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Each chapter focuses on one particular interpreter of Saussure's work, but many others are mentioned in context for purposes of comparison, and attention is drawn to connections, and disparities between their interpretations. Those whose interpretations are examined in detail include Bloomfield, Hjelmslev, Jakobson, Levi-Strauss, Chomsky, Barthes and Derrida.
This book is the first major reassessment of the reception of Saussure's ideas in the academic world of the twentieth century. It is well known that Saussure's work profoundly influenced developments in such diverse fields as linguistics, anthropology, psychology and literary studies.