Painting of man with absinthe glass by Picasso

Addiction is at the forefront of global conversations on biopolitics, yet its history is only beginning to be uncovered. This special issue investigates addiction’s long history and offers new approaches to understanding this familiar phenomenon. Scholars from a variety of elds, including literary studies, history, philosophy, and medicine, reassess what counts as addiction and where we might nd it: addiction can be an expression of devotion, a form of authorial inspiration, or a prejudicial phenomenon, particularly targeting racialized groups through imperial and settler colonial policies on drug use.

Surreal painting of man and creatures mid-air
Trauma and Horror

The genre of horror specializes in hyperbolic scenarios of human subjects in the throes of excruciating physical and psychic pain and develops these scenarios by means of phantasmic images and hallucinatory narrative sequences. Thus horror can be said to generate perversely accurate representations of traumatic events and of the aftermath of dynamically unpredictable symptoms that torment traumatized subjects. Also perversely, horror is a genre that invites its reader or spectator into a pleasurable relationship with trauma, offering up trauma as a compelling spectacle to be consumed and even enjoyed. This special issue explores horror’s strategies for representing personal and historical trauma, horror’s ability (or failure, or refusal) to abreact trauma, and the paradoxical appeal of a popular genre devoted to the unpleasure of shock, violence, and psychic disorientation.

Portrait photograph of Claude McKay in profile
Transhistoricizing Claude McKay’s Romance in Marseille

When Claude McKay’s abandoned novel Romance in Marseille (1929–33) was rst published by Penguin Classics in 2020, reviews across popular media praised the new-old text as one that resonated with both the present moment and the hundred-year-old era of the New Negro. Romance arrived as an “instant classic,” as one reviewer put it: both a benchmark of the Harlem Renaissance and, because of its exceptional inclusivity, a fresh statement that could have been written for woke twenty- rst-century readers. Dedicated to transhistoricizing the novelty as well as the familiarity of Romance, this special issue offers pioneering and theoretically fertile readings of the novel from scholars working in a wide range of critical areas.

vibrant sunset behind mountain range, reflected in water
Indigenous Futures and Medieval Pasts

This special issue responds to the recent turn toward indigeneity in medieval studies. It advocates for a slower approach to this turn—one that considers the conditions in which it is possible to imagine not an intersection but a kinship between these two disciplines. Speci cally, this issue seeks to create a space of mutuality in which generative conversations can take place across disciplinary boundaries between Indigenous and medieval studies, as well as Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars. This issue presents a cross section of work, mostly from medievalists, intended to be read by medievalists and Indigenous studies scholars alike. It is our hope that by eschewing staunch disciplinarity in favor of wider accessibility, this collection will create space for medievalists and Indigenous studies scholars to ask themselves what they have to offer one another in their mutual struggles to imagine anticolonial futures.

Brightly illustrated birds walk in a line across a dark background
Indigenous Narratives of Territory and Creation: Hemispheric Perspectives

This special issue is devoted to studying narratives of creation and territorial origin as they are told and transmitted in Indigenous languages and con ictive settings of the Americas. It advocates for the revitalization and revaluation of Indigenous languages, not merely for linguistic purposes but also with an epistemological and political emphasis, in that these languages are vehicles of different worldviews and forms of knowledge that propose alternatives to Western epistemologies. Symbolic territory and land reclamation are the focus of much Indigenous activism in the Americas. This issue explores Indigenous narratives that provide legitimacy to and a foundation for this political practice. At the same time, it nds the ways in which these narratives are spread continentally, in speci c contexts and beyond national histories. This issue comparatively studies narratives of territory and creation of Indigenous communities that were and are constantly displaced and seeks to understand the diasporic meaning of these narratives in the context of the struggle for land.

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This special issue addresses one current of this work: oceanic studies.  This maritime turn, to some degree, is born of what Dipesh Chakrabarty calls the overlapping processes of globalization and global warming. In modern European history, the sea is both the “blank space” through which traders and explorers conquered and mapped the globe and a non-human actant, whose vast material presence is irreducible to human appropriation.  With the naming of the Anthropocene—and with its oceanic consequences (rising sea levels, melting ice, ocean acidification, unprecedented storms, and mass extinction events) human-centered history and the oceanic geological force have become irrevocably braided together.  The maritime turn asks us to consider the textualization of the waters—the submerged histories, aesthetics, and ontologies of “heavy waters” (DeLoughrey)—along with the altered temporal and spatial scales, geographies, and agencies of the nonhuman sea, and to imagine new ways of connecting the two.

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Latinx Lives in Hemispheric Context

This special issue investigates the intersections among Latinx, Chicanx, ethnic, and hemispheric American Studies, mapping the history of Latinx and Latin American literary and cultural production as it has circulated through the United States and the Americas. The issue comprises original archival research on Latinx print culture, modernismo, and land grabs, as well as short position pieces on the relevance of “Latinx” both as a term and as a field category for historical scholarship, representational politics, and critical intervention. Taken as a whole, the issue interrogates how Latinx literary, cultural, and scholarly productions circulate across the Americas in the same ways as the lives and bodies of Latinx peoples have moved, migrated, or mobilized throughout history.

Critical and Comparative Mysticisms journal cover

Critical and Comparative Mysticisms (56.1)
56.1, April 2018

This special issue of ELN invited contributions on Jewish, Christian, and Islamic mysticisms, including mystical practices and beliefs, mystical writings, the culture of mysticism, and mystics themselves...

A respected forum of criticism and scholarship in literary and cultural studies since 1962, the recent incarnation of English Language Notes – ELN – is dedicated to pushing the edge of scholarship in literature and related fields in new directions. Broadening its reach geographically and transhistorically, ELN’s semi-annual issues provide a wide-ranging print and digital forum of topical clusters, roundtable debates, artistic collaborations, reviews, and traditional scholarly essays.


We are not accepting new submissions at this time as we transition to the ScholarOne Manuscripts management system.

Forthcoming Issues
  • Fashion's Borders
    60.2, October 2022
    Jane Garrity and Celia Marshik, Special Issue Editors
  • PANDEMIC! COVID-19 and Literary Studies
    61.1, April 2023
    Jason Gladstone, Nan Goodman, and Karim Mattar, co-editors