What a difference a [book’s] name makes!
Publishers don’t necessarily ask authors — or translators — before deciding what title to give any particular book. Lambert Wiesing and I assumed that the title of the German book Luxus, would be the English word Luxury. And it should have been. But what happened was what you see here. In German, the book sold well and had a lot of critical response — in fact it won a prestigious prize for the best essay of 2017; in English, there’s been nothing. Lambert thinks the word “philosophy” put Anglophones off, philosophy being widely considered difficult and narrow (and, I might add, pretty German). He’s really just trying to say that luxury is an aesthetic experience. It’s not about yachts or furs or jewels or private airplanes — at least not necessarily. It’s about a mad extravagance (by your own standards) that makes you happy!