"What are the factors that enable certain discourses to function as a literary discourse?" This was the question which, in lieu of the eternal “what is literature?”, was announced on the back cover of Pour une théorie de la production littéraire (Maspéro, 1966, A Theory of literary Production, Routledge/Kegan, 1978). In order to adequately ask this fundamental question, Pierre Macherey explored literature as a philosopher, as he has done ever since. This book from the 1960's, which brought forward some of the most original ideas of that decade regarding the relations between the literary and the social, has influenced a generation of theorists in the Anglo-Saxon world. We are pleased to make this important work, never republished in French, accessible once more in an edition prefaced by Terry Eagleton, which also features a new afterword by Pierre Macherey.