Proposals for new Legenda books
Legenda welcomes proposals from any source, but its remit is to publish advanced research in the modern Humanities and related disciplines, and in practice our authors are established or independent scholars with an academic background.
About a third of our authors are new to the profession, in their first academic posts: and as this may suggest, we welcome proposals based on doctoral theses. Please note, however, that we do not consider proposals to publish theses submitted for degrees below that of Ph.D. (or D.Phil.), and that we can only consider a proposal to publish a doctoral thesis once it has been passed by the examining university. It should also be borne in mind that a Ph.D. thesis may require considerable rewriting in order to be presented as a book to its best advantage, and that it may be best to regard even a finished thesis as the raw materials for a book rather than the book itself.
While the core of our list is likely to remain the study of European literature, language and culture, we have also published in classics, music, history, cinema, fine arts, and philosophy, in cases where there was a strong connection to our main remit. Note that ‘European’ includes English literature, and that we also publish on (for instance) the Francophone literature of Africa and the Caribbean, and on the Spanish and Lusophone literature of South America.
We do not ordinarily publish translations or single lectures.
Except in the case of the Research Monographs in French Studies series, which has its own rules (see below), there is no hard limit on the length of a Legenda book. However, in the main Legenda series we are unlikely to accept a monograph shorter than 60,000 words. Most titles are around 80,000 words in length, including all notes and bibliography, and we would require some persuasion that a monograph could justify a length significantly greater than that.
Legenda books are carefully edited, after detailed academic scrutiny, and are then produced to the highest standards. We do not require our authors to submit camera-ready copy, typesetting their own unedited work, as some presses do: but we do ask our authors to commit themselves to presenting manuscripts with a high level of consistency of MHRA style, and with accurate and complete bibliographic citation. Once production begins, the author will need to work through two or sometimes three levels of proofing, and also to prepare a judicious index. In practice, this means that we work very closely with our authors to achieve the best possible text of their books.
Proposals may be made either to the main editorial office of Legenda or to the chair of the book series in question.
In general, we prefer not to receive manuscripts or sample chapters in the first instance: in the early stages, these are not the most useful materials for us to consider. Instead, please submit just a formal proposal, as follows. The most convenient format for us is a Microsoft Word or PDF document sent by email to:
Graham Nelson, Managing Editor
To some extent the shape of a proposal must depend on the shape of the book it proposes: Legenda publishes medieval MSS, edited books of conference proceedings, etc., as well as monographs. However, the following guidance may be helpful.
A good proposal amounts to five or six pages of text. It will give a brief description of the book (about a page of text), clearly outlining how the proposed book relates to existing work in the field, and in what respects it breaks new ground. It should also say why colleagues working in other fields might be interested in the subject matter. If appropriate, it will go on to give a chapter summary, with each chapter summarised by a single paragraph.
Please indicate the expected time scale of the project: to what extent the book has already been written, and when you would expect to have a complete text ready. Please be realistic about this.
If your book is derived from a Ph.D. thesis, please indicate the university granting the doctorate and the year of examination, and let us know the names of the supervisor (or adviser) and the examiners. Though theirs would not be the only opinions sought, we are likely to seek their advice in confidence.
If your book is a collection of papers, please indicate clearly who the contributors will be. It is helpful to us to submit the proposal only when this is clearly established, rather than at a more tentative stage. If the book is a Festschrift, or intended to mark some anniversary or event, please indicate.
Lastly, it would be a courtesy to us to know if you are also submitting the book to other presses for consideration at the same time.
When your proposal is submitted, we will acknowledge its safe receipt and it will be referred to the Editorial Board, which will consider it both on its own merits and as judged against other books offered to us.
The Editorial Board does not have regular meetings but instead works continuously by email: this means that, although we will begin processing any new proposal at once, a delay of a few weeks is inevitable before we can respond. We ask your patience, and would like to reassure you that something is indeed happening.
If we decline your proposal, we will aim to give our reasons: if we wish to encourage your proposal, usually by asking to see the completed MS, we are likely to offer some guidance on how it might progress. In either case, comments from the Board and from specialist readers will be quoted anonymously.
It is Legenda policy to offer a formal contract to authors only when we have seen a substantially complete (though not necessarily final) MS. However, once a decision in principle has been made to publish a book we will normally make a formal exchange of ‘provisional acceptance’ letters with the author to establish the terms on which we intend to publish, and what obligations each party will have. We would always expect this to lead to a final contract and a successful outcome.
Professor Colin Davis, Chairman of the Editorial Board
Dr Graham Nelson, Managing Editor