Joking relationships between uncles and nephews are the royal road to pre-modern communities. In modern societies, this crucial role is attributed to the state. Yet uncles and nephews remain key for such modern figures as Denis Diderot, Karl Marx, Louis Althusser, and J.-A. Miller in Paris, as well as for Thomas Bernhard in Vienna. Diderot addresses pre-revolutionary Paris by portraying the composer Rameau’s misfit nephew; Marx criticizes revolutionary Paris by mocking Napoleon’s despotic nephew; Althusser sketches post-May ’68 Paris by viewing himself as the tormented nephew of his mother’s love; and Miller depicts today’s conservative Paris by imagining himself as the impossible nephew of his father-in-law Lacan. Proceeding from uncles and nephews as the key pre-modern relationship, these thinkers tackle central modern relationships, namely, those institutionalized by the monarchy, the nation, and the post-national identity community. By situating their uncles and nephews in Paris, moreover, Diderot’s philosophical materialism, Marx’s historical materialism, and Althusser’s and Miller’s structural materialism grapple with the history of modernity itself. Finally, just as the series seems to die out, Thomas Bernhard shifts it to another capital of modernity, Vienna, in Wittgenstein’s Nephew.