He got up and sat on the edge of the bedstead with his back to the window. “It’s better not to sleep at all,” he decided. There was a cold damp draught from the window, however; without getting up he drew the blanket over him and wrapped himself in it. He was not thinking of anything and did not want to think. But one image rose after another, incoherent scraps of thought without beginning or end passed through his mind. He sank into drowsiness. Perhaps the cold, or the dampness, or the dark, or the wind that howled under the window and tossed the trees roused a sort of persistent craving for the fantastic. He kept dwelling on images of flowers, he fancied a charming flower garden, a bright, warm, almost hot day, a holiday—Trinity day. A fine, sumptuous country cottage in the English taste overgrown with fragrant flowers, with flower beds going round the house; the porch, wreathed in climbers, was surrounded with beds of roses. A light, cool staircase, carpeted with rich rugs, was decorated with rare plants in china pots. He noticed particularly in the windows nosegays of tender, white, heavily fragrant narcissus bending over their bright, green, thick long stalks. He was reluctant to move away from them, but he went up the stairs and came into a large, high drawing-room and again everywhere—at the windows, the doors on to the balcony, and on the balcony itself—were flowers. The floors were strewn with freshly-cut fragrant hay, the windows were open, a fresh, cool, light air came into the room. The birds were chirruping under the window, and in the middle of the room, on a table covered with a white satin shroud, stood a coffin. The coffin was covered with white silk and edged with a thick white frill; wreaths of flowers surrounded it on all sides. Among the flowers lay a girl in a white muslin dress, with her arms crossed and pressed on her bosom, as though carved out of marble. But her loose fair hair was wet; there was a wreath of roses on her head. The stern and already rigid profile of her face looked as though chiselled of marble too, and the smile on her pale lips was full of an immense unchildish misery and sorrowful appeal. Svidrigaïlov knew that girl; there was no holy image, no burning candle beside the coffin; no sound of prayers: the girl had drowned herself. She was only fourteen, but her heart was broken. And she had destroyed herself, crushed by an insult that had appalled and amazed that childish soul, had smirched that angel purity with unmerited disgrace and torn from her a last scream of despair, unheeded and brutally disregarded, on a dark night in the cold and wet while the wind howled

Ranking of Literary Nonfiction Markets

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This list uses the Best American Essays series to rank magazines, literary journals, newspapers and other literary nonfiction markets by how often their essays are cited in the anthology.

If you’re writing literary nonfiction and looking for good magazines to submit your essay or other nonfiction, check out these markets.

The ranking covers the last five years (2011 – 2015), and a certain number of points are awarded for an essay appearing in the anthology, and a lesser amount is awarded for the Special Mention in the back of the journal. The Special Mentions are only tallied up for the last two years, though (2014 – 2015) because they run 10 – 15 pages and contain multitudes.

Some differences between this ranking and my Best American Short Stories ranking: the fiction list concentrates on the top journals, while this literary nonfiction one is much more democratic, spreading the wealth of mentions and publications across a far broader span of publications. I’m not sure why that is. It could be because the Best American Essays lists far more special mentions than the Best American Stories, letting them highlight lesser known publications. (If you’re into travel writing, please check out my Best Travel Writing Markets list).

What magazines and journals are punching above their weight class? The big surprises for me were that River Teeth and Southwest Review were ranked so highly, and also Guernica and Normal School made amazing showings.

The Sun and Fourth Genre also placed quite high, considering the company.

The Point, Notre Dame Magazine, Transition, and Prism received a lot of attention, and they’re also ones that are not likely to be on your radar, so pay attention: they’re publishing good stuff, and being recognized for it.

Don’t be too overwhelmed by the numerical place of each of these journals: the number doesn’t necessarily denote quality, it just means that the leaders in the industry (as represented by the guest editors of Best American Essays) have consistently labeled essays from that journal as being top notch. Taste has a large part to play as well. What is fantastic for the journal editor might not be an interesting read for you, and might also not be a good fit for the type of nonfiction you’ve written.

So please take these rankings with a grain of salt, and remember to do your own research and reading to find the right market for your literary nonfiction.

Literary Nonfiction Rankings:

Missing page 236 of 2015 BASS.

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