Shakespeare: MLA Documentation
Dr. Michael Delahoyde
Washington State University
SHAKESPEARE IN MLA FORMAT
Habitually italicize the names of plays (or underline them — it means the same thing). This is especially important with Shakespeare since one usually needs to distinguish the names of the main characters from the names of the plays to avoid occasional confusion: Titus Andronicus [or Titus Andronicus?] is concerned with vengeance.
In writing about Shakespeare, as with any literature or film, use present tense to convey the ongoing life of the work: Hamlet stabs Polonius (vs. stabbed); Shakespeare portrays Henry V as a subtle Machiavellian (vs. Shakespeare portrayed).
When quoting four or more lines from Shakespeare, normally you should use block quotation: Richard III tells his troops,
Remember whom you are to cope withal:
A sort of vagabonds, rascals, and runaways,
A scum of Britains and base lackey peasants,
Whom their o’ercloyed country vomits forth
To desperate adventures and assur’d destruction.
In your manuscript, indent block quotations twice — they are distinct from normal paragraph indentations. Also note the manner of citing the source here. The roman numerals for Act and Scene are standard, although one sees Arabic used by some critics. In quoting shorter passages in linear form, you still need to indicate line breaks when Shakespeare is writing in verse: Othello recalls, “Upon this hint I spake: / She lov’d me for the dangers I had pass’d, / And I lov’d her that she did pity them” (I.iii.166-168). Note the withholding of final punctuation in this case until after the parenthetical citation. The slash marks indicate line breaks in the verse.
When quoting other commentators and critics, offer parenthetical citations (just author and page) not only for direct quotations, but also for summarized and paraphrased material from sources. For example, the songs at the end of Love’s Labour’s Lost can be seen as thematically integral to the play (Goddard 54). Note proper punctuation in citing (no comma, no pg., no pgs, nothing but a space between author and page!). Note also proper punctuation in quoting directly: Antony’s “modifications of Brutus’s formulaic oratory are the first hint that he knows his business” (Macrone 45). Interested readers can then easily retrieve full bibliographic information by referring to your alphabetized list of works at the end of the paper. The following list shows correct format for books, articles, television shows, films, primary sourcescontained inside edited works, and mostly actual resources for various types of Shakespeare research.
[Bold entries below are those sources most often quoted in my notes on the plays. See also the Oxfordian Bibliography.]
All’s Well That Ends Well. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1997. 538-578.
Asimov, Isaac. Asimov’s Guide to Shakespeare. NY: Gramercy Books, 1970.
Barton, Anne. Introduction. All’s Well That Ends Well. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1997. 533-537.
Blank, Paula. Shakespeare and the Mismeasure of Renaissance Man. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2006.
Bloom, Harold. Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human. NY: Riverhead Books, 1998.
Brissenden, Alan. Shakespeare and the Dance. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1981.
Campbell, Dowling B. “Review of Charney, Shakespeare on Love and Lust.” Rocky Mountain E-Reviewhttp://rmmla.wsu.edu/rmmla/ereview/55.1/reviews/campbell.asp (18 Jan. 2001).
Carey, Gary, ed. Cliffs Notes on Shakespeare’s Tragedies. Lincoln, NE: Cliffs Notes, Inc., 1999.
Crowl, Samuel. Shakespeare and Film: A Norton Guide. NY: W.W. Norton & Co., 2008.
David, Richard. “Shakespeare and the Players.” Studies in Shakespeare. Ed. Peter Alexander. London: Oxford University Press, 1964. 33-55.
Davis, Frank. “Revisiting the Dating of Twelfth Night.” The Shakespeare Oxford Newsletter 38.4 (Fall 2002): 8-11, 24.
Eldredge, Joseph L. “Bloom in Love” Review of Harold Bloom, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human. http://www.humilitypress.org/a_little_room/bloom_in_love.htm. 1999.
French, Marilyn. Shakespeare’s Division of Experience. NY: Summit Books, 1981.
Garber, Marjorie. Shakespeare After All. NY: Pantheon Books, 2004.
—. Shakespeare and Modern Culture. NY: Pantheon Books, 2008.
Goddard, Harold C. The Meaning of Shakespeare. 2 vols. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1951.
Hamlin, William M. Tragedy and Scepticism in Shakespeare’s England. NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.
Hazelwood, Nick. The Queen’s Slave Trader: John Hawkyns, Elizabeth I, and the Trafficking in Human Souls. NY: Harper Perennial, 2005.
