The Madison Journal of Literary Criticism is a journal based in the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Their mission: “A space for undergraduate students of literature to publish their scholarly work and engage in contemporary literary debates.” The publication consists of 8-15 essays and is releases every April. The four main points they look for in submissions are “originality, eloquence, internal coherence, and quality of engagement with academic scholarship.” Thoughts and work are meant to intertwine to create pieces that not only display literary concepts but the thoughts and comments by the author. The publication is run by students. Their two editors-in-chief are Eliza Weisberg and Kristina Sherk.
Their submission guidelines are very defined. They require more of an essay style format for submitted pieces with restricted creative influence. They must have clear theses and thought-provoking argument. Each submission is read in rounds. The essay must be read by all members of the staff before being discussed in a group. If a piece does not make it to the following round, it’s not considered for the journal. The ones that make it through each round are then compared to fellow chosen essays and thoroughly discussed as to which deserve to be in the journal.
This journal caught my eye when searching for literary journals to profile because I’ve never run across this before. The topic of debate can be touchy because it can rise and get heated very quickly. But the fact that this journal has published six successful issues is outstanding. I find the submission guidelines very articulate but greatly differ from the Great Lake Review. The Great Lake Review allows more freedom compared to The Madison Journal of Literary Criticism. The critique and debate aspect is of strong value and if the submitted piece does not contain that, it doesn’t make it to the final round of review. The process of publication compared to other journal styles is unique and brings a new touch to the variety of journals out there.
The Madison Journal of Literary Criticism has a strength that I’ve never seen appear in a journal. Critique is a part of writing that everyone seems to dread. Writers want their first drafts to be perfect and never look at them again. I enjoy the fact that The MJLC focuses on this component and focuses their whole journal around it. It’s refreshing and I hope to see this in future journals.