Essays

MLQ accepts articles that pay attention to the broader scope of literary history regardless of genre or period. The focus of publication—and the sticking point—is literary history. General theory, historicist contextualizations, and self-contained close readings are not published. Essays should concern the situation and the action of literary works in time. Chronology must matter to the essay's argument or theoretical concern, together with the impact or interrelationship of imaginative texts.

Most contributors like to know MLQ's stance on copyediting and how we form relationships with our writers. See our copyediting page to read more from the editor.

Submission guidelines

MLQ requests electronic submission, readable by PC and formatted for Word or WordPerfect. Unlike the editor, readers are volunteers. Unless agreement has been secured in advance, submission or resubmission to MLQ implies a promise that the essay's contents have not been published elsewhere, in English or in another language, and that, in fairness to the journal and its consultants, MLQ will have exclusive right to consider the work for a period of four months. Your promise to the journal is also the journal's commitment that your essay will be handled as expeditiously as is reasonably possible. At most times of the year you can anticipate hearing from the editor within a couple of weeks after submission.

Initial submissions should be carefully prepared according to accepted professional norms. They do not need to conform to the MLQ style guide prior to acceptance. Please remember to number the pages. Essays do not usually exceed 9,000 words (including notes). A description of the contents and the author's background is optional.

We encourage blind evaluation. To ensure anonymity, essays should avoid self-identification in the header and on the article-opening page.

Like most journals, we recommend that you examine an issue before submitting.

Submission processes

The assistant editor will send a brief acknowledgment by email when the MLQ office receives your manuscript.

MLQ places a high value on prompt and informative response to submissions. If your essay's approach and execution appear promising, the editor will contact a scholar for an evaluation. About half the evaluations come from members of the Editorial and Advisory Boards, and the remainder from experts unaffiliated with the journal. About a quarter of submissions are sent to readers, and about half of those are eventually accepted, often after substantial revision. (Contributions to special issues are commissioned and are not counted in these estimates.)

You are always welcome to inquire into the status of your submission. Sometimes it helps.


Modern Language Quarterly | Department of English, Box 354330 | University of Washington | Seattle, WA 98195-4430
mlq@u.washington.edu