1. Literary criticism, by definition, is the discipline of texts.
2. But a discipline, by definition, is an inquiry into certain subject-matters.
3. Moreover, subject-matters, by definition, are just what texts yield.
4. And texts, by definition, are just what yield subject-matters.
5. Therefore, a discipline of texts (tout court) becomes a discipline of subject-matters (tout court).
6. This is incoherent.
7. Literary criticism—the discipline of texts—must first of all figure out what its own proper subject-matters are.
8. These must be just those subject-matters that are generated when text itself is treated as a subject-matter.
9. This dialectic cannot be managed a posteriori, on a basis of the work that critics do; but only a priori, on the basis of what it is to inquire into texts.
10. The set of literary subject-matters must be both rich enough, and restricted enough, to support normal disciplinarity.
11. The subject-matters of criticism are all the sub-functions of what makes text text: namely, the property of being-about subject-matters.
12. After analysis, the subject-matters of criticism are revealed to be: mimesis; decorum; nature; understanding; tradition; interpretation; dialogue; and love.