Bibliographies in essays

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1. Bibliographies are lists of books placed at the end of essays. They are a compilation of any works you have consulted or from which you have quoted. The list is called a bibliography.

2. The traditional manner of recording this information is to use the following sequence:


Terry Eagleton, Literary Theory, Oxford: Blackwell, 1983.

3. In more scholarly works, such as dissertations and theses, this information may be given with the author’s surname listed first – as follows:

Eagleton, Terry. Literary Theory, Oxford: Blackwell, 1983.

4. If you are using the Harvard system of notation, the date follows the author’s name – thus:

Eagleton, T. (1983), Literary Theory, Oxford: Blackwell

5. When using a word-processor, put the book title in italics. [They are in bold here because italics don’t show up very well on screen.]

6. If you are using a ‘standard’ text, give the editor’s name first, as in the following examples:

Mark Amory (ed), The Letters of Evelyn Waugh, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1980.

Frank Kermode (ed), The Tempest, Methuen, 1954.

7. List the items of a bibliography in alphabetical order according to author’s or the editor’s surname.

8. Do not list works you have not consulted or from which you have not quoted. To do this creates the impression that you are trying to claim credit for work you have not actually done.

9. You might find that your bibliography repeats much of the information given in your endnotes. Don’t worry about this: these two separate lists have different functions. In addition, your bibliography may contain works from which you have not directly quoted.

10. See References for details of more complex bibliographic issues. Here is an extract from the bibliography of a second year undergraduate essay on the sociology of domestic labour:


Beeton, I., Beeton’s Book of Household Management, Chancellor Press, 1991.

Best, G., Mid-Victorian Britain 1851-75, Fontana, 1979.

Branca, P., Silent Sisterhood, Croom Helm, 1975.

Burman, S. (ed), Fit Work for Women, Croom Helm, 1979.

Burnett, J., Useful Toil, Allen Lane, 1974.

Darwin, E., ‘Domestic Service’, The Nineteenth Century,
Vol.28, August 1890.

Davidoff, L., The Best Circles, Croom Helm, 1973.

Davidoff, L., ‘Mastered for Life: Servant and Wife in Victorian and Edwardian England’, Journal of Economic and Social History, Vol.7, 1974.

© Roy Johnson 2003

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