Europe and the Americas. Here at the outset, we offer an overview of these histories and forms.

The Baroque

The Baroque flourished in seventeenth-century Europe as a Catholic response to the Protestant insurgency. It was rooted in Rome and adapted throughout Catholic Europe as a recognizable style and content in art, architecture, and literature-that is, as a recognizable Counter-Reformation aesthetic and ideology. In Protestant Europe, Baroque opulence, with its elaborate ecclesiastical and celestial hierarchies, was objectionable to Reformation sensibilities, and over time a more sober Baroque developed in Northern Europe alongside (and sometimes combined with) Counter-Reformation forms. During the seventeenth century, the Baroque thus reigned in Europe in different modes and measures, and we include foundational essays by Heinrich Wölfflin, Walter Benjamin, René Wellek, and Mario Praz that describe the related media of European Baroque painting, literature, and architecture. Preceding each of these essays and the other foundational essays in this volume, we provide an introduction and a brief bibliography to place the authors in their historical and cultural contexts. Reading these introductions consecutively will signal their particular contributions to the revalorization of the Baroque, and often an overview of the process as a whole.

The Baroque was exported wholesale to areas of the world colonized by Catholic Europe throughout the seventeenth century, and well into the eighteenth. It is one of the few satisfying ironies of European imperial domination worldwide that the Baroque worked poorly as a colonizing instrument. Its visual and verbal forms are ample, dynamic, porous, and permeable; thus, in all of the areas colonized by Catholic Europe, the Baroque was itself eventually colonized. In the New World, its transplants immediately began to incorporate the cultural perspectives and iconographies of the indigenous and African laborers and artisans who built and decorated Catholic structures. Cultural heresies (and heretics) often entered unnoticed, or were ignored for reasons of expediency. There were also Asian influences, arriving on the fleet of ships known as the Nao de China (the Manila galleon) with art and artifacts from Japan, China, the Moluccas, and the Philippines, destined for Europe but portaged across New Spain, thus joining the diverse cultural streams that over time came to constitute the New World Baroque. And in turn, the European Baroque was transformed in Europe: its materials (silver from Mexico and Peru, ivory from the Philippines), its motifs (fauna and flora, often imaginary, from the Caribbean, the Orinoco, the Amazon), and its methods (artistic, doctrinal, indoctrinating). So the reciprocal relations of Europe and Latin America are the necessary starting point for any discussion of the Baroque.

Baroque and New World Baroque: both designate a historical period that mediates a vast complex of cultural encounters, and both were overshadowed and eventually eclipsed by the Enlightenment neoclassicism that followed. Beginning in the eighteenth century and continuing through the nineteenth, the Baroque went underground. In Latin America, it lasted longer than in Europe-through the third quarter of the eighteenth century and in some places into the first years of the nineteenth. But in Latin America, too, Baroque art and artifacts were sometimes destroyed and replaced by structures of a more sober neoclassical style; thus the supposed obscurantism of Baroque reason was supplanted by the supposed lucidity of Enlightenment reason. The literary masters of the seventeenth century-Spain's Golden Age writers (Luis de Góngora, Francisco de Quevedo, Pedro Calderón de la Barca, Miguel de Cervantes), Mexico's greatest poet (Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz), the English metaphysical poets and Jacobean dramatists (John Donne, Andrew Marvell, Richard Crashaw, John Webster), the German playwrights of the Trauerspiel (Andreas Gryphius, Daniel Casper von Lohenstein, Johann Christian Hallmann)-were excoriated and buried, or simply forgotten. Baroque's dynamism ceded to neoclassicism's restraint, and the optical exuberance and illusionism of the former to the realist and positivist perspectives of the latter.

In the last years of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth, however, writers and art historians-working simultaneously and influencing each other-began to (re)discover in the Baroque certain strategies of figuration and fragmentation that suited their own aesthetic and ideological purposes. The Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío offered the first explicit (re)cycling of Spanish Baroque poets, referring to Góngora and Quevedo in his 1896 prologue to Prosas profanas. In Spain, Federico García Lorca, Dámaso Alonso, Gerardo Diego, and others were also rereading Góngora and Quevedo (the name of their group, the Generation of '27, recognizes the tercentenary of Góngora's death), and in Mexico, another "generation" of experimental writers, the Contemporáneos, also studied these Spanish Baroque poets anew. Moreover, the great Mexican literary intellectual Alfonso Reyes had been writing about Góngora for fully a decade, and he was well aware of the parallel efforts of the Generation of '27 to revalidate Baroque poetics, as we note in our introduction to Reyes's essay from 1928, "Savoring Góngora," included here.

In Germany, Walter Benjamin was studying Baroque drama known as the Trauerspiel; his book-length study was published in the same year, 1928, and we have included an excerpt from it in this volume. In Argentina, Jorge Luis Borges wrote several essays during the twenties, not only on Spanish Baroque writers (Quevedo, Cervantes) but also on English Baroque writers (John Milton and Sir Thomas Browne-including a translation of a fragment of Browne's Urn Burial, to which Borges famously refers, twenty years later, in the last sentence of "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius"). And again, in England, T. S. Eliot was revisiting seventeenth-century English poets and playwrights, and celebrating them for their capacity to "amalgamate disparate experience."

The reasons for such widespread interest in revalidating the European Baroque during this period vary according to writer and place, and the foundational essays in our first section reflect (and reflect upon) the differences. It is, however, safe to say that all combine, in relative measures, an increasing skepticism toward Enlightenment rationalism and realism with the desire for formal experimentation. The waning utility (not to say bankruptcy) of the Enlightenment principles of scientific reason, progressive history, individual agency, and stable identity (cultural, national, personal) made alternative modes of expression attractive, and pre-Enlightenment forms again came into view. Even before the writers mentioned above, Friedrich Nietzsche, in his brief essay of 1878 that begins our volume, recognizes the Baroque as rejecting harmony in favor of heterogeneity. In his Genealogy of Morals, written nine years later, he elaborated what he termed a genealogical method to challenge the Hegelian idea of history as linear, teleological, causal. For Nietzsche, the Hegelian model naively projected the outcome of an idea or practice back onto its beginning, imposing an analogy of organic growth from seed to plant to fruit. On the contrary, the object of the genealogical method was to record the accidental arising of things-their transformations, appropriations, co-optations, and subversions-as they became the raw material for different ideas and practices. The Baroque seemed to respond to Nietzsche's preference for inconformity and contradiction: its forms exist in "the greatest dramatic tension" (BNW 45). Four decades later, Walter Benjamin engaged this idea as his theme and critical strategy, using Baroque drama to oppose the idea of history as progressive, continuous, and purposeful. The allegory and melancholy of the Baroque Trauerspiel (the "mourning play") provided the means to critique modernity: for Benjamin, modern history is marked by fragmentation, ruin, loss.

T. S. Eliot also saw the wasteland of post-Second World War Europe and, impelled by the desire to renovate figurative language, he looked to Baroque poetics to formulate his modernist aesthetic, as did Jorge Luis Borges in Argentina. Both focused on the operations of metaphor, and both were formalists who privileged tradition over individual talent (i.e., over the personality of the poet). René Wellek addresses this last point: "Subjectivism and baroque rarely go hand in hand. Góngora, though an extremely individual writer, did not therefore in any way become subjective: rather his most characteristic poetry became almost symbolistic, 'absolute' poetry which could be welcomed and praised by Mallarmé" (BNW 107). As it happened, Borges preferred Quevedo to Góngora, but Wellek's point remains: the different nature of Baroque originality-the brilliant engagement (and influencing) of one's precursors rather than the projection of idiosyncratic genius-was attractive to both Eliot and Borges as they worked to separate themselves from the Romantic poetry of personal emotion and to (re)establish a formalist poetics. Indeed, Octavio Paz notes the "striking" affinities between the Baroque and the modernist innovations of this period, and above all, the role played by form in both aesthetics.

In Spain, too, the poets of the Generation of '27 engaged Baroque aesthetics to distance themselves from the sentimental, declamatory poetry of their precursors and to promote their own poetic innovations. García Lorca's essay of 1928, "La imagen poética de Don Luis de Góngora" (The Poetic Image of Don Luis de Góngora), surely belongs in this volume, but unfortunately we could not secure the rights to translate it. García Lorca celebrates Góngora as "el poeta padre de nuestro idioma" (the poet father of our language) and points to his strategies of derealization, which remove the poetic image from nature to create an alternative world of words. Góngora's metaphors do not awaken unknown similarities, but rather create similarities attainable only in language; they depend not on reality but artifice, not on resemblance but disjunctions that are extreme and yet united in the poetic image. The Mexican intellectual Alfonso Reyes, in his essay "Savoring Góngora," invokes Spain and the poets of the Generation of '27 (Dámaso Alonso and Gerardo Diego) in his own reading of Góngora as a poet of "pure aesthetic contemplation," even as he also finds Góngora to be a poet of "physical beauty" and "solid materials" (BNW 175). If the poets of the Generation of '27 engaged Góngora as a figure of controversy and critique as well as a model for a new poetics, Reyes wrote with the future of Latin American literature in mind, a fact that altered his perspective in ways that we note in our introduction to his essay. Nonetheless, in both Spain and Latin America Góngora proved central to the recovery of the Baroque as an alternative poetics that could facilitate the renovation of modernist forms of expression.


Excerpted from Baroque New Worlds Copyright © 2010 by DUKE UNIVERSITY PRESS. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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