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MFS: Modern Fiction Studies

Editor :

Robert P. Marzec, Purdue University

70 (2024)
MFS publishes scholarly essays that analyze the important aesthetic, cultural, political, and environmental developments currently shaping today’s academic and public conversations. A leading international literature and humanities journal, MFS focuses on the various modalities and uses of fiction in the broadest sense of the termpublishing material designed to speak to a wide audience of scholars, public intellectuals, and cultural practitioners working across diverse fields, regions, and venues. Now in its sixty-eighth year, MFS is published by Johns Hopkins University Press and is...
MFS publishes scholarly essays that analyze the important aesthetic, cultural, political, and environmental developments currently shaping today’s academic and public conversations. A leading international literature and humanities journal, MFS focuses on the various modalities and uses of fiction in the broadest sense of the termpublishing material designed to speak to a wide audience of scholars, public intellectuals, and cultural practitioners working across diverse fields, regions, and venues. Now in its sixty-eighth year, MFS is published by Johns Hopkins University Press and is available online at Project MUSE.
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Journal Details

(These guidelines apply to general submission. To submit an essay for a special issue, please see those specific instructions.)

Mfs invites the submission of articles (6,000-9,000 words) offering historical, interdisciplinary, theoretical, and cultural approaches to modern and contemporary narrative. Please visit our online submission system to upload your essay:

Documentation format should include internal citation, endnotes, and full Works Cited in accordance with the latest edition of the MLA Style Manual. Mfs welcomes the submission of illustrations. Low-resolution images are acceptable for submission, but authors must provide high-resolution images for publication.

Publication is contingent on authors granting exclusive license to Johns Hopkins UP to publish their essays for the Department of English at Purdue University. Authors may subsequently reprint their essays in books that they publish, provided they acknowledge the material's previous publication in Mfs.

Address editorial correspondence to

The Editors
Modern Fiction Studies
Purdue University
Department of English
500 Oval Drive
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2038
Phone: (765) 494-3758
FAX: (765) 494-3780

The Hopkins Press Journals Ethics and Malpractice Statement can be found at the ethics-and-malpractice page.

Peer Review Policy

MFS: Modern Fiction Studies publishes original essays of 6,000-9,000 words. We do not permit simultaneous submission. We have initial in-house screening of essays. If we decide not to send an essay out for external review, it will be rejected within a month. Essays we like are sent out to two external readers using the blind review system. After external review, essays are either 1) accepted, 2) accepted contingent on revision, or 3) marked as revise and resubmit. This review takes around 6-9 weeks. If accepted contingent, the author must address concerns of the external reports and send us a revised essay and explain to us how the revised version engages the reader reports. A decision on these essays is then made in house, typically within a week or two of receiving the revision. Authors who are invited to revise and resubmit must also explain how they’ve addressed the readers’ concerns. We send the revised and resubmitted essay out again for external review (often to one or both of the original readers). This may take another 6-9 weeks.

All book reviews are solicited. We do not consider unsolicited reviews.

Special Issue Call for Papers: Fictions of the Pandemic

Guest Editors: Roanne Kantor (Stanford) and Ragini Tharoor Srinivasan (Rice)          
Deadline for Submissions: 1 July 2024

For this special issue, MFS invites contributors to consider and problematize the role of literary scholarship in apprehending, producing, and critiquing fictions of the pandemic. “Fictions of the Pandemic” pursues the imaginative structures, disputed narratives, cross-pollinating conspiracies, and contested discourses emergent from the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the recognition of the novel coronavirus in late 2019, various interconnected fictions of the pandemic have circulated in the public sphere, from the idea of universally shared trauma to the promise of technological solutions. These fictions have been countered in turn by the realities of entrenched racial and class disparities and of global vaccine apartheid. Meanwhile, new characters have emerged as the ambivalent subjects of this historical conjuncture: the essential worker, the antimasker, the long-hauler, the COVID minimizer, and the masked minority. Likewise, the dominant plot points, narrative frameworks, and even genres of fictions of the pandemic have shifted (from the romance of revolutionary change to the tragedy of eclipsed horizons) as we move from the acute phase of coordinated global response to COVID to the chronic phase of capitulation to the virus as a normalized and never-ending event.