Holderness, Graham. Visual Shakespeare: Essays in Film and Television. Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire Press, 2002.
Jacobs, Michael. Shakespeare on the Couch. London: Karnac Books, Ltd., 2008.
Kermode, Frank, ed. Four Centuries of Shakespearian Criticism. NY: Avon Books, 1965.
Kiernan, Pauline. Filthy Shakespeare: Shakespeare’s Most Outrageous Sexual Puns. NY: Gotham Books, 2007.
Leahy, William. Elizabethan Triumphal Processions. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2005.
Loades, David. The Cecils: Privilege and Power Behind the Throne. Surrey: The National Archives, 2007.
Lynch, Jack. Becoming Shakespeare: The Unlikely Afterlife that Turned a Provincial Playwright into the Bard. NY: Walker & Co., 2007.
Macrone, Michael. Brush Up Your Shakespeare. NY: HarperCollins, 2000.
McNeal, Thomas H. “Henry IV, Parts I and II, and Speght’s First Edition of Geffrey Chaucer.” The Shakespeare Association Bulletin 21.2 (April 1946): 87-93.
Orgel, Stephen. “Nobody’s Perfect: Or, Why Did the English Stage Take Boys for Men?” South Atlantic Quarterly 88 (1989): 7-29.
O’Toole, Fintan. Shakespeare Is Hard, But So Is Life. London: Granta Books, 1990.
Rollins, Hyder Edward, ed. Tottel’s Miscellany (1557-1587). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1965.
Ross, Josephine. The Men Who Would Be King: Suitors to Queen Elizabeth I. 1975. Rpt. London: Phoenix, 2005.
Schwartz, Murray M. and Coppélia Kahn, eds. Representing Shakespeare: New Psychoanalytic Essays. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980.
The Shakespeare Conspiracy. DVD. Narr. Derek Jacobi. Tmw Media Group, 1999.
Sime, Tom. “Strange images abound in ‘Titus.'” The Spokesman-Review 15 March 2000: D9.
Spevack, Marvin. A Complete and Systematic Concordance to the Works of Shakespeare. Hildesheim, Georg Olms, 1968. [PR2892 .S6]
Stritmatter, Roger. “De Vere’s Dedicatory Poem in Cardan’s Comforte (1573).” The Oxfordian 1 (1998): 53-63.
Stump, Donald and Susan M. Felch, eds. Elizabeth I and Her Age. NY: W.W. Norton & Co., 2009.
Sutherland, John, and Cedric Watts. Henry V, War Criminal? & Other Shakespeare Puzzles. London: Oxford University Press, 2000.
The Taming of the Shrew. Starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Columbia Pictures, 1967.
Twelfth Night. Dir. Trevor Nunn. Fine Line Features, 1996.
Usher, Peter. “Shakespeare’s Support for the New Astronomy.” The Oxfordian 5 (2002): 132-146.
Van Doren, Mark. Shakespeare. 1939. NY: New York Review Books Classics, 2005.
Wells, Stanley. Shakespeare: A Life in Drama. NY: W.W. Norton and Co., 1997.
Werth, Andrew. “Shakespeare’s ‘Lesse Greek.'” The Oxfordian 5 (2002): 11-29.
“What the Puck?” Entertainment Weekly 14 May 1999: 48.
Williams, Neville. All the Queen’s Men: Elizabeth I and Her Courtiers. NY: Macmillan Co., 1972.
Wilson, Edwin, ed. Shaw on Shakespeare: An Anthology of Bernard Shaw’s Writings on the Plays and Production of Shakespeare. NY: E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc., 1961.
Wright, Daniel L. “‘He was a scholar and a ripe and good one’: The Education of the Seventeenth Earl of Oxford, Mirrored in the Shakespeare Canon.” The Oxfordian 1 (1998): 64-87.
For the Works Cited format for a play, see All’s Well.
For materials inside a Shakespeare edition, see Barton.
For books as secondary sources, see Bloom, Carey, French, Goddard, or Macrone.
For a book with two authors, see Sutherland and Watts.
For a web page, see Campbell.
For an article published within a book, see David.
For an article published in a scholarly journal, see Orgel.
For a newspaper article, see Sime.
For a magazine article (vs. a scholarly journal), see “What.”
For a film, see Taming, or Twelfth Night.
For a DVD, see The Shakespeare Conspiracy.