Fiction and theory in the postmodern moment emphasize the role of language as a constituent of reality. Not surprisingly, then, much of the criticism of the moment is at least conversant with linguistics. More specifically, it is often
through a study of Ferdinand de Saussure's contributions to our understanding of linguistic semiotics (in his Course in General Linguistics) that we approach structuralism, and then, poststructuralism. I unpack some of these relationships in this chapter by reading Italo Calvino's short story "A Sign in Space" from Cosmicomics as an introduction to semiotics (the study of signs) and to a general methodology of structuralism. Although structuralism participates in a movement toward a postmodern logic in its critique of representation by way of its emphasis on meaning as relying on difference rather than on essence, ultimately, with its emphasis on closure, it resides outside the postmodern moment. In other words, although structuralist logic denies the empiricist world view privileged by our tradition of Western metaphysical philosophy, it does not engage in the 'play' or endless deferral of meaning that poststructuralism brings to the postmodern moment.