Essay Format

TITLE -- A title page is optional, but you should definitely give your essay a title. Let your reader know that you know what your essay is about. It doesn't have to be a clever title, but it should indicate the central argument of your paper. Women in Stowe is a bad title (too non-committal). "She was a saint!"--Stowe's Idea of Motherhood is a better one. (By the way, don't underline your title or put it in quotation marks -- unless you're quoting a phrase in the title, as I just did.)

CITING REFERENCES -- Because I'm not looking for research papers, most of the essays shouldn't need footnotes. But every time you cite or refer to a passage from the work you're discussing, you should indicate the page number the passage is from -- that way your reader can look up the passage herself, and see the context it appears in, &c. The simplest way to indicate such a source, and the one I'd recommend using, is to put the page number in parentheses immediately after the quotation, like this -- "quotation" (p. xxx). If you quote from more than one text, include the author's name before the page number, like this -- "quotation" (Stowe, p. xxx).

WORK(S) CITED -- If you've used secondary sources (for example, a biography of Longfellow or contemporary reviews of Uncle Tom's Cabin), then you should provide a formal bibliography. Check with me about how that should look. But for most essays, all you need is to let me know which text(s) you used. You must provide that -- if I want to check your citations from Douglass, for example, I need to know exactly which edition you used. You tell me that by putting a "Work Cited" attribution at the end of your essay -- like this:

Frederick Douglass: The Narrative and Selected Writings, ed. Michael Meyer (New York: The Modern Library, 1984)
If you use an e-text or electronic edition, use this format (note that you should include both the electronic edition and the print source it is digitized from; you may need to look in the file's "Header" for that information):

Frederick Douglass, "The Heroic Slave." Electronic text: "" Source text: Frederick Douglass, "The Heroic Slave," published in Autographs for Freedom ed. Julia Griffiths (Cleveland: John P. Jewett and Company, 1853).