What is the relation between meaning and materiality, and how does this relation leave its mark on theory? These are the primary questions explored by Andrea Bachner in The Mark of Theory, which sets forth a compelling examination of inscription and in so doing offers an important and persuasive critique of poststructuralist tendencies.

Bachner begins with an introduction that examines inscription as a theoretical problem. Inscription, in short, is that which renders meaning material: it brings processes of signification into the fabric of material reality, and in so doing leaves some type of indelible mark—though with the crucial caveat that this mark often persists primarily through its manifestation in projects of erasure. These vexing matters around erasure bring poststructuralist theory to the fore, particularly through the work of Jacques Derrida and the multifarious ways in which his examination of the “trace” leaves its mark on that theoretical community. The...

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