Medieval Studies: MLA Documentation

Michael Delahoyde
Washington State University


In writing about humanities, especially literature (and film), we tend to use present tense to convey the ongoing life of the work: e.g., Andreas Capellanus tells Walter that love is suffering; St. Buddy looks coyly to the left in Michelangelo’s last fresco. Inside your discussion, offer parenthetical citations (just author and page) not only for direct quotations, but also for summarized and paraphrased material from sources: e.g., the tabloid press has announced that Satan recently escaped from Hell and has killed thirteen petroleum workers in the Arctic (Dexter 24). Note proper punctuation in citing (no comma, no pg., no pgs, nothing but a space between author and page!): e.g., Dante compares Beatrice “to divine grace in the Church, to the Virgin Mary, and even to Christ himself” (Hirsch 87). Interested readers can easily retrieve full bibliographic information by referring to your alphabetized list of works at the end of the paper or somewhere on the web site.

When quoting four or more lines from a source, normally you should use block quotation: e.g., Hildegard explains that she

heard a voice speaking against the crimes which members of religious communities as well as lay people commit against justice: O justice, you are without a homeland; you are a foreigner in the city…. “Whence do I come? I come from the heart of the Father. And all lands are gathered around me…. I sigh at the ignorance of the people.
(qtd. in Fox 8)

In your manuscript, indent block quotations twice — they are distinct from normal paragraph indentations. Also note the manner of citing the source here.

The following list shows correct format for books, articles, television shows, films, primary sources contained inside edited works, web sites, CDs, and mostly actual resources for various types of humanities research.

Works Cited

Abelard, Peter. “Flora.” Literature of the Western World: Vol. I. 3rd ed. by Brian Wilkie and James Hurt. NY: MacMillan Pub. Co., 1992. 1654-1655.

Andreas Capellanus. The Art of Courtly Love. Trans. John Jay Parry. NY: Columbia University Press, 1990.

Campbell, Joseph. The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology. NY: Penguin Books, 1964.

Campbell, Joseph, and Bill Moyers. The Power of Myth. NY: Doubleday, 1988.

Ciardi, John. Introduction. The Divine Comedy. By Dante Alighieri. The Norton Anthology of World Literature, Vol. I. 6th ed. NY: W.W. Norton and Co., 1992. 1273-1285.

The Crusades. Narr. Terry Jones. 4 episodes. The History Channel. 30 Apr.-3 May 1996.

“Culhwch and Olwen.” The Mabinogion. Trans. Gwyn Jones and Thomas Jones. London: J.M. Dent and Sons Ltd., 1949.

Dante. Inferno. Literature of the Western World: Vol. I. 3rd ed. by BrianWilkie and James Hurt. NY: MacMillan Pub. Co., 1992. 1412­1550.

Delahoyde, Michael. “Hildegard of Bingen.” Medieval and Renaissance Humanities. (13 September 2002).

Dexter, Beatrice. “Oil Rig Drills Hole into Hell!” Weekly World News 7 April 1992: 24-25.

Donaldson, E. Talbot. “The Myth of Courtly Love.” Speaking of Chaucer. NY: W.W. Norton and Co., Inc., 1970. 154-163.

Durling, Robert M. “Deceit and Digestion in the Belly of Hell.” Allegory and Interpretation: Selected Papers from the English Institute, 1979­80. n.s. #5. Ed. Stephen J. Greenblatt. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1981. 61-93.

_____. “‘Io son venuto’: Seneca, Plato, and the Microcosm.” Dante Studies 93 (1975): 95-129.

Grandgent, C.H., and Charles S. Singleton, eds. Companion to The Divine Comedy. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1975.

Hildegard von Bingen. Canticles of Ecstasy. Perf. Sequentia. DeutscheHarmonia Mundi, 1994.

Hirsch, Edward. “A Fresh Hell.” Rev. of Dante’s Inferno, by Robert Pinsky, ed. The New Yorker 8 July 1995: 87-90.

Hughes, Robert. Heaven and Hell in Western Art. NY: Stein and Day, Pub., 1968.

Loyn, H.R., ed. The Middle Ages: A Concise Encyclopedia. London:Thames and Hudson Ltd., 1989.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Dir. Terry Gilliam. Python Pictures,1974.

The New English Bible. NY: Oxford University Press, 1972.