Material Difference: Modernism and the Allegories of Discourse argues that deconstruction can be employed in conjunction with the historically-oriented approach to cultural experience that is favored by Critical Theory. The two discourses that inform this comparative study situate Modernism between evolving traditions that begin with Hegel and Nietzsche, leading on to Adorno’s commitment to philosophical aesthetics and Derrida’s concern for writing (écriture). Interrelated discussions of eight major authors, working in four different languages, are presented to show how allegorical Modernism foreshadows the possibility of cultural history. Joyce, Kafka, Malraux, Rilke, and Stevens are among the authors discussed in this book. The notion of material difference allows literature to be redefined in semiotic terms and demonstrates how the allegorical imagination mediates between art and time.