Ideology has never before been so much in evidence as a fact and so little understood as a concept as it is today. In this now classic work, originally written for both newcomers to the topic and for those already familiar with the debate, Terry Eagleton unravels the many different definitions of ideology, and explores the concept's torturous history from the Enlightenment to postmodernism. The book provides lucid accounts of the thought of key Marxist thinkers, as well as of Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Freud and the various post-structuralists. Now updated in the light of current theoretical debates, this essential text by one of our most important contemporary critics clarifies a notoriously confused subject. Ideology is core reading for students and teachers of literature and politics.