By Paul Lerner
Department shops in Germany, like their predecessors in France, Britain, and the U.S., generated nice pleasure once they seemed on the finish of the 19th century. Their luxurious screens, ample items, architectural suggestions, and prodigious scale encouraged frequent fascination or even awe; whilst, despite the fact that, many Germans additionally greeted the increase of the dep. shop with substantial unease. In The eating Temple, Paul Lerner explores the advanced German response to shops and the common trust that they posed hidden risks either to the members, specifically girls, who frequented them and to the kingdom as a whole.
Drawing on fiction, political propaganda, advertisement data, visible tradition, and monetary writings, Lerner presents a number of views at the division shop, putting it in architectural, gender-historical, advertisement, and psychiatric contexts. Noting that Jewish marketers based so much German department shops, he argues that Jews and "Jewishness" stood on the middle of the patron tradition debate from the Eighties, whilst the shops first seemed, during the latter Nineteen Thirties, once they have been “Aryanized” through the Nazis. German responses to buyer tradition and the Jewish query have been deeply interwoven, and the “Jewish division store,” framed instead and dangerous secular temple, a shrine to trade and greed, was once held liable for basic alterations that reworked city event and challenged nationwide traditions in Germany's turbulent 20th century.
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Extra resources for The Consuming Temple: Jews, Department Stores, and the Consumer Revolution in Germany, 1880 1940
This in turn generated new concerns about women’s independence, their use of money, and the consequences and power of their desires. By the eve of World War I, department stores were attracting more attention to themselves with special events like fashion shows, performances, and art exhibitions. 21 Such attractions, along with the ancillary services 30 | Chapter 1 the stores began to provide, enticed more potential customers, further distinguishing the department stores from specialty shops and turning them into leisure destinations and tourist attractions in their own right—theaters, so to speak, for the staging of acts of consumption.
Most products could be touched and held, at least until glass cases, increasingly implemented in the early twentieth century to prevent theft, became more prevalent; but even then consumers could see all the merchandise and were free to run their hands through fabrics, sundries, and other assorted items stocked on tables, in racks, and on floor displays. 29 They could sit on furniture, try on neckties or scarves, and fiddle with the knobs and dials on household appliances like kitchen gadgets or radios.
Taken over by Aristide Boucicaut in 1852, the store grew rapidly over the succeeding decades, and Boucicaut continually added new departments, increased staff, and expanded its premises. 39 By 1887, the store took up an entire city block and had some eighteen hundred employees. 40 The 1869 building, codesigned by Gustave Eiffel, pioneered the style that became emblematic of department store architecture worldwide. An iron-and-glass construction featuring an enormous inner courtyard topped with a glass skylight, a wide central staircase below, and upper selling departments oriented around the courtyard, the building remained the model for department store construction until the modernist designs of the 1920s.