Arthurian Literature Style Sheet

1. Presentation

We prefer that you submit your text electronically, either as an MS Word document file or in .rtf if you do not use Word. Please use a uniform 12pt font for both text and footnotes. Use double spacing throughout, including quotations and notes. Number each page at the top right-hand corner.

2. Headings and Sub-headings

Use headings and sub-headings where appropriate in the interests of clarity. Put headings in capitals, roman and centred; sub-headings in lower case with initial capital, italicized, and centred; use sub-sub-headings only if unavoidable, in lower case with initial capital, italicized, in the left margin.

3. Italics and Single Quotation Marks

Use italics, indicated by single underlining, for titles of books and journals, and for foreign words. Do not italicize foreign words which are now in common English use: status quo, laissez-faire. Titles of poems (unless book length), chapters and articles should be in roman with single quotation marks. Put individual tales in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales or in Malory’s Le Morte Darthur in single quotation marks.

4. Abbreviations and Contractions

Use roman for: n.b., e.g., i.e., but italics for c. (circa) and [sic], the latter in square brackets. 

Do not use full stops in abbreviations consisting of capital letters only: EETS. Use italics if the expanded version is italicized: DNB. Use an abbreviation (without full stops) such as ME, OF before a linguistic form but not in running prose: Middle English verse; Old French language. Do not use the abbreviations MS or MSS in running prose, but write the words in full. If you do use the abbreviated form, omit full stop.

Elsewhere, use a full stop at the end of a truncation/abbreviation which does not include the final letter of the word: p. (page), Fr. (French), ed. (editor), trans. (translator). Do not use a full stop after a contraction which ends with the final letter of the word: Dr, edn (edition); but a stop should be used after the -s of a plural if it would be used after the corresponding singular: vol., vols.

5. Dates

Dates should be in the form Friday, 30 September 1312; 30 September 1312; 30 September; September 1312. BC follows the date, but AD precedes it: 30 BC; AD 451.

6. Numbers

Numbers below 100 should be spelt out, except in series or tables. Centuries should be spelt out: thirteenth century; with a hyphen when used adjectivally: thirteenth-century writers.

7. Punctuation

Do not use commas before the final ‘and’ or ‘or’ in lists: Arthur, Gawain and Launcelot. Do not use apostrophes in decades: the nineties, the 1450s; or in plural forms such as MPs.

8. Upper and Lower Case

Use lower case for pronouns referring to God. Use caps in King Arthur (where it is a title), but lower case for terms signifying rank, as in: Arthur, king of England; Richard, duke of York. Use lower case for ‘medieval’ but caps for ‘Middle Ages’.

9. Quotations

Quotations of up to five lines (around sixty words) should be incorporated into the text within single quotation marks. Use double quotation marks for quotations within quotations. 

Quotations of more than five lines should be indented and typed in double spacing without quotation marks.

Quotations of more than a few words in languages other than Middle English should normally be translated. The translation should follow the quotation, enclosed in brackets.

Use square brackets if you insert any words into a quotation.

Where a quotation forms a complete sentence, place the quotation mark outside the concluding stop, whether a full stop, question mark or exclamation mark. Where the quotation ends a sentence of your own, place the quotation mark inside the concluding stop of your sentence.

If you quote more than once from the same text, cite the edition in full in a footnote after the first quotation. For subsequent quotations, give the line or page reference in brackets at the end of the quotation, normally putting punctuation after the closing bracket.

10. Paragraphs

Use indentation to signal the start of a paragraph. If you do not do this, it is often difficult to tell after an indented quotation whether a new paragraph is intended.

11. Spelling

Adopt the spellings of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. Where there are alternative ise/ize spellings use the latter. Spell ‘medieval’ with ‘e’, not ‘ae’. Use British, not American spellings where these differ: ‘humour’, not ‘humor’. Use the form ‘Guenevere’, not ‘Guinevere’.