We propose that the COVID pandemic necessitates a thoroughgoing rethinking of literary objects and literary methods. What kind of object is “pandemic fiction,” given the slipperiness of the COVID response itself: alternately criminal or progressive, inadequate or an overreaction, depending on where you sit on the Zoom chessboard? What is the work of critique when reactions of suspicion, paranoia, and denial—about the gravity of the pandemic, the motives of policymakers, or even the actions of one’s neighbors—feel owned by the right, seemingly to relegate progressive scholarship to gestures of hope, faith, and repair? How do we, as thinkers of the present and explainers of the future, reckon with a world in which our critical practices are so evidently entangled with and defined by our others? What stories did we tell during the pandemic, and why? Whose stories can we tell now, and whose are verboten? What kinds of questions should we have asked, and why didn’t we ask them? What fictions of the past, present, and future have we had to forgo or forget in light of COVID-19? And in what ways might we, as literature scholars, be exactly the right, and wrong, constituency to pursue these questions, given dueling investments in the reparative potential of narrative, on the one hand, and widespread skepticism about the radicality of close reading, on the other?       

Contributors are invited to pursue any of the above questions and other related topics, including:

  • Counterfactual thinking and theorizing in the pandemic-era; narratives that imagine the (lost) pasts and futures that-would-have-been in the absence of COVID-19; questions of periodization
  • Real-time collaborations in fiction-writing and fiction-reading (such as Wattpad, Scriggler, Booksie, and similar sites)
  • Critique and post-critique in an era of conspiracy, denialism, suspicion, cruel optimism, and in light of pandemic affects such as doubt, melancholy, relief, fury, jealousy, and grief
  • Infrastructural aesthetics, architecture, and the built environment given transformations in work from home, the real estate market, and evolving relations to public space; the literary registration of infrastructural decay
  • Technologies and artifacts of the pandemic; objects such as masks, tests, vaccines, and ventilators, as well as software applications for infection surveillance, video communications, and the circulation of information in both its original and “mis” variants; the narratives of “UX” that frame their ideal anticipated user and inevitable obsolescence
  • The suppression and minimization of pandemic narratives by mainstream media, global publishing houses, and literary agents 
  • Reading the atmospheric and affective traces of the COVID-19 pandemic in fiction that does not explicitly deal with the pandemic
  • Transformations in the “pandemic fiction” genre before and after COVID; teaching fictions of the pandemic; pandemic-era transformations, innovations and upheavals in literary pedagogy; the aesthetics of pandemic fiction; ecocritical and health humanities approaches to fictions of the pandemic

We seek surprising, ambitious, theoretically-rich, and provocative responses to this CFP. Essays that creatively introduce elements of fiction, fictionality, or generic hybridity into their analyses of fictions of the pandemic are also welcome.    

Essays should be 7,000–9,000 words, including all quotations and bibliographic references, and should follow the MLA Handbook (9th edition) for internal citations and Works Cited. Please submit your essay via the online submission form at Queries ahead of submission may be directed to Roanne Kantor ( and Ragini Tharoor Srinivasan (

Special Issue Call for Papers

Planetary Fiction: African Literature and Climate Change

Guest Editors: Nedine Moonsamy (Johannesburg) and David Shackleton (Cardiff)

Deadline for Submissions: 1 February 2025

MFS Modern Fiction Studies invites essay submissions for a special issue on “Planetary Fiction: African Literature and Climate Change.” At the 2020 World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Ugandan climate justice activist Vanessa Nakate was cropped out of an Associated Press photograph that shows other young activists (Isabelle Axelsson, Greta Thunberg, Loukina Tille, and Luisa-Marie Neubauer). As the only Black African activist in a photo with white Europeans, Nakate commented: “You didn’t just erase a photo. You erased a continent” (69). Indeed, political ecologist Malcom Ferdinand contends that the erasure is typical of much of the Global North’s environmentalism, which seeks to account for the climate crisis without addressing issues of colonialism and race and thereby perpetuates modernity’s “colonial . . . fracture” (41). By contrast, this special issue turns to African literature to develop what Ferdinand calls a “decolonial ecology”—one that promises to transform the conceptual and political implications of the climate crisis. It recognizes African literature as the site of ecological thinking, which provides resources for what Ferdinand calls “world-making” (51): ways of living with human and non-human others on the Earth.

