The surge of interest in Jean Francois Lyotard's writings has pushed him into the centre of the debate on the postmodern. His willingness to question the political and investigate the intersection of art and politics undermines the charge that deconstruction has abdicated its political responsibility. This introduction, by discussing the entire range of Lyotard's writing, situates his interest in the postmodern in terms of a larger project of rethinking the politics of representation. Bill Readings traces Lyotard's attacks on structuralism, Marxism and semiotics, contrasts his work with the literary deconstruction of Paul de Man and draws out the implications of post-structuralism's attention to difference in reading. The art of reading and the reading of art, as the evocation of the difference of events, becomes the locus of a resistance to both consumer culture and Romantic nostalgia.