NJIT History Professor Richard Sher has received one of the American Historical Association’s highest honors for his 800-page text about the history of books in the 18th century. His monumental work that took more than 16 years to complete, The Enlightenment and the Book: Scottish Authors and Their Publishers in 18th-Century Britain, Ireland, and America (University of Chicago Press, 2007) examines the critically important role of the book trade in the development and transatlantic dissemination of the Scottish Enlightenment. The Times Literary Supplement has hailed the work as “a major achievement” and “definitive” study of its kind, while Review of English Studies has proclaimed it “an exceptional piece of work” that “is also an engaging and stimulating read.”
Sher, of Maplewood, holds the rank of distinguished professor at NJIT and is also the NJIT Chair of the Federated History Department of NJIT and Rutgers University, Newark.
The American Historical Association’s Leo Gershoy Award is awarded annually to the most outstanding book on any aspect of the field of 17th- and 18th-century western European history. In singling out Sher for this honor at its annual meeting last month, the association asserted that his book “reaffirms the dynamic force of the Scottish Enlightenment in 18th-century intellectual life, reminding readers living in an era of renewed information revolution that the modes and media that transmit ideas matter. This work takes its place alongside classic studies in the history of the book by Robert Darnton and Elizabeth Eisenstein and marks a new standard of maturity in that field.”
Sher is also a recipient of the 2007 Frank Watson Prize from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. Last year, he delivered three plenary lectures at the University of Guelph, UCLA’s Clark Library in Los Angeles, and the annual meeting of the East Central branch of the American Society for 18th-Century Studies.
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