Jacob Soll traces the origins of Enlightenment criticism to the practices of learned humanists and hard-pressed literary entrepreneurs. This learned and lively book is also a tour de force of historical research and interpretation. ---Anthony Grafton, author of Cardano's Cosmos and Bring Out Your Dead "Brilliant. How the printed page changed political philosophy into investigative reporting, and reason of state into the unmasking of power." ---J. G. A. Pocock, author of The Machiavellian Moment Revising the orthodox schema of the public sphere in which political authority shifted away from the crown with the rise of bourgeois civil society in the eighteenth century, Soll shows for the first time how the public sphere in fact grew out of the learned and even royal libraries of erudite scholars and the bookshops of subversive, not-so-polite publicists of the republic of letters. Jacob Soll is Associate Professor of History at Rutgers University.