Extremely long titles and conventional titles usually condensed may be shortened in your prose and in your works-cited list.
Extremely Long Titles
Some works, particularly older ones, have very long titles, such as this treatise by the seventeenth-century English physician John Bulwer:
To shorten the title of a long work in your writing or in your works-cited-list entry, include the beginning words of the title up to at least the first noun. Thus, Bulwer’s title can be shortened to
If, however, a work has an alternative title, as does Bulwer’s, it may be beneficial to include it—again, up to the first noun:
In some cases, shortening to the first noun in a works-cited-list entry will result in a title that is too vague. For example, the following title
is best shortened to
In your prose, after you refer to the works by the titles used in the works-cited list, it is acceptable to use Philocophus and Some Thoughts on subsequent mention.
Punctuation with Shortened Titles
In the works-cited-list entry, add an ellipsis after the first part of the title. If a period is needed, insert the period before the ellipsis.
If a comma is needed, as it would be when the long title is the title of a container, insert it after the ellipsis:
Some titles may be known by their short forms. For example, let’s say an edition of Shakespeare’s works prints the following title:
It can be shortened in your works-cited-list entry and prose thus: