Doing the PhD

a PORT for Modern Languages tutorial

3 Building a bibliography

3.5 The MHRA style system

The Modern Humanities Research Association is a London based international organization whose purpose is to encourage and promote advanced study and research in the field of the modern humanities, especially modern European languages and literatures. Published first in 1971 as a style-sheet for their own publications, the MHRA Style Book has become a standard work of reference in the humanities. Its latest version (published in 2002 as MHRA Style Guide) includes chapters on 'Quotations and Quotation Marks', 'Footnotes and Endnotes', 'References', 'Preparation of Theses and Dissertations' and 'Useful Works of Reference'. It also discusses instructions on the so-called author-date system, devised in the USA. Besides being available in most libraries in the UK, the 2002 MHRA Style Book is downloadable free of charge from the MHRA website: MHRA Style Book (it can also be purchased as a hard copy for a modest sum). The information we are making available here is a much shortened version of what you will be able to find in the MHRA Style Book, so to acquire more detailed advice on how to incorporate into your bibliography information on volumes, editions, translations, titles within titles, etc., just click on the MHRA Style Book. To make orientation easier, we are providing the section numbers in the MHRA Style Book behind some of our examples. You just need to activate the hyperlink and look for the appropriate section in the MHRA Style Book. Moreover, please note that any titles underlined on this website, should be italicized on paper. We use underlining since italics are difficult to read on the computer screen.


Examples of references according to MHRA style

Books (monographs and collections of essays) (see MHRA Style Book: 10.2.2)

  • Book by one author
    Author's surname, her/his first name, title of book (place of publication: publisher, year of publication)
    Henley, Patricia, The Hummingbird House (Denver: MacMurray, 1999)
  • Two books by the same author:
    After the first line, replace the author's name with one hyphen, listing her/his books alphabetically.
    Palmer, William J., Dickens and New Historicism (New York: St. Martin's, 1997)
    The Films of the Eighties: A Social History (Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 1993)
  • Book by more than one author
    First author's surname, her/his first name, second author's first name, her/his surname, and last author's first name, last author's surname, title of book (place of publication: publisher, year of publication)
    Gillespie, Paula, and Neal Lerner, The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Peer Tutoring (Boston: Allyn, 2000)

    If you have more than three authors, only mention the first author followed by the formula 'and others'.
  • Books with one editor
    Editor's surname, her/his first name, ed., title of book (place of publication: publisher, year of publication)
    Peterson, Nancy J., ed., Toni Morrison: Critical and Theoretical Approaches (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1997)
  • Books with more than one editor
    First editor's surname, her/his first name, second editor's first name, second editor's surname, and last editor's first name, last editor's surname., eds., title of book (place of publication: publisher, year of publication)
    Larsson, Mans O., Alexander Z. Speier, and Jennifer R. Weiss, eds., Let's Go: Germany 1998 (New York: St. Martin's, 1998)
    If there are more than three editors, you may list only the first author followed by the phrase 'and others'.
  • Chapters or articles in a book (see MHRA Style Book: 10.2.3)
    Author's surname, her/his first name, 'title of essay', in title of collection, ed. by editor's first name, her/his surname (place of publication: publisher, year), pp. pages
    Harris, Muriel, 'Talk to Me: Engaging Reluctant Writers', in A Tutor's Guide: Helping Writers One to One, ed. by Ben Rafoth (Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2000), pp. 24-34

Articles (see MHRA Style Book: 10.2.4)

  • Article in a scholarly journal (with continuous pagination throughout a volume/year) 
    Author's surname, her/his first name, 'title of article', title of journal, volume (year), pages
    Allen, Emily, 'Staging identity: Frances Burney's Allegory of Genre', Eighteenth-century Studies, 31 (1998), 433-51
  • An article in a scholarly journal (with each issue of the journal beginning on page 1)
    Author's surname, her/his first name, 'title of article', title of journal, volume.issue number (year), pages.
    Duvall, John N., 'The (Super)marketplace of Images: Television as Unmediated Mediation in DeLillo's White Noise', Arizona Quarterly, 50.3 (1994), 127-53
  • Articles in newspapers or magazines
    Author's surname, her/his first name, 'title of article', title of source, day month year, pp. pages
    Schmidt, Erich, 'Tragedy of Three Star-Crossed Lovers', Daily Telegraph, 1 February 1990, p. 14
  • Article from a reference book with author stated
    Author's surname, her/his first name, 'title of article', in title of reference book, ed. by editor's name, volume number (place of publication: publisher, year), pp. pages
    Midge, Tim, 'Powwows', in Encyclopedia of North American Indians, ed. by D.L. Birchfield, 9 (New York: Marshall Cavendish, 1997), pp. 340-42

Manuscripts (see MHRA Style Book: 10.2.9)

  • Manuscripts
    name of repository, name of manuscript collection, number of document
    - British Library, Cotton MSS, Caligula D III, fol. 15
    - Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français, 1124
    - Sheffield Central Library, Fitzwilliam MS E.209

Electronic resources (see MHRA Style Book:10.2.10)

  • Website
    Author's surname, her/his first name, name of page <electronic address> [accessed date of access] 
    Felluga, Dino, Undergraduate Guide to Literary Theory < theory2.html> [accessed 15 November 2000]
  • Online article
    Author's surname, her/his first name, 'article title', name of online journal, volume.issue (year) <electronic address> [accessed date of access]
    Steve Sohmer, 'The Lunar Calendar of Shakespeare's King Lear', Early Modern Literary Studies, 5.2 (1999) <> [accessed 28 January 2000]
  • Article in an online encyclopedia
    'Title of article', in title of encyclopedia, <electronic address> [accessed date of access]
    'Ho Chi Minh', in Encarta Encyclopedia, <> [7 June 2003]
  • CD-ROM
    Title of CD-ROM (place of publication: publisher, year of publication) [on CD-ROM]
    Encarta 2004 Reference Library (New York: Microsoft, 2003) [on CD-ROM]
  • Article in a reference database on CD-ROM
    ' Title of article', in title of CD-ROM (place of publication: publisher, year) [on CD-ROM]
    'World War II', in Encarta (Seattle: Microsoft, 1999) [on CD-ROM]

Audio and video (see MHRA Style Book: 10:2.II)

  • Film, movie
    Title. Dir. Director’s name. Distributor. Year of release
    The Grapes of Wrath. Dir. John Ford. 20th-Century Fox. 1940
  • Sound recording
    Composer or author. Title of recording. Artist. Orchestra. Conductor. CD reference number.
    Johannes Brahms. Symphony No. 2. Wiener Philharmoniker. Cond. Carlo Maria Giulini. 435 348-2

Unpublished dissertations (see MHRA Style Book: 10.2.6)

  • Unpublished dissertations, theses
    Author's surname, her/his first name, 'title of dissertation/thesis' (unpublished doctoral thesis, name of university, year)
    Jackson, Marjorie, 'The Oboe: A study of its Development and Use' (Unpublished Doctoral Thesis, Columbia University, 1962)