In literary studies, critics are increasingly turning to climate fiction, or “cli-fi,” to address global warming during a time of climate breakdown. By imagining future climate-changed worlds, writers and filmmakers can help us to understand the risks of global warming and associated phenomena, including extreme weather events, droughts, flooding, biodiversity loss, and species extinctions. Climate fiction also provides models for environmental activism, which can give a sense of agency in responding to the climate crisis. While climate fiction is most often studied from a Euroamerican perspective, this special issue turns to African literature to rethink the climate crisis. In doing so, it builds on work in the emerging fields of the African environmental and energy humanities, including Cajetan Iheka’s positioning of Africa as “the ground zero of the energy humanities” (10). It seeks to identify urgent topics of environmental concern and develop new collaborative methodologies and interdisciplinary approaches. It welcomes further theorization of the key term “planetary fiction,” which might initially be understood to include many genres and media (including orature, novels, short stories, poetry, film, and drama), and to refer to those works of fiction that register the planetary transformations associated with global warming. Ultimately, this special issue uses such fiction to explore the conditions of what Achille Mbembe calls “planetary habitability” (115).

We invite essays that address any aspect of African literature and climate change. Topics might include but are not limited to the following:

  • African futures: scenarios, pathways, and planning
  • Speculative fiction: Africanfuturism, science fiction, and fantasy
  • Energy transitions: fossil fuels and renewable energy
  • Extractivism: fossil fuels, transition minerals, and sacrifice zones
  • Global warming and the uneven distribution of environmental risk
  • Drought, water intrastructure, and hydropolitics
  • Imperial ecologies: colonialism, race, and climate colonialism
  • Climate finance and global capital: sustainability, resilience, and climate resilient development
  • Chinese development and the One Belt, One Road Initiative
  • Narratives of environmental crisis: Anthropocene, African Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Racial Capitalocene, Plantationocene, and Necrocene
  • Climate and environmental activism
  • Planetary politics and habitability: decolonial ecologies, loss and damage, reparations, multispecies flourishing, and global climate justice

Essays should be 7,000–9,000 words, including all quotations and bibliographic references, and should follow the MLA Handbook (9th edition) for internal citations and Works Cited. Please submit your essay via the online submission form at Queries ahead of submission are welcomed, and may be directed to Nedine Moonsamy ( and David Shackleton (

Works Cited

Ferdinand, Malcolm. “Decolonial Ecologies: Beyond Environmentalism.” Handbook of Critical Environmental Politics, edited by Luigi Pellizzoni, Emanuele Leonardi, and Viviana Asara, Edward Elgar, 2022, pp. 40–57.

Iheka, Cajetan. African Ecomedia: Network Forms, Planetary Politics. Duke UP, 2021.

Mbembe, Achille. La communauté terrestre. La Découverte, 2023.

Nakate, Vanessa. A Bigger Picture: My Fight to Bring a New African Voice to the Climate Crisis. HarperCollins, 2021.

About the Guest Editors

Nedine Moonsamy is an associate professor in the English Department at the University of Johannesburg. She is currently writing a monograph on contemporary South African fiction, and otherwise conducts research on science fiction in Africa. Her debut novel, The Unfamous Five (2019), was shortlisted for the IHSS Fiction Award (2021), and her poetry was shortlisted for the Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award (2012) and the New Contrast National Poetry Prize (2021).

David Shackleton is a senior lecturer in English Literature at Cardiff University, having previously taught at the University of Exeter and the University of Oxford. He is the author of British Modernism and the Anthropocene: Experiments with Time (2023) and is currently writing a book on climate change and speculative fiction.

