This essay traces some of the paths followed by literary interpretation on the left since the early 1970s. I identify two kinds of symptomatic reading, one multicultural and one Marxist, as well as a style of "situational" reading. I suggest that these styles of reading are limited by their philosophical understandings of "matter" and argue that the history of literary (especially poetic) "matter" might better ground a reading practice that tells historical time.

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