Home ›   |   Publications ›   |   Persuasions ›   |   Persuasions Style Sheet

Persuasions Style Sheet

Persuasions and Persuasions On-Line follow the MLA Style Manual in matters of grammar, usage, and, especially, documentation; exceptions are described later in these guidelines. It is the author's responsibility to submit a manuscript for potential publication in our preferred style.

MLA Style

The essential difference between MLA style and others is its system of parenthetical documentation. This is what we are asking for when we request a conversion to that style: sources noted in parentheses within the text, at the first natural pause.

Sources are cited by author’s name (unless recently mentioned) and page number (unless recently mentioned). The title of the source is included only if more than one source by the author is being used in the article and only if that title has not been clearly and recently mentioned. The aim is to keep the parenthetical reference as clean and brief as possible while still identifying the source clearly. Note: For certain exceptions, please see Sections II and III of these guidelines.

If you have information to add, you may use endnotes. Because of space limitations, however, we encourage careful consideration of their inclusion in your article. Use endnotes for 1) comments, explanations, or information that the text cannot accommodate, or 2) a listing of several sources or comments on the source(s).

The parenthetical references are then keyed to a Works Cited list at the end of the article. For the particular ways to cite various sources, refer to essay samples in last year’s issue of this journal, to the MLA Style Manual, and to information in these guidelines.

Pointers for the Persuasions Version of MLA Style

  • In the parenthetical reference, use only what is needed for readers’ clear understanding of the source. They will refer to the Works Cited section for details.
  • In the Works Cited section, abbreviate publishers’ names as far as possible. For example, use “Chicago: UCP,” instead of “Chicago: U Chicago P” as MLA recommends. There is no need to state the name of the university if it is clear by the name of the city. Another example: use “Berkeley: UCP” since Berkeley is clearly a reference to a California university press. If the reader can easily deduce the name of the publisher from the city’s name, simply give initials. However, use “Philadelphia: U Pennsylvania P,” etc., for greatest clarity.
  • When citing an article in an anthology, please remember to include page numbers in the list of works cited.

References to Works by and about Jane Austen

Jane Austen's Letters

  • References are always to Deirdre Le Faye’s third or fourth edition (published by Oxford University Press).
  • References are by date only, thus eliminating any confusion between published editions of the letters (e.g., 30 August 1816).
  • If you’ve given the date in the text, there is no need for parenthetical documentation.
  • Parenthetical information should list the date as it is in the Le Faye edition (day month year: 30 August 1816).
  • Include Le Faye’s edition in your Works Cited list.

Jane Austen's Works

References may be to either the new edition published by Cambridge University Press (general editor Janet Todd) or R. W. Chapman’s third edition, published by Oxford University Press.

In-text References to Austen's Works

  • No need to state the name of the author.
  • If you have named the work in your discussion, give only the page number in your parenthetical reference. If you are using more than one work in your discussion but have named the works, use initials (if the source is not obvious) and page numbers in references.
  • Avoid excessive references that might interrupt the smooth reading of your article.
  • Chapter numbers are not part of the parenthetical reference. When used as part of the text, format with lower case and Arabic numerals: for example, chapter 22.

"Works Cited" Format

  • If referring to only one novel in the article, list that work only. If referring to more than one novel, list The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen or The Novels of Jane Austen.
  • If referring only to the juvenilia or later manuscript works, list the appropriate volume in the Cambridge edition or, if using the Chapman edition, Minor Works.
  • If referring to both novels and unpublished works, cite The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen or The Works of Jane Austen.
  • Do not list volume numbers.
  • Date(s) listed should reflect the most current revised, not reprinted, year. The most current dates for Chapman editions are 1933-69 for the novels—SS (1933), PP (1965), MP (1934), E (1933), NA & P (1969)—and 1969 for minor works.
  • If your third editions are older than those dates, your page references will still coincide with the more recent, revised third editions, and you should, of course, list your own editions’ dates.
  • Please check all quoted material and make sure you have quoted exactly (replicating Jane Austen’s spelling and punctuation, etc.). This step is particularly important as Microsoft Word, for example, thinks it knows better than you and will “correct” spellings without notice!
  • "Love and Freindship”: retain misspelling. (Chapman has it two ways.)

Common Sources


  • In parenthetical citation: Memoir
  • In Works Cited: Austen-Leigh, J. E. A Memoir of Jane Austen. 1871. A Memoir of Jane Austen and Other Family Recollections. Ed. Kathryn Sutherland. Oxford: OUP, 2008. 1-134. (or your edition)

Family Record

  • In parenthetical citation: Family Record
  • In Works Cited:  
    • Le Faye, Deirdre. Jane Austen: A Family Record. London: British Library, 1989.
    • Le Faye, Deirdre. Jane Austen: A Family Record. 2nd ed. Cambridge: CUP, 2004.

Austen Papers

  • In parenthetical citation: Papers
  • In Works Cited: Austen Papers, 1704-1856. Ed. R. A. Austen-Leigh. Colchester: Ballantine, 1942.

JASNA, JASA, and JAS Publications

  • Articles from Persuasions, Sensibilities, and the Jane Austen Society reports should be cited like any other periodical source, with the author’s name and/or page reference in parentheses, and the full citation in the Works Cited list.

General Style Matters

  • Frequently encountered style and grammar points, with our preferences.
  • Close up spaces around em-dashes.
  • Do not use brackets around ellipses, as MLA recommends. For an ellipsis that signifies an omission within a sentence, space three points evenly (one space before/after each period); for an ellipsis that signifies an omission between sentences, use a period, space, and then even spacing.
  • Spell out all numbers under one hundred. Spell out all numbers over ninety-nine that are only two words. Do not spell out a series of numbers being compared.
  • Use single as well as double quotation marks for dialogue in Jane Austen’s novels: e.g., He would go “‘to Epsom,’” Jane explains, “‘the place where they last changed horses, see the postilions, and try if any thing could be made out from them’” (PP 293).
  • Use “’s” for singular possessive: e.g., Mrs. Jennings’s candy
  • 1820s (not 1820’s)

Formatting the Document

  • Please format the essay in Times New Roman, font size 12.
  • Justify the left margin only.
  • Please use the Tab key (rather than the space bar) to indent the beginning of paragraphs.
  • Double space the entire document including indented quotations, notes, and the Works Cited page.
  • Number your pages, but please do not include a running head with your name.
  • To offset a long quotation, adjust the margins by ½ inch on each side. Please do not insert extra hard returns to achieve the same effect.
  • To indent the items on the Works Cited list, please use the hanging indent function. Please do not insert a hard return and tab in the middle of the entry. (In Word, the command is Ctrl + T.)

Audio-Visual Materials

  • Images should be submitted as .jpg files.
  • Musical clips should be submitted as .mp3 files.
  • Video clips should be submitted as .mp4 digital multimedia format files.
  • Permission to publish any copyrighted material is the author’s responsibility.


  • MLA Style Manual, sixth edition (our primary resource)
  • The Chicago Manual of Style (for points not covered in the MLA; for greater detail)
  • Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal (for exceptions and examples)
  • Webster’s New World Dictionary
  • The American Heritage Dictionary
  • The Elements of Style
  • Fowler’s Modern English Usage

“How often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparation!”