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Cover image of MFS: Modern Fiction Studies
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MFS: Modern Fiction Studies

Editor :

Robert P. Marzec, Purdue University

69 (2023)
MFS publishes theoretically engaged and historically informed articles on modernist and contemporary fiction. The journal's substantial book review section keeps readers informed about current scholarship in the field. MFS alternates general issues with special issues focused on individual novelists or topics that challenge and expand the concept of "modern fiction."
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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.

Call for Papers: Upcoming Special Issue Women Thinking in Public

Guest Editors: Debra Rae Cohen and Catherine Keyser
Deadline for Submissions: 1 December 2023

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:

We encourage queries ahead of submission: please direct them to Debra Rae Cohen ( and Catherine Keyser (


Robert P. Marzec

Associate Editor

Maren Linett

Editorial Assistants

Allyn Pearson
Matt Morgenstern
Thomas Daniel

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
Bill V. Mullen
Venetria K. Patton
Nancy J. Peterson
Arkady Plotnitsky
Aparajita Sagar

Editorial Advisory Board

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
Timothy Melley, Miami University
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
John Paul Riquelme, Boston University
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
Aarthi Vadde, Duke University
Jay Watson, University of Mississippi
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-
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    • Humanities Source Ultimate, 4/15/1965-
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    • 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-
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    • General Reference Center Gold, 03/1980-
    • General Reference Centre International, 3/1980-
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    • 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.

Published quarterly

Readers include: Scholars and students of literary criticism

Print circulation: 411

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