5

Many historical oeuvres are known by multiple names and/or multiple variations of each name. For example:

  • The title of Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur was originally written as Le morte Darthur, inaccurate Middle French for The Death of Arthur

  • Jeoffrey of Monmouth's Historia regum Britanniae (en. The History of the Kings of Britain) was originally called De gestis Britonum (en. On the Deeds of the Britons)

  • La mule sans frein is also known La demoiselle a la mule (en. The mule without a bridle and The damsel with the mule)

What is the way (or multiple ways) to decide which of these titles to use in your own work when you citing, referencing, or simply discussing these works?

2
  • 4
    Does "oeuvres" have a specific meaning here? Other than "works"? Aug 20, 2022 at 19:43
  • 1
    "Le Morte" oh funny, did that word use to be masculine? Or is that part of the "inaccurate"? Aug 20, 2022 at 22:29

1 Answer 1

9

SHORT ANSWER:

  • Whichever you prefer in the text of your work (but be consistent and use only one, except when the variability of names is relevant);
  • However many are necessary to help the reader understand and find which work you are referring to in the references/bibliography.

LONGER ANSWER:

There might be some particular cases where it might be adequate to list, in the body of the work itself, the various titles given to the same text (this question being one!). But in general, when the variability of names across time and geography is not the focus of the work, it is better

  • to mention in a footnote on the first mention of this work that it is also known by other names;
  • to use only one of those names in the rest of the body of the document (for the sake of brevity, to better focus on the main topic of the work and not lead the reader on irrelevant side tracks); and
  • to list such alternative names in the references or bibliography at the end of the document, so that scholars validating your work have all the information required available.

I hope it helps!

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .