In this study, the author connects pedagogical and literary institutions to issues of writing, political position and power. She suggests that the leftist caricature of the Ecole Normale Superieure (ENS), the training ground for French intellectuals, is inaccurate because it represses the role of writing. By deconstructing the ENS as one would a text, she garners from the writing of the ""normaliens"" a picture of an institution that reinforces superiority, exclusivity and hierarchy. Towards the end of the book, Rubenstein relates the irony of the post-World War II trials of ""normaliens"" in which authors become victims of their own writing. She also turns the tables on the ENS, calling upon its own writings to reveal its rightist ideological positions.