Discourse/Counter-Discourse is situated on the challenging border between cultural history and literary criticism: combining the insights of Marxism and semiotics, it attempts to delineate the culrural function of texts. Focusing on France during a period of remarkable culrural, social, and political transformation, Richard Terdiman examines both the dominant bourgeois discourse—novels, newspapers, and other mass forms of expression—and the effort of intellectuals to devise counter-discourses to combat it. He views the counter-discourses created by such principal figures as Flaubert, Balzac, Daumier, Baudelaire, Mallarme, and Marx not as isolated elements of nineteenth-century culture but, paradoxically, as a vital part of the everyday life of the period. Terdiman maintains that an intricate and continuous interplay of the opposing dynamics of stability and destabilization was at the center of—and gave direction to—historical and culrural change. Incorporating the work of such cultural theoreticians as Bakhtin, Gramsci, Bourdieu, Foucault, and Derrida, Terdiman explores discursive conflict in relations between literarure and the visual arts, the novel and political philosophy, and "elite" literature and popular culrure. He asserts that to understand the complex engagement between the texts of a cultural canon and those of its subversion we must broaden traditional notions of the sign to include not just linguistic but also social difference; the forms of society's work, family structure, gender roles, and educational and political organization, he says, all live and struggle within the signs of which every text is made. Richard Terdiman's model—discourse against counter-discourse—reveals the forces and tensions that shape cultural life. His book will interest not only srudents and scholars of French literarure, but literary theorists, cultural and intellectual historians, and Marxist scholars in a number of disciplines.