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Unread 09-18-2021, 09:38 AM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
Posts: 1,969
Default markets for essays about literature

Are there worthwhile venues for essays about lit that consider subs from writers with no academic credentials?

Topics of potential submissions include writings of Ralph Ellison, Lewis Carroll (prose--for his verse I could answer my own question), and John Barth.

Thanks in advance.
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Unread 09-18-2021, 02:50 PM
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: San Diego, CA, USA
Posts: 7,324

If it's an interesting, well-written essay, I don't see why the author's lack of a day job at Yale is going to be a deal-breaker.

Seems like you might just have to submit or send a letter of inquiry, in order to find out how important "academic credentials" are to a particular venue's prose editor.

Able Muse and Berfrois come to mind as possible venues. Note that Berfrois seems to make their submission info nearly impossible to find--I assume you need the "credentials" of having paid $50 per year for a Duotrope subscription, as proof that you're a serious writer, in order to find out how and when to submit.

Good luck!

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 09-18-2021 at 02:54 PM.
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Unread 09-18-2021, 03:31 PM
Sarah-Jane Crowson's Avatar
Sarah-Jane Crowson Sarah-Jane Crowson is offline
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: UK
Posts: 777

I echo what Julie says. I'd consider, too, particularly if you're going for paid, and if you're not already known to the editor or sub-editor, how you're going to pitch your idea to a potential editor. A great deal depends on if you're looking to publish in a traditional 'journal' (in the UK this would be a ref-able journal) or a more mainstream journal. I think the US is a bit less binary in the way you approach things, though.

But, for the latter, you'll probably need to pitch your idea to an editor. If you pitch well, you'll need to consider your specific audience/journal as well as the subject and how you, you the person, how you write, brings a perspective to the writing that will align with or speak to what the journal already publishes. But they won't care where your edu background lies as it'll be your ideas and your perspective that speaks to them.

If you're thinking about research-based journals, then perhaps also look at opportunities to co-author. That's the tried and tested pathway, and, again, I'm not sure in the US, but in the UK, it's getting a little more open, but in terms of academia, I'm social sciences not arts, so I'm not entirely sure about essays!

Either way, I expect there are places out there, but my advice, regardless, is to locate your own writing in the wider landscape, so that you can kind of triangulate your approach and pitch/ approach the right journal.

There are loads of online journals that take interesting essays, too, of course, by submission, so that might be an interesting entry route to explore too, although it won't earn you money or academic kudos.

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Unread 09-18-2021, 07:11 PM
E. Shaun Russell E. Shaun Russell is offline
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Columbus, OH
Posts: 2,077

For the humanities in the U.S., most articles in peer reviewed journals are sent to an editor who disseminates them to reviewers in the field of expertise. For instance, if you were sending something to Nineteenth-Century Literature, it would have the initial gatekeeper of the editor (or editors, in this case), and if they feel it's something suitable for the journal, they send it off for blind reviewing, and you'll eventually get it back with revision requests...or a general rejection. The key is making sure you're choosing the right journal to send it to, and you conform to their standards. It's not uncommon to see articles published by independent scholars. In fact, one of the best articles on Renaissance drama I've read was written by a lawyer who simply spent a bunch of time at the Folger Shakespeare Library, and came up with a rather brilliant realization about how time was typically tracked.

If you're talking about other sorts of journals, I'm personally not sure what's out there for non-academic critical articles.
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Unread 09-19-2021, 09:03 AM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
Posts: 1,969

Thank you, Julie, Sarah-Jane, and Shaun!

I've learned a lot from you about how some of these journals work. And I appreciate being told about the journals mentioned so far.
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Unread 09-19-2021, 11:02 AM
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RCL RCL is offline
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,023

You might try Submittable (it's free) and do a search for Essays. Oh, yes, Gettysburg and ThreePenny, among many others.
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Unread 09-20-2021, 05:50 AM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
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Location: Sunnyvale, CA
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Thank you, Ralph.
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