Mastery of many sorts emerges in new configurations in Peter Burger's book: as an idea developed by Hegel in the master-slave dialectic in his ""Phenomenology of Spirit""; as a quality embodied in the work of certain 20th century ""master-thinkers""; and, not least, in the expertise of Burger himself, as he negotiates and clarifies a critical intersection of contemporary French and German thought. Burger here considers what several seminal thinkers - Bataille, Blanchot, Barthes, Foucault, Lacan, Derrida, Heidegger, as well as novelist Michel Tournier - owe to Hegel's dialectic, and measures their accomplishment against the avant-garde project. Each of his essays in this volume stands alone as a valuable exposition of a significant strain of postmodern thought. Together, they illuminate much of the landscape of 20th-century intellectual and cultural history. This work also constitues a departure for Burger, marking a shift from a Marxist-Hegelian model of thought to one that opens up to the heterogeneous energies of avant-garde thinking and writing.