Reviews of Peer-Reviewed Journals in the Humanities and Social Sciences

We give you the scuttlebutt on academic journals—aiding you in selecting the right journal for publication—in reviews that are sometimes snarky, sometimes lengthy, always helpful. Written by Princeton University graduate students and Wendy Laura Belcher.

Philosophy and Literature

For those who wish to publish articles in which they address an aesthetic object (usually literature) with an attitude explicitly attuned to formal concerns and in which they foreground a philosophical discussion, more or less sophisticated. Regardless, this journal asks for philosophy and literature. Not all of its authors are well prepared to speak equally, however, of both. (AI)

Generally, though by no means always, the journal seems to have moved away from the kind of polemics and antagonism that, in the late 1990s, for example, found it very publicly locking horns with Judith Butler as it pretended to denounce the new prose styles that emerged on the left in the so-called culture wars.  One of the journal’s long-time editors, Denis Duttson, proponent of adapting evolutionary theory to literary studies and a Libertarian, passed-away in 2010, which apparently can only have further softened P&L’s editorial position. (AI)

There appear in Philosophy and Literature, nevertheless, frequent methodological reflections born of the journal’s interdisciplinary stance. New Formalism, for example, is critiqued in Peter Sinnott Jr.’s April 2013 article, “Morality, Historical Narrative, and Problems in New Formalism,” for having bought its new object of study at the cost of “narrow[ing] the disciplinary field [to] minimize or exclude completely the influences of other disciplines, especially philosophy and history.” This complaint is exemplary of P&L’s commitment to literature as a complex aesthetic object that is best approached with the vigor of disciplinary variety. Though the contests among philosophical traditions and positions are welcome, any untoward or premature “narrowing” of the field is considered dishonest. Indeed, one does find a general melee of classical, critical and analytic philosophy in the journal— and the literary objects addressed, in fact, do appear all the more complex and interesting for it. (AI)

Then again, sometimes the philosophy is rather forced upon the hapless novel. One author, for example, sets out upon his way rather too determined to find a particular solution: “The father remains committed to such a world even though it is rife with cannibalism and violence. Why pass on such a way of life to his son? I enlist the ordinary language philosophy of Wittgenstein and Cavell to account for the father’s commitment.” (AI)

Useful Submission Information

The journal is published twice a year in April and October by the Johns Hopkins University Press.

Circulation is 823 and the average length of an issue is 224 pages. Averages 15 articles/year.

Current volume: 40

Current Editor: Garry Hagberg of Bard College.

In addition to main-volume articles, P&L includes various editorial sub-sections:

  • “In focus:” (eg. “Cavell in words;” “Reflections on Lyric Philosophy” [on Jan Zwicky])
  • Symposium  (e.g. “self-identity” or “FR Leavis: Critic, Teacher, Philosopher” or “Wittgenstein Contextualized”)
  • Notes and Fragments
  • Critical Discussions (i.e. “critical” reviews)
  • Reviews
  • Readers’ Responses

About Wendy Belcher

Associate Professor, Princeton University, Department of Comparative Literature and the Center for African American Studies. Author of Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success. Instructor of Deep Reading Journals as Publishing Praxis.


This entry was posted on February 28, 2017 in Humanities Journals, Literary Studies Journals, Philosophy Journals.