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What is the role of interpretation—the close reading of individual texts—in cognitive literary studies? In attempting to come to grips with this vexed question, my article focuses on the complex divides that separate the practice of interpretation from cognitive-scientific research. I argue that cognitive literary studies can only fulfill their potential by moving beyond interpretation, and I survey lines of research that have already put into practice this intuition. Secondly, I explore a heuristic use of interpretation, where insights from cognitive science are leveraged—in what I call a “cognitive thematics”—to illuminate a background of metacognitive questions.