Abstract A conversational framework is developed in order to capture some basic features of our dealings with literature, dealings both institutionalized and non-institutionalized. Within such a conversational framework it is possible to define the notion of an interpretation of a literary text and to characterize interpretations that aim at a scholarly status by specific semantic and pragmatic conditions. Such conditions are restricted to descriptive statements, i.e. statements about properties of literary texts. Semantic conditions relate to the truth of descriptive statements, pragmatic conditions to conversational principles and to moral and ethical commitments.

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