In addition to its continuing commitment to publishing the best scholarship on modern and contemporary fiction, MFS is also especially interesting in pursuing topics of current importance to literature and the humanities in general, including:

  • Critical AI Studies and The Fictionality of AI/Machine Learning/Large Language Models
  • Fictions of Conspiracy Theory
  • The Future of Literary Studies in the University
  • Populism and its Fictions
  • Discourses of Neoliberalism
  • Migration and Nation
  • Discourses of Sustainability
  • Literary Studies, Climate Change, Species Extinction
  • Fictions and New Directions in Critical Race Theory

eTOC (Electronic Table of Contents) alerts can be delivered to your inbox when this or any Hopkins Press journal is published via your ProjectMUSE MyMUSE account. Visit the eTOC instructions page for detailed instructions on setting up your MyMUSE account and alerts. 


Robert P. Marzec

Associate Editor

Maren Linett

Editorial Assistants

Matt Morgenstern          
Rochel Bergman          
Emily M. Pearson

Editorial Collective

Magalí Armillas-Tiseyra, Pennsylvania State University        
Frida Beckman, Stockholm University
Elizabeth DeLoughrey, UCLA           
Joseph Keith, Binghamton University       
Anne Garland Mahler, University of Virginia        
Timothy Melley, Miami University         
Kalpana Seshadri, Boston College           
Ragini Tharoor Srinivasan, Rice University       
Aarthi Vadde, Duke University        
Jay Watson, University of Mississippi    

Purdue Advisory Board

Marlo Denice David      
Wendy Flory          
Sandor Goodhart      
Shaun F. D. Hughes      
Robert Paul Lamb          
Alfred J. López          
Jennifer Freeman Marshall          
Daniel Morris          
Nancy J. Peterson          
Arkady Plotnitsky          
Aparajita Sagar

Editorial Advisory Board

Michael Awkward, University of Michigan     
Herman Beavers, University of Pennsylvania          
Michael Bérubé, Pennsylvania State University          
Stephen J. Burn, University of Glasgow          
Debra Rae Cohen, University of South Carolina          
Santanu Das, All Souls College, Oxford   
Laura Doyle, University of Massachusetts          
Jonathan Eburne, Pennsylvania State University          
Anne Fernald, Fordham University          
Ellen G. Friedman, College of New Jersey          
Scott Herring, Indiana University          
Peter Kalliney, University of Kentucky          
John T. Matthews, Boston University          
Deborah E. McDowell, University of Virginia          
Mark McGurl, Stanford University          
James McNaughton, University of Alabama          
Alan Nadel, University of Kentucky          
Kinohi Nishikawa, Princeton University          
Stacey Olster, SUNY, Stony Brook          
Robert Dale Parker, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign          
Adam Parkes, University of Georgia          
Rajagopalan Radhakrishnan, University of California, Irvine          
Judith Roof, Rice University          
Michael Rubenstein, SUNY, Stony Brook    
Paul Saint-Amour, University of Pennsylvania    
Ramón Saldívar, Stanford University    
Urmila Seshagiri, University of Tennessee, Knoxville     
Anna Snaith, King’s College London     
Stephen Hong Sohn, Fordham University          
Siobhan Somerville, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign          
Susan Strehle, SUNY, Binghamton          
John J. Su, Marquette University          
Phillip Wegner, University of Florida

Send books for review to:

The Editors
Modern Fiction Studies
Purdue University
Department of English
500 Oval Drive
West Lafayette IN 47907-1389

Please send book review copies to the address above. Review copies received by the Johns Hopkins University Press office will be discarded.

