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Regarded for decades as a fallacy, intentionalist interpretation is beginning to attract a following among philosophers of art. Intentionalism is the doctrine that the actual intentions of artists are relevant to the interpretation of the artworks they create – just as actual intentions are relevant to the interpretation of the everyday words and deeds of other people. Although there are several forms of actual intentionalism, I defend the form known as modest actual intentionalism, which holds that the correct interpretation of an artwork is compatible with the author's actual intention, which itself must be supported by the artwork. Looking at literary works specifically, I consider criticisms of actual intentionalism – for example, the contention that such a stance substitutes paraphrase for a reading of the text. In particular, I argue against hypothetical intentionalism, which maintains that the correct interpretation of an artwork is constrained by the best hypotheses of the artist's intentions. As I show, the methodology of this position is in fact designed to track the author's actual intentions, and furthermore, hypothetical intentionalism does not accurately depict existing interpretive practices.