This chapter focuses on the theoretical concept of discourse, which has been central to literary and critical theory since the “linguistic turn” inaugurated by late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century thinkers like Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, and de Saussure. Their emphasis on the productive but slippery power of language led to the rise of structuralism, which in turn produced the poststructuralist insights of such influential twentieth-century theorists as Derrida and Foucault. After reviewing that history, this chapter turns to three contemporary theorists – Jean Baudrillard, Giorgio Agamben, and Rey Chow – whose work takes discourse analysis in a variety of new directions; these include the proliferation of signs without referents in postmodern society (Baudrillard), the construction of new forms of sovereignty and new subjects of power (Agamben), and relational theories of otherness and the “ethnic spectator” (Chow). The chapter concludes by applying these theorists’ ideas concerning discourse to readings of Brontё’s Wuthering Heights, Kunzru’s White Tears, and the TV show Easy.