MHRA Style Citation Demonstration

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

Hanley, Keith. 2016. ‘Letter to Willoughby Jones’, in John Ruskin's Continental Tour 1835: The Written Records and Drawings, ed. by Keith Hanley and Caroline S. Hull (Legenda), pp. 160–66, doi:10.2307/j.ctvfc564k.10

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'.

Hanley, Keith

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.

Hanley, Keith. 2016.

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

Hanley, Keith. 2016. ‘Letter to Willoughby Jones’

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

Hanley, Keith. 2016. ‘Letter to Willoughby Jones’, in

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

Hanley, Keith. 2016. ‘Letter to Willoughby Jones’, in John Ruskin's Continental Tour 1835: The Written Records and Drawings

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 '.'

Hanley, Keith. 2016. ‘Letter to Willoughby Jones’, in John Ruskin's Continental Tour 1835: The Written Records and Drawings, ed. by Keith Hanley and Caroline S. Hull

Step 7. Since this is a book, not a journal issue, we have to identify its source, in round brackets. Until 2024, MHRA style required a place of publication - for example, New York or Oxford. This is no longer given except in special circumstances.

Hanley, Keith. 2016. ‘Letter to Willoughby Jones’, in John Ruskin's Continental Tour 1835: The Written Records and Drawings, ed. by Keith Hanley and Caroline S. Hull (

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.

Hanley, Keith. 2016. ‘Letter to Willoughby Jones’, in John Ruskin's Continental Tour 1835: The Written Records and Drawings, ed. by Keith Hanley and Caroline S. Hull (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.

Hanley, Keith. 2016. ‘Letter to Willoughby Jones’, in John Ruskin's Continental Tour 1835: The Written Records and Drawings, ed. by Keith Hanley and Caroline S. Hull (Legenda)

Step 10. Now the pagination. And 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'.

Hanley, Keith. 2016. ‘Letter to Willoughby Jones’, in John Ruskin's Continental Tour 1835: The Written Records and Drawings, ed. by Keith Hanley and Caroline S. Hull (Legenda), pp. 160–66

Step 11. This contribution has a DOI, so the Fourth Edition Guide (2024) requires us to quote it, like so.

Hanley, Keith. 2016. ‘Letter to Willoughby Jones’, in John Ruskin's Continental Tour 1835: The Written Records and Drawings, ed. by Keith Hanley and Caroline S. Hull (Legenda), pp. 160–66, doi:10.2307/j.ctvfc564k.10

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’ (Hanley 2016: 21).

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

34 Hanley 2016.

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.