12. Notes

Notes should be indicated by superscript numbers and listed at the end of the article. A superscript number should follow the adjacent punctuation: ‘the earliest known text’,4 (not ‘the earliest known text’4, or ‘the earliest known text4’,).

13. References

(a) Books should be cited in full in a first reference, in the sequence: 

Author: initials only (regardless of how the forenames are cited on the title page), preceding surname, with spaces between initials and between initials and surname: E. T. Donaldson

Full title: italicized, with capitals for all significant words, as it appears on the title page. Use colon between title and sub-title. For Latin and French titles, see para. 14 below.

Editor(s) or translator(s): in the form ‘ed.’ or ‘trans.’ (even if more than one), without comma before name (initials first): ed. E. T. Donaldson

Series title and number: title in roman. (If initials only, use caps without spaces between them; no commas between sets of initials: EETS ES). Series number in arabic numerals, without punctuation between series title and numerals: Studies of the Warburg Institute 32; EETS ES 74; if citing two-volume text, put ‘and’, not comma, between the two numerals: EETS OS 131 and 136

Number of edition if not first: give numbers as 2nd, 3rd (not spelt out); abbreviate edition as edn, without full stop: 3rd edn

Number of volumes if more than one, with full stop after vols.: 2 vols.

Place and year(s) of publication: enclosed in brackets, with comma between them. Do not precede bracket by comma. Do not include publisher. Do not cite the date of a photographic reprint which is not a new edition, but cite the original date. If text is multi-volume, give first and last years of publication in the form ‘1904–13’.

Volume number, if more than one volume: in roman numeral caps. Do not precede by ‘vol.’.

Page number(s) of passage cited: preceded by ‘p.’ or ‘pp.’, unless a volume or series number has been included, in which case omit ‘p.’ Give first and last pages of citation, in the form ‘pp. 231–37’, not ‘pp. 231 ff.’ If citing two separate pages, use ‘and’, not comma: 21 and 34, not 21, 34.

Each of these items, apart from the last, is followed by a comma except before a bracket. The last is followed by full stop.

C. D. Benson, The History of Troy in Middle English Literature (Woodbridge, 1980), p. 119.

M. Pollet, John Skelton, Poet of Tudor England, trans. J. Warrington (London, 1971).

La Queste del Saint Graal, ed. A. Pauphilet (Paris, 1923), pp. 77–8.

La Légende Arthurienne, ed. E. Faral, 3 vols. (Paris, 1929), III, 72.

N. R. Ker, Medieval Libraries of Great Britain: A List of Surviving Books, 2nd edn (London, 1964), pp. 120–3.

The Brut or the Chronicles of England, ed. F. Brie, EETS OS 131 and 136, 2 vols. (London, 1906–8), I, 35–6.

H. Büchtal, Historia Troiana: Studies in the History of Medieval Secular Illustration, Studies of the Warburg Institute 32 (London, 1971), 48–51.

(b) Articles in books in a first reference should be cited in the sequence above, but put the title of the article (in roman, within single quotation marks) after the author; follow it by a comma and then ‘in’ and the full title of the book. Give the first and last page numbers of the whole article, preceded by ‘pp.’ (unless you include a series or volume number, in which case omit ‘p.’). If necessary, give page number(s) of particular reference, preceded by ‘p.’ or ‘pp.’, in
brackets. Do not precede bracket by comma.

S. Knight, ‘The Social Function of the Middle English Romances’, in Medieval Literature: Criticism, Ideology and History, ed. D. Aers (Brighton, 1986), pp. 99–122 (p. 119).

(c) Articles in journals in a first reference should be cited in the sequence:

Author, initials first

Title of article, in roman, within single quotation marks, with capitals for significant words

Title of journal, in italics. Abbreviate familiar titles, omitting full stops: PMLA; JEGP. If you are not certain whether a title is familiar, give it in full. Abbreviate ‘new series’ as ‘n.s.’. Do not precede by comma

Volume number, in arabic numerals

Year of publication, in brackets

First and last page numbers of article, omitting ‘pp.’ If necessary, give page number(s) of
particular reference, preceded by ‘p.’ or ‘pp’, in brackets.

