MHRA Style Citation Demonstration

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

Atkin, Rhian (ed.), Textual Wanderings: The Theory and Practice of Narrative Digression (Cambridge: Legenda, 2011)

This is how standard MHRA style would look. Some of its book series (notably Legenda) allow an alternative citation system called 'author-date', but please talk to your editor before using it. (To see the demonstration for author-date, follow this link.)

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

Step 1. The entry begins with the author(s) or editor(s) of the volume, with the first name inverted into Surname, Forename. This is because a Bibliography is a list in surname order, so we need a surname up front.

Atkin, Rhian

Step 2. If somebody has a role other than that of author, it goes next, in brackets. One editor becomes '(ed.)', two or more '(eds)'. (Remember: 'ed.' stands for 'editor', not 'edited', so the full stop must be used, because 'd' is not its last letter.)

Atkin, Rhian (ed.)

Step 3. Now a comma, not a full stop:

Atkin, Rhian (ed.),

Step 4. Here we have the book's title, in italics, not quotation marks.

Atkin, Rhian (ed.), Textual Wanderings: The Theory and Practice of Narrative Digression

Step 5. 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.

Atkin, Rhian (ed.), Textual Wanderings: The Theory and Practice of Narrative Digression (Cambridge

Step 6. 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.

Atkin, Rhian (ed.), Textual Wanderings: The Theory and Practice of Narrative Digression (Cambridge: Legenda

Step 7. Then the year of first publication, and we're done with the bracketed part.

Atkin, Rhian (ed.), Textual Wanderings: The Theory and Practice of Narrative Digression (Cambridge: Legenda, 2011)

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

So how about citations in footnotes or endnotes?

In standard MHRA style, the first time the work is cited in a note, it should be cited in full. This looks very like a Bibliography entry, but:

  • The author's name doesn't always come first: only for monographs. For collections and editions, the title comes first.
  • Even if the author's name does come first, it's back to being the right way round, so it's Forename Surname, not Surname, Forename;
  • Unlike Bibliography entries, notes are punctuated as sentences, and usually end in full stops.

Suppose we want to cite a passage on pages 24 to 27:

34 See Textual Wanderings: The Theory and Practice of Narrative Digression, ed. by Rhian Atkin (Cambridge: Legenda, 2011), pp. 24-27.

But in any subsequent notes, a heavily abbreviated form is used:

37 Compare Atkin, p. 17.