David Winters

Literature, Materialism, and the Present Conjuncture: an Interview with David Winters

Literary critic David Winters, co-editor of 3:AM Magazine, has steadily developed a style and practice of review that can only be called materialist. Rather than “evaluate” a book, Winters qualifies its relationship to the broken and stultifying world from which it originates–not as an outright transcendence of that world, but as a moment, an effect, of its awful machinery, the gore and rancor of a history that has in many ways forgotten to bear a future. The book as such does not seek to solve the problems of the anima mundi but instead to put them on stage and in motion. So the work of literature, David argues, would not be the archangel of the everyday, but would try to give shape to its devastation, to the series of social splits and divisions whose conjunction make the novel possible, if not, David suggests, also threaten it with obsolescence. By focusing on this element of the book–its immortality and undead texture, its position as both a social given and a reflection of such givens–David has aligned materialist aims with a new form of criticism: a reading of the work as a weapon and not simply a code, and moreover, a weapon that can be trained on both itself and the present in which it is embedded. The following is an extended interview with him. Enjoy.



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August 6th, 2012 / 9:26 am