MHRA Style Citation Demonstration

According to the MHRA Style Guide, this item should be cited in a bibliography as follows:

Long, J. J.. 2011. ‘Introduction: “Perfume from a dress...”: On Not Getting to the Point’, in Textual Wanderings: The Theory and Practice of Narrative Digression, ed. by Rhian Atkin (Cambridge: Legenda), pp. 1–14

This is in the author-date variant of MHRA style. MHRA's journals don't allow author-date citation, but some of its book series (notably Legenda) do: please talk to your editor before using this. (To see the demonstration for regular style instead, follow this link.)

Let's take this bibliography entry one step at a time:

Step 1. We start with the name(s) of the author(s) of the article, inverting the first name into the form 'Forename, Surname'.

Long, J. J.

Step 2. In author-date style, we have a full stop, then the year, then another full stop. If there are multiple entries with the same author and year, letters would be used to distinguish them: e.g., Bloggs 1994a, Bloggs 1994b.

Long, J. J.. 2011.

Step 3. Now we add the title, in single inverted commas. Any single quotation marks already in the title must be converted to doubles.

Long, J. J.. 2011. ‘Introduction: “Perfume from a dress...”: On Not Getting to the Point’

Step 4. We have to say where this comes from, so:

Long, J. J.. 2011. ‘Introduction: “Perfume from a dress...”: On Not Getting to the Point’, in

Step 5. Next we identify where the article is to be found, using italics, not quotation marks, for the volume title.

Long, J. J.. 2011. ‘Introduction: “Perfume from a dress...”: On Not Getting to the Point’, in Textual Wanderings: The Theory and Practice of Narrative Digression

Step 6. After the title come any editors or translators. It's 'ed. by', not 'ed by', because although 'ed.' abbreviates 'edited', we regard the 'd' as the second letter of 'edited', not the last: so the abbreviation doesn't contain the last letter, and thus must have a full stop '.'

Long, J. J.. 2011. ‘Introduction: “Perfume from a dress...”: On Not Getting to the Point’, in Textual Wanderings: The Theory and Practice of Narrative Digression, ed. by Rhian Atkin

Step 7. Since this is a book, not a journal issue, we have to identify its source, in round brackets. First, place of publication. This can be ambiguous. Legenda may be edited in Oxford, but the registered address of MHRA, which owns Legenda, is in Cambridge.

Long, J. J.. 2011. ‘Introduction: “Perfume from a dress...”: On Not Getting to the Point’, in Textual Wanderings: The Theory and Practice of Narrative Digression, ed. by Rhian Atkin (Cambridge

Step 8. Now a colon, a space, and the publisher's name. Here that's Legenda because this is the imprint name under which the book is published, even though Legenda is not strictly speaking a company. To decide these things, one must look at the exact wording of the preliminary pages. Our preference is for Legenda books to be cited as 'Legenda', and we word our preliminaries with that aim.

Long, J. J.. 2011. ‘Introduction: “Perfume from a dress...”: On Not Getting to the Point’, in Textual Wanderings: The Theory and Practice of Narrative Digression, ed. by Rhian Atkin (Cambridge: Legenda

Step 9. Since we had the date of first publication up front, we don't need it here, so we're done with the bracketed part.

Long, J. J.. 2011. ‘Introduction: “Perfume from a dress...”: On Not Getting to the Point’, in Textual Wanderings: The Theory and Practice of Narrative Digression, ed. by Rhian Atkin (Cambridge: Legenda)

Step 10. Now the pagination. This is a book, so we use 'p.' or 'pp.' as appropriate. Number ranges are elided in the last two digits: thus '2234-2265' should be '2234-65', and '102-109' should be '102-09'.

Long, J. J.. 2011. ‘Introduction: “Perfume from a dress...”: On Not Getting to the Point’, in Textual Wanderings: The Theory and Practice of Narrative Digression, ed. by Rhian Atkin (Cambridge: Legenda), pp. 1–14

And that's the finished bibliography entry. Note that there's no final full stop.

So how about citations in the main text, or in footnotes or endnotes?

The advantage of the author-date system is that these are very concise. In fact, you don't need a note at all. Suppose we quote from page 21:

The author reminds us of Shakespeare’s view: ‘Better a foolish wit than a witty fool’ (Long 2011: 21).

And notes are concise too. There's no difference in how to treat the first and subsequent notes.

34 Long 2011.

So is author-date easier than regular MHRA style? Not always. Firstly, it may not be allowed by your editor, so check before using. But secondly, it makes books easier to write, but only at the cost of making them harder to proof-read. If you discover at the last moment that Blenkinsop 1996 was actually published in 1995, that can mean hundreds of corrections to make, and it gets worse if an author has many publications in the same year, because Blenkinsop 1996e and Blenkinsop 1996d are easy to confuse.