(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: http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/mfs
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
Modern Fiction Studies
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.
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.
Although the inclination to read fiction was historically understood as a sign of women’s exclusion from the realm of intellection, in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, fiction has become a place where women perform philosophical and political reflection and debate, revel in cleverness, place essayistic and novelistic voices in conversation, challenge the mind-body divide that would consign them to–and devalue–the flesh, and redefine the shape of intellectual labor.
As the Dobbs decision denies women’s constitutional right to bodily autonomy in the United States (on the heels of a pandemic that drove many women out of the workplace and into caregiving roles) and as social media amplifies both a new breed of female public intellectual and the virulent backlash against them, the keywords of this special issue take on renewed urgency. This special issue of MFS seeks neither to collapse intersectional experience into a white-washed mass of Women Thinking nor to project a Habermassian public sphere of rational individuals, abstracted from race, sexuality, ability, or any other coordinates of identity. Rather, we see the phrase “women thinking in public” as a provocation, a modern problem, that fiction both catalogs and catalyzes.
We take inspiration from recent work that recovers women’s communications and collaborations, modes of thought, and even strategies for survival in the academy: Rachel Sagner Buurma and Laura Heffernan’s The Teaching Archive; Saidiya Hartman’s Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments; Melanie Micir’s The Passion Projects; Mo Moulton’s The Mutual Admiration Society; Imani Perry’s Vexy Thing; and Sara Ahmed’s Living a Feminist Life and Complaint! Like these works, we take seriously pedagogy, performance, friendship, intimacy, gossip, bitchiness, and embodiment as templates for new intellectual modes.
We seek essays that illuminate the way that fiction can itself serve as a mode of public intellectualism, as both depiction and enactment of women thinking, attending to the connections between gendered expression, the forms of thought and the forms of fiction. Questions to be considered might include the following:
What styles, tones, and personae in modern and contemporary fiction signal authorial wit while perhaps disowning the institutional and masculinist inheritances of intellectualism? What role do cleverness, banter, and syntax play in the presentation of the woman thinking in public? How does such cleverness provoke, unsettle, and engage politically? How does fictional form serve to activate new ways of thinking, to draw new constellations of publics? How have women mobilized traditional associations with gossip, “chatter,” and folk tale to turn quotidian talk, intimate improvisation, and collaborative sociality into the tools of thought? How does fiction about women thinking in public challenge the identification of intellectualism with abstraction and disembodiment, which is also a patriarchal and white supremacist inheritance? How do queer fiction, trans fiction, science fiction, and other genres and modes invested in the visceral and the material, generate new models for women thinking? How does the scandal of the thinking woman as a literary character move from The Female Quixote to The Group to Conversations with Friends?
Essays should be 7,000-9,000 words, including all quotations and bibliographic references, and should follow the MLA Handbook (8th edition) for internal citations and Works Cited. Please submit your essay via the online submission form at the following web address: mc.manuscriptcentral.com/mfs
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:
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 http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/mfs. Queries ahead of submission may be directed to Roanne Kantor (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Ragini Tharoor Srinivasan (email@example.com).
Robert P. Marzec
Emily M. Pearson
Magalí Armillas-Tiseyra, Pennsylvania State 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
Marlo Denice David
Shaun F. D. Hughes
Robert Paul Lamb
Alfred J. López
Jennifer Freeman Marshall
Nancy J. Peterson
Paul B. Armstrong, Brown University
Herman Beavers, University of Pennsylvania
Michael Bérubé, Pennsylvania State University
Stephen J. Burn, University of Glasgow
Debra Rae Cohen, University of South Carolina
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
Ramón Saldívar, Stanford University
Urmila Seshagiri, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
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:
Modern Fiction Studies
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.
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