Is there something like a 'scientific' approach to the reading or interpretation of literary texts as is suggested by the German term 'Literaturwissenschaft'? This essay argues that genuinely scientific criteria such as the intersubjective verifiability of a given reading do not apply to the reading of literary texts. The reason is that such texts enable a quasi infinite range of different readings the preconceptions of which are contingent upon the individual readers, their previous experiences, literary as well as non-literary, and their expectations. — What, then, are the tasks of a scholarly reading of literary texts? Firstly, the theoretical reflection upon the status of such texts in comparison to pragmatic texts; secondly, the attempt at reconstructing their historical context (in terms of discursive history), and thirdly, a reading with regard to present-day problems. The 'quality' of a scholarly reading of a literary text would thus be dependent not on its 'objectivity', but rather on its capacity to produce resonances amongst other present-day readers, scholarly and non-scholarly.