Includes bibliographical references (p. 262-274) and index.
Introduction: the quixotic problem -- 1. Turning authority into jest: tyrants, pedants, quixotes and enthusiasts in the early eighteenth century -- 2. Common sense, moral sense and nonsense: sentimentalism and the empirical study of invisible things -- 3. Coming to a bad end: sentimentalism, The Female Quixote and the power of interest -- 4. Seeing the general view: Henry Fielding and quixotic authorship -- 5. De gustibus non est disputandum: Tristram Shandy and "the production of a rational Being" -- 6. Laying down the general rule: Adam Smith, impartial spectators and the philosopher's trade -- Epilogue: "The grandsons of Adam Smith"