The three-part work provides a first synthetic account of the history of the Polish intelligentsia from the days of its formation to World War I. Part one (1750–1831) traces the formation of the intelligentsia as a social class in the epoch of Enlightenment. Part two (1832–1864) analyses the growing importance of the intelligentsia in the epoch marked by the triumph of the Polish romanticism. The third part deals with the period between 1865 and 1918, which is the period of numerical growth of the intelligentsia, growth of its self-consciousness and at the same time of growing struggles and rivalries of various political streams. The work combines social and intellectual history, tracing both the formation of the intelligentsia as a social stratum and the forms of engagement of the intelligentsia in the public discourse. Thus, it offers a broad view of the group’s transformations which immensely influenced the course of the Polish history.