translation of Michel Foucault
's Les mots et les choses
This book was both Foucault's deepest delving into structuralism and his first big step toward post-structuralism. The book is, in one sense, quintessentially structuralist. The book first uncovers the fundamental epistemic systems (Foucault's epistemes) that underlie and limit the subjective thought of particular eras, times, and contexts. It goes on to show how the apparent ultimacy of subjectivity is just the product of the modern episteme, which is even now disappearing (the "death of man").
However, the seemingly paragon-like example of structuralism also demonstrates the limitation of structuralism - it's inability to give any account of the transitions from one system of thought to another. Foucault seems to have seen from the beginning that structuralism cannot be historical, which explains his insistence that he was not a structuralist. So, although Les mots et lest choses is a structuralist book, it, at the same time, makes clear the limits of structuralism and prepares the way for post-structuralism and postmodernism.