The Spenser Review House Style

The Spenser Review uses a modified version of MLA style for documentation and formatting. We ask reviewers to observe the following conventions when submitting copy to be edited.


  • Please submit the article as an email attachment, preferably a Word (.doc[x]) or .rtf file. We are not able to format and edit .pdf, .wpd, .odt, or LaTeX files. Please contact the editor if there are any difficulties with these formats.
  • Please include, in the name of the file, your name and that of the author of the book reviewed or an abbreviated title of your article.
  • If submitting a review, please begin the review with a bibliographical entry for the book following this format: author (or editor), title, publisher, date, number of pages, price (paperback if available, otherwise hardback), ISBN. 

Wilson-Okamura, David Scott. Virgil in the Renaissance. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. 2010. vii + 299 pp. ISBN 978-0-521-19812-7. $89.00 hardback.

  • Below the bibliographical entry, give your name and institutional affiliation as you would like them to appear.
  • Citations: In general we prefer parenthetical citations. Bibliographical information for sources quoted more than once should be given in an initial footnote, with subsequent references provided parenthetically. Footnotes should indicate the edition and be added using the appropriate function in the word processor. 

First reference in footnote: Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century England (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1971), 23; All quotations from Spenser's epic follow A.C. Hamilton et al., ed., Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, 2nd edition, (London: Pearson Education [Longman], 2001).  

Subsequent parenthetical: (Religion 111–20)

  • Do not use “p.” or “pp.” as abbreviations. Give page numbers only, as in the above example.
  • For quotations from The Faerie Queene, use roman caps, roman l.c., and arabic numerals for book, canto, stanza, and line numbers.



Please follow U.S. conventions for spelling, quoting, and punctuation with quotations. For specific spelling and hypenation references, use the Merriam-Webster dictionary for guidance.

  • Double quotation-marks for all quotations.  Reserve single-quotes for quotes-within-quotes.
  • For quotations from poetry, mark breaks in verse with a slash, ( / ), at the end of each line of verse (a space should precede and follow the slash). If a stanza break occurs during the quotation, use a double slash ( // ). If the quotation exceeds three lines of verse, create a block quote. 
  • Add parenthetical citation as a separate line after the block quote.

[…] my ending is despair,

Unless I be relieved by prayer,

Which pierces so that it assaults

Mercy itself, and frees all faults.

As you from crimes would pardoned be,

Let your indulgence set me free.

(Temp. Epilogue 15–20)

  • Single space between sentences.
  • Use apostrophe +s for all singular possessives, even if the word or name ends in “s.”
  • Numbers and dates: 
    • spell out numbers under 100 and numbers than can be written as two words (seven thousand), except for percents (12 percent)
    • spell out centuries (nineteenth century) 
    • indicate decades with no apostrophe (1560s, 1730s)
    • write dates in American style (June 15, 2019)
    • number ranges, separated by en dash: write both numbers in full up to 99 (24–37, 45–48, 73–86) but for larger numbers, retain only the last two digits of the second number (103–12, 2434–580)
    • years in the same century can be written as 1400–15
  • Parenthetical citations are treated as the final word in a clause or sentence, meaning that they do not follow a comma or period.  

If we force a more far-reaching memory upon our reading experience, then we are likely to burden Redcrosse Knight’s experience of “swimming in that sea of blisful joy” (I.xii.41) during his betrothal to Una with his earlier sinful dream of his beloved in which he was “Bathed in wanton blis and wicked joy” (I.i.47). 

  • Periods and commas go inside quotation marks.  Colons and semi-colons go outside.  Exclamation points and question-marks go inside or outside depending on whether they belong to the quotation. 
  • When writing a list of three or more items, use a comma before the “and” [final item]. 

Editors owe great debts of gratitude to writers who adhere to standards of format, style, and punctuation.

Example parenthetical citations for Spenser and friends:

*Please remember to include the edition in a footnote attached to your first quotation

  • Tales from The Canterbury Tales italicized
  • Line numbers in Arabic numerals
  • See below for an example utilizing a prologue

“Fraunceys Petrak, the lauriat poete” (Clerk’s Tale Prologue, line 31)

“ful lyk a mooder” (Clerk’s Tale 1084)

  • Book and line numbers displayed in Arabic numerals

“He for God only, she for God in him” (Paradise 4.299)

  • First reference to a play: write first word from title in full
  • Second reference and after: abbreviate play title
  • Act, scene, and line(s) all displayed in Arabic numerals
  • See below for example utilizing an epilogue

“Let your indulgence set me free” (Temp. Epilogue 19–20)

“Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature / Are burnt and purg’d away” (Ham. 1.5.11—13)