Journal Highlights: Notes & Queries

Richard Rohlin

New Member
So you've just finished that highly controversial paper on Class III Weak Verbs or why His Dark Materials is the greatest fantasy epic of the age. Do you let it gather dust in the recesses of your hard drive, going the way of so many great essays which might have been? Do you tuck it blithely into a binder and move on, leaving that chapter of your life and research in the rear-view mirror? You could, but I'm guessing by the fact that you're here, on this forum, reading this post, that you're the kind of person who wants to move out of the echo chamber of one and into the great conversation. That's the goal of this series of posts.

Each week over the course of the summer, I'll be highlighting one journal or other publication avenue where you can send essays, papers, short stories, and poems which you may have written in the course of your work at Signum University or in response to the kind of literature we read and discuss at the Mythgard University. This selection of journals is taken largely from the excellent research guides created by our Signum librarians. Each post includes an overview of a journal or other publication outlet, including the kinds of things that outlet publishes and the requirements for submission. Finally, we'll cover a "you might want to submit to this journal if..." criteria which will help you know whether this journal is one you should consider.

First up is a writeup of Notes & Queries from Signum's own Leslie Reece:

Notes & Queries (NQ) was founded in London in 1849 as a weekly publication intended to be “a medium of intercommunication for literary men, artists, antiquaries, genealogists, etc.” In those days some of the most prominent philologists in the field were often represented in its pages; Walter W. Skeat was a frequent contributor. NQ is now a quarterly academic journal, published by Oxford University Press. The current front matter describes NQ as a journal devoted to “English language and literature, lexicography, history, and scholarly antiquarianism,” adding that the focus is on “the factual, rather than the speculative.” Modern issues include book reviews, as well as the original “notes,” which are short articles on varied literary and historical subjects, and the “queries,” which are questions from readers, with replies.

Modern issues of NQ comprise two or three queries, a half-dozen or so book reviews, and 40-50 notes. In the early days of NQ some of the notes were quite short, just a few paragraphs, but today most of them seem to be around the length of a short paper: 1200-1500 words. The subject matter for notes is quite varied: the most-read articles listed on the NQ website include a discussion about the concept of “angels dancing on the head of a pin” as well as the origins of the word playwright. A recent issue contains an etymological note about the verb to dare in the phrase “to dare larks” alongside a more literary note entitled “Mrs Austen’s finances—a reassessment” and a discussion of the spelling of Brunanburgh, the location of the famous battle. With so many notes per issue, NQ is like the deconstruction of some great encyclopedia, containing entries for eclectic ideas readers will find absorbing, even though those subjects may never have come to mind otherwise.

Submissions to NQ

NQ accepts both physical and digital submissions. No submissions account is necessary; attachments may be sent via email. The submission guidelines are available on the Oxford Academic website ( A style guide is included, although authors are encouraged to consult The Oxford Guide to Style, Oxford, 2nd edition (2002) and The Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors (2000) as a more authoritative measure. NQ is not peer-reviewed, and there are no particular edition requirements for quotations or translations. Reviews seem to be solicited rather than submitted, since there are instructions for sending review copies, but no list of books up for review. All articles are in English.

You should submit to NQ if…
  • You have written a short but interesting article on a subject of literature or lexicography/etymology.
  • Your scholarship and research are beyond reproach, but the subject of your article seems a bit quirky for the more conventional academic journals.

That's all for now. Do you have a suggestion for a journal or other publication you think we should know about? Reply to this thread and let us know!
Last edited: