History, Literature, Reviews

Review: Sher, The Enlightenment and the Book

In a short review running in the April edition of the Atlantic Monthly reviewer Peter Hoey praises Richard B. Sher’s The Enlightenment and the Book: Scottish Authors and Their Publishers in Eighteenth-Century Britain, Ireland, and America for its revealing account of the essential role publishers played in fostering the explosion of intellectual activity in Enlightenment Europe:

The marriage of commerce and culture is always fraught with difficulties, but when it works, its issue can indeed be remarkable. Nowhere was this truer than in Scotland during the late 18th century, when such writers as David Hume, Adam Smith, Hugh Blair, William Robertson, Adam Ferguson, James Boswell, and Robert Burns worked in creative cooperation with their equally enlightened publishers, disseminating their revolutionary works throughout Britain, Europe and most tellingly, the Americas. Discerningly illustrated, at once scholarly and accessible, this is an essential addition not only to 18th-century studies but also to the history of the book—a poignant subject in our post-book age.

Read an excerpt from the book.