1 Brookings Drive
Campus Box 1104
St. Louis, MO 63130
Matt Erlin is Professor of German at Washington University in St. Louis. He received his PhD in German from the University of California, Berkeley in 2000.
Professor Erlin's research focuses on the literary, cultural, and intellectual history of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Germany. In addition to essays on topics ranging from Moses Mendelssohn's philosophy of history to the eighteenth-century novel, he has published two books: Berlin’s Forgotten Future: City, History, and Enlightenment In Eighteenth-Century Germany (2004) and Necessary Luxuries: Books, Literature, and the Culture of Consumption in Germany, 1770-1815 (2014). He has also co-edited, together with Lynne Tatlock, two essay anthologies: German Culture in Nineteenth-Century America: Reception, Adaptation, Transformation appeared in 2005, and Distant Readings: Topologies of German Culture in the Long Nineteenth Century was published in 2014.
Professor Erlin is a member of the steering committee of Washington University's Humanities Digital Workshop (HDW). Together with student and staff collaborators, he is currently working on several digital humanities projects that use computational tools to challenge traditional notions of genre and period as they apply to eighteenth- and nineteenth-century German literature. He is also a co-investigator on the multi-university partnership grant “Text Mining the Novel,” which aims to produce the first large-scale cross-cultural study of the novel according to quantitative methods
Professor Erlin’s course offerings range widely but generally reflect his fascination with the interface between aesthetic theories and practices and the sociopolitical contexts in which they emerge. He also has a strong interest in pedagogy. In addition to general courses in German language and culture, he has taught seminars on German poetry, consumer culture and the eighteenth-century novel, Marxist cultural theory, cultural representations of nationalism, and the sociology of literature. He also teaches in the Interdisciplinary Project in the Humanities and currently serves as Chair of the department.
18th and 19th-century German literature and culture, aesthetic theory, economics and literature, philosophies of history, urban culture, digital humanities
- Necessary Luxuries: Books, Literature, and the Culture of Consumption in Germany, 1770-1815. Signale/Cornell University Press, 2014.
- Berlin’s Forgotten Future: City, History, and Enlightenment in Eighteenth-Century Germany. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.
L21 Ger 4102: German Literature & Culture: Constructing a German National Identity, 1789-1918