Guide to MLA Style for Citations
Alok Yadav, George Mason University, Version 2.02 (Feb. 2011)
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Works Cited List: Arrangement of Items in Works Cited List
Online Sources: Online Publications
Oral and Unpublished Sources || [Performances] || [Exhibitions] || [Artworks]
The purpose of documentation is to give due credit to the sources from which you have drawn ideas, phrasing, quotations, or information, and to allow others to follow-up the sources you have used for your work, in order to corroborate and learn from your work as fully as possible. You need to provide information that is sufficiently clear and complete for others to identify the specific sources you have made use of. The documentation style developed by the Modern Language Association of America (MLA style) offers one conventional system for doing this; in published works, you will also see various other systems in use (such as that of the Chicago Manual of Style or that of the American Psychological Association [APA Style]).
Your documentation efforts will only be as good as your bibliographic note-keeping while you are researching a paper. Whenever you undertake research for a project, you should record the bibliographic information for each source that you have consulted, as well as page references for each quotation, idea, or bit of information you draw from that source. You will need this information, both for in-text citations and for the works cited list for your paper. If you fail to record this information initially, it can often be difficult to retrieve the necessary information later on.
This guide summarizes the main features of MLA documentation style, but, if you want to master MLA style, it also helps to see these guidelines in use by examining actual published work that makes use of MLA style (such as essays in PMLA). Note, however, that MLA style guidelines have been revised periodically since they were first introduced in 1951: different conventions will be evident in published work that employs MLA style, depending on when the work was published. The newest revisions, presented in this guide, come into effect from January 2009. For full discussion of the MLA style conventions that were current until recently, you should consult Joseph Gibaldi, MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 6th ed. (2003) and, for an authoritative account of the newly revised guidelines, consult the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, 3rd ed. (2008).
The new guidelines include various changes: (1) they add one new element to each citation, stipulating the medium of the item (e.g., web, print, DVD, lecture); (2) they require the inclusion of issue number, as well as volume number, for articles from journals; (3) they significantly revise the format for citation of online materials; and (4) they recommend the use of italics rather than underlining for titles. For this revision of my guide (Dec. 2009), I have updated everything to reflect the new style conventions adopted by the MLA in the third edition of the MLA Style Manual.
Using This Guide
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The basic formats for entries in a works cited list are discussed below for common types of print and online sources, and for some other kinds of source materials (film and video, television and radio, performances, exhibitions, artworks, manuscripts, and oral sources). Each section gives you a sense (via the templates) of the kinds of bibliographic information you should record for each type of source and shows what the format of an entry should look like (via the numbered examples and subsequent discussion of refinements and variations on these generic format requirements).
The proliferation of new media and the broadening of scholarship in the humanities to take up many different kinds of artifacts and cultural practices poses challenges for bibliographic documentation. When scholars used to refer almost exclusively to print and manuscript sources, it was a relatively straightforward matter to identify the different kinds of source material and the appropriate bibliographic format for citations of each one. But now scholars refer to a wide range of kinds of source material and the "same" work might be available in a range of media. For example, a radio program might be available as a broadcast over the radio, as a printed transcript, as a recording on a CD, as a podcast, or as a digital file on the web. Likewise, a given scholarly article might be available in print in an academic journal, on CD in a database, on the web in a database or the journal's website, and on the web as a PDF or other document file from the author's webpage.
The multiplication of media poses bibliographic challenges, but it also poses organizational challenges for a guide to citation style like this. In some respects, in terms of organizing this guide, it makes sense to privilege the actual "genre" of a work (the kind of artifact it is), not the medium in which it is presented. Thus, one might devote a section of the guide to "films" and treat in one place the various citation formats for films, depending on whether a given work was encountered in the form of a film screened in a theater, broadcast on television, published as a DVD, or viewed online. The citation formats for the "same" film will vary somewhat for the different media in which it is available, but there will be an underlying similarity and coherence to the kinds of bibliographic information needed for a filmic text. On the other hand, certain "genres" or kinds of works might be less indicative than the medium in which they appear. Take "interviews" for example: the citation formats for an interview with an author in a newspaper or magazine, in a collection of interviews published as a book, in a television program, in a documentary film, on a website, and in the liner notes of a CD might seem to vary more with the medium of publication than they cohere because they are all citations of the same "kind" of artifact.
Whether one chooses to privilege "kinds" of artifacts or "media" of publication in the organization of such a guide to citation style, there will be plenty of cases in which it is not easy for a user to find the relevant information, either because it is tucked away in a place that is not intuitive for the user or because it has been overlooked altogether in the compilation of the guide. Like the MLA Handbook and the MLA Style Manual, this guide adopts a somewhat hybrid approach. Its major divisions are in terms of medium of presentation---print sources, online sources, oral sources, manuscript sources, etc.---with generic subdivisions within each medium (e.g. books, journal articles, newspapers and magazines, etc., under print sources). But there are also sections organized by the generic "kind" of artifact, regardless of the medium of its presentation (e.g., a film, a television or radio program, an interview---each of which might be encountered in a variety of media, as discussed in the previous paragraph). This can pose some challenges for the user, but one advantage of an online guide like this is that you can use the "find" function on your web browser to search for what you need, if the contents list at the start proves unhelpful.
If you notice errors in this document, or come across cases (that fall within its coverage range) that are not treated adequately (or at all) in the examples provided, please let me know via email.
Section 1: Print Sources: Books
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For each book included in your works cited list, you will need the following information [template 1]. The format and punctuation of the entry should follow the conventions shown in the various examples in this section:
(1) author's name (lastname, firstname); (2) title of whole work (italicized); (3) name of editor, translator, compiler, etc. (where applicable); (4) edition used (where applicable); (5) number of volumes in the work (where applicable); (6) publication information (place of publication, name of publisher, year of publication); (7) medium of publication (print, in this case).
Derrida, Jacques. Of Grammatology. Trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Corrected ed. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1998. Print.
Thompson, John B. Books in the Digital Age: The
Transformation of Academic and Higher Education Publishing in Britain and the United
States. Cambridge: Polity, 2005. Print.
- Cite the full title and author's name as they appear on the title-page of the work
- Include only the first city listed, if several cities are listed for the publisher ("London" not "London and New York")
- Shorten the publisher's name to the first distinctive element ("Farrar" not "Farrar, Straus and Giroux"; "Faber" not "Faber & Faber"; "Basic" not "Basic Books"---but "New Clarion" not simply "New"); omit initials ("Dent" not "J. M. Dent"); omit elements after the proper name (such as "Press" or "Publishers" or "& Company" or "and Sons") ("Norton" not "W. W. Norton & Company"). For university presses, use "Princeton UP", "U of Toronto P", "UP of Missouri" (depending on the style adopted by the press)
- If no year of publication is listed, use the latest copyright date
Morson, Gary Saul, and Caryl Emerson. Mikhail Bakhtin:
Creation of a Poetics. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1990. Print.
Quirk, Randolph, et al. A Comprehensive Reference Grammar
of the English Language. London: Longman, 1985. Print.
Gates, Henry Louis, Jr. Loose Canons: Notes on the Culture
Wars. 1992. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1993. Print.
- When there is more than one author, only the first author's name is inverted (lastname, firstname); the subsequent names are listed in the usual order (firstname lastname), with a comma between the names [1.2, 1.11]
- List the names in the order in which they appear on the title page (not necessarily in alphabetical order) [1.2]
- Where there are more than three authors, list only the first author's name, followed by "et al." [1.3]
- Omit titles, affiliations, and degrees from names, but include suffixes that are part of an author's name (like "Jr." or "III") [1.4]
Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature.
Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 1995. Print.
University of Chicago Press. The Chicago Manual of
Style. 15th ed. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2003. Print.
- List anonymous works by title [1.5]
- When listing works by corporate authors, omit any articles (a, an, the) from the start of the name. Include a corporate author's name, even if the corporate author is the publisher [1.6]
Lenin, Vladimir Ilich. What Is To Be Done? Trans. S.
V. Utechin and Patricia Utechin. Ed. S. V. Utechin. Oxford: Clarendon P, 1963. Print.
Tatar, Maria. Off with Their Heads! Fairy Tales and the
Culture of Childhood. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1992. Print.
Cheyfitz, Eric. The Poetics of Imperialism: Translation and
Colonization from The Tempest to Tarzan. Expanded ed.
Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1997. Print.
- There is no period after a title that ends with a question mark or an exclamation point [1.7]
- So, too, there is no colon between the main title and the subtitle if the main title ends with a question mark, an exclamation point, or a dash [1.8]
- If a title of a book includes the title of a book within it, do not italicize the included title (even though this may produce some odd-looking entries) [1.9, 1.14, 1.15]
- The MLA Handbook does not deal explicitly with cases where there are two subtitles to a work: I have adopted here the recommendation of the Chicago Manual of Style, which is to place a semi-colon after the first subtitle [1.10]
Felsenstein, Frank, ed. English Trader, Indian Maid:
Representing Gender, Race, and Slavery in the New World; An Inkle and Yarico Reader.
Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1999. Print.
Booth, Alison, J. Paul Hunter, and Kelly J. Mays, ed. The
Norton Introduction to Literature. 9th ed. New York: Norton, 2005. Print.
Marlowe, Christopher. Tamburlaine the Great. Ed. