Erlin’s Necessary Luxuries wins DAAD/GSA Book Prize
Signale is proud to announce that Matt Erlin’s Necessary Luxuries: Books, Literature, and the Culture of Consumption in Germany, 1770-1815 has been awarded the 2016 DAAD Book Prize of the German Studies Association. The prize recognizes Necessary Luxuries as the best book in Germanistik or Cultural Studies published in 2014 or 2015.
The jury’s commendation reads:
“Matt Erlin’s Necessary Luxuries: Books, Literature, and the Culture of Consumption in Germany, 1770-1815 is an engrossing, elegantly written, and carefully argued work. Erlin approaches ‘luxury’ as a Foucauldian field of discourse, and combines readings from the period’s economists, social theorists, and critics to flesh out the contours of the debate surrounding the term. Close readings of important novels show the ways in which they positioned themselves within this discourse as positive, even necessary, luxuries. The book elucidates an important moment in German culture – the end of the Enlightenment and the rise of consumer culture – with implications for other national cultures, as well as for our understanding of subsequent developments in Germany. As the Digital Age calls the significance of literature into question, Erlin’s approach prompts a useful rethinking of long-held assumptions.”
The 2016 Book Prize Committee was chaired by Kristin Kopp (University of Missouri, Columbia) and included Rachel Halverson (Washington State University) and Brent Peterson (Lawrence University). The DAAD/GSA Book Prize is funded through the North American office of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).