The first two items are followed by commas. Do not put a comma between the name of the journal and the volume number, or between the volume number and the following bracket.

V. M. Lagorio, ‘The Evolving Legend of St Joseph of Glastonbury’, Speculum 46 (1971), 211–31 (p. 225). 

R. M. Lumiansky and D. Mills, ‘The Five Cyclic Manuscripts of the Chester Cycle of Mystery Plays: A Statistical Survey of Variant Readings’, Leeds Studies in English n.s. 7 (1974), 95–107.

(d) Unpublished theses: reference to theses should be in the sequence:

Author, initials first

Title, in roman, within single quotation marks

Degree, if known, in the form: ‘unpublished M.Phil. dissertation’; if degree is not known, put ‘unpublished dissertation’ University


The first two are separated by a comma; the last three are separated by commas and placed within brackets.

P. M. Robinson, ‘A Study of Some Aspects of the Transmission of English Verse Texts in Late Medieval Manuscripts’ (unpublished B.Litt. dissertation, Oxford, 1972), p. 24.

The sequences in (a), (b), (c) and (d) above should be followed in the first reference to a book, article or thesis. In subsequent references to the same item, repeat the surname of the author, and an abbreviated form of the title, with specific page reference:

Pollet, John Skelton, p. 80.
Queste, ed. Pauphilet, p. 69.
Ker, Medieval Libraries, p. 45.
Brut, ed. Brie, I, 81.
Knight, ‘Social Function’, p. 103
Lagorio, ‘Evolving Legend’, 230.
Robinson, ‘English Verse Texts’, p. 24.

(e) Manuscripts should be identified by location and shelfmark, not just by name: Findern manuscript (Cambridge University Library, Ff. i. 6). In references to recto or verso of a leaf, put ‘fol.’ with space before numeral; use ‘fols.’ for plural. Specify recto and verso by ‘r’ and ‘v’ (no full stop), without a space between numeral and letter: fol. 44r; fol. 12v. Specify columns by ‘a’ and ‘b’, without space: fol. 44ra; fol. 12vb. Put line numbers last: fol. 44ra9; fol. 12v21.

In first references to manuscripts give location and then shelfmark, omitting ‘MS’. Omit place-name if it is included in the name of the library: Lincoln Cathedral Library, 91. If the location includes the word ‘Library’ or its foreign equivalent, put a comma before the shelfmark; otherwise omit comma: Oxford, Balliol College 354. Put spaces between the elements in a shelfmark.

Oxford, Bodleian Library, Rawlinson C 398, fol. 28v
London, British Library, Harley 661, fol. 44r
London, British Library, Additional 37049
Cambridge, Trinity College 0. 2. 53, fols. 12v–14r

Subsequent references may be shortened:

Rawlinson C 398, fol. 28v
Harley 661, fol. 44r
BL Add. 37049 (omit comma after BL)
Trinity 0. 2. 53, fols. 12v–14r

14. Texts in Languages Other than English

Use the original titles, not translations (unless the translation is being specifically referred to): Historia regum Britanniae, not The History of the Kings of Britain.

For Latin titles: use capital letters for the first word and any proper nouns.

For French titles: use capital letters for the first word and any proper nouns. If the first word is an article, capitalize the first noun and any intervening adjectives. If the first word is neither an article nor an adjective, put all the following words in lower case: La Mort le roi Artu; Le Bel Inconnu; ‘Quand les princes n’épousaient pas les bergères’.

15. References to the Bible

Give the name of book in roman, preceded by number of book, if necessary, in roman numerals; chapter and verse(s) in arabic numerals, separated by full stop and space: Isaiah 4. 4; II Timothy 3. 10–17. Use the Vulgate numbering for Psalms.

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