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This article argues that literary studies have proceeded in two different ways to establish itself as an academic discipline. One way, the attempt to provide a theoretical basis for a discipline of criticism which would have guaranteed the 'scientific' nature of literary studies, has failed. The other way, the development of a set of standards for scholarship in literary studies and as a part of that the introduction of a method of 'reading' that sets standards for correct 'observation' of the literary work, has led to a partial success, and has represented the 'progress' in the discipline. However, the success has only been partial: the question still remains if literary criticism can provide an adequate defense for its disciplinary status.