Abstracting & Indexing Databases

  • Clarivate Analytics
    • Arts & Humanities Citation Index
    • Current Contents
    • Web of Science
  • De Gruyter Saur
    • Dietrich's Index Philosophicus
    • IBZ - Internationale Bibliographie der Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaftlichen Zeitschriftenliteratur
    • Internationale Bibliographie der Rezensionen Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaftlicher Literatur
  • EBSCOhost
    • Academic Search Alumni Edition, 6/1/1990-
    • Academic Search Complete, 6/1/1990-
    • Academic Search Elite, 6/1/1990-
    • Academic Search Premier, 6/1/1990-
    • Biography Index: Past and Present (H.W. Wilson), vol.29, 1983-vol.55, no.1, 2009
    • Book Review Digest Plus (H.W. Wilson), Jan.1983-
    • Current Abstracts, 1/1/2000-
    • Humanities & Social Sciences Index Retrospective: 1907-1984 (H.W. Wilson), 4/15/1965-3/1/1983
    • Humanities Abstracts (H.W. Wilson), 6/1/1983-
    • Humanities Index (Online), 1983/01-
    • Humanities Index Retrospective: 1907-1984 (H.W. Wilson), 4/15/1965-3/1/1983
    • Humanities International Complete, 3/1/1982-
    • Humanities International Index, 3/1/1982-
    • Humanities Source, 4/15/1965-
    • Humanities Source Ultimate, 4/15/1965-
    • MasterFILE Complete, 3/1/1982-
    • MasterFILE Elite, 6/1/1990-
    • MasterFILE Premier, 6/1/1990-
    • MLA International Bibliography (Modern Language Association)
    • OmniFile Full Text Mega (H.W. Wilson), 6/1/1983-
    • Poetry & Short Story Reference Center, 3/1/1982-
    • RILM Abstracts of Music Literature (Repertoire International de Litterature Musicale)
    • Russian Academy of Sciences Bibliographies
    • Social Sciences Index Retrospective: 1907-1983 (H.W. Wilson), 1965/03-1973/09
    • SocINDEX, 6/1/1982-
    • SocINDEX with Full Text, 6/1/1982-
    • TOC Premier (Table of Contents), 1/1/1995-
    • Women's Studies International, 6/1/1970-
  • Elsevier BV
    • Scopus, 2002-
  • Gale
    • Academic ASAP, 03/1987-
    • Book Review Index Plus
    • Gale Academic OneFile
    • Gale Academic OneFile Select, 03/1987-
    • Gale General OneFile, 03/1987-
    • Gale OneFile: High School Edition, 06/1985-
    • Gale OneFile: Leadership and Management, 03/1971 -
    • General Reference Center Gold, 03/1980-
    • General Reference Centre International, 3/1980-
    • InfoTrac Custom, 3/1987-
    • MLA International Bibliography (Modern Language Association)
  • OCLC
    • ArticleFirst, vol.38, no.1, 1992-vol.57, no.4, 2011
    • Electronic Collections Online, vol.40, no.3, 1994-vol.57, no.4, 2011
    • Humanities Index (Online), 1983/01-
    • Periodical Abstracts, v.35, n.1, 1989-v.56, n.4, 2010
  • Personal Alert (E-mail)
  • ProQuest
    • Art, Design & Architecture Collection, 04/01/1989-
    • Arts & Humanities Database, 04/01/1989-
    • Arts Premium Collection, 4/1/1989-
    • Literary Journals Index Full Text
    • MLA International Bibliography (Modern Language Association)
    • Periodicals Index Online
    • Professional ProQuest Central, 04/01/1989-
    • ProQuest 5000, 04/01/1989-
    • ProQuest Central, 04/01/1989-
    • Research Library, 04/01/1989-
    • RILM Abstracts of Music Literature (Repertoire International de Litterature Musicale)

Abstracting & Indexing Sources

  • Children's Book Review Index   (Active)  (Print)
  • Abstracts of English Studies   (Ceased)  (Print)
  • Academic Index   (Ceased)  (Print)
  • Chicano Index   (Ceased)  (Print)
  • Index to Book Reviews in the Humanities   (Ceased)  (Print)
  • MLA Abstracts of Articles in Scholarly Journals   (Ceased)  (Print)
  • Middle East: Abstracts and Index   (Researched / Unresolved)  (Print)

Source: Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory.

0.5 (2023)
0.5 (Five-Year Impact Factor)
0.00066 (Eigenfactor™ Score)

Rank in Category (by Journal Impact Factor):
Note: While journals indexed in AHCI and ESCI are receiving a JIF for the first time in June 2023, they will not receive ranks, quartiles, or percentiles until the release of 2023 data in June 2024.

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Published quarterly

Readers include: Scholars and students of literary criticism

Print circulation: 381

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