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Starting from Nietzsche’s notion of “truth and lying in a non moral sense” the essay develops a historical inquiry into the definitions of literature in relation to the possibility of literary errors and mistakes. The historical shift in hermeneutics from text to reading highlights the epistemological valorization of literature as a source of knowledge potentially susceptible to error and mistakes. Through the contributions of many writers and philosophers concerned with the truth of literary knowledge, a recurrent cognitive apprehension about literature is outlined, taking into consideration a long variety of different formulations, from Plato to Aristotle, from Bacon to Sidney, from the Romantics to the Formalists, and from Barthes to Derrida, and beyond. Their contributions highlight the ever-changing loci of error from text to reception, from hermeneutics to readability. They also help in defining the disciplinary boundaries that would differentiate literary texts from scientific ones.