The Poverty of Structuralism is the first in a sequence of volumes which examine in turn the basic ideas of Saussure, Marx and Freud, and analyse the way in which they have been developed and applied to art, culture and modern textual theory. The text offers a critical introduction to the structuralist foundations of modern literary theory. It gives an account of the way such foundations have been developed, twisted and distorted to become part of the language that contemporary literary and cultural theoreticians use. It also addresses some of the fundamental issues about language and society that are presupposed by the often difficult language of modern literary and cultural theory.
1. Stucturalism and the real Saussure 2. The creative phase of structuralist theory 3. The French phase - structuralism collapses 4. The trajectory of Roland Barthes 5. Textual metaphysics and the anti-foundation myths of Derrida 6. How far do we construct the world in language 7. Linguistic, idealism and the critics of the 1970s 8. Towards a realist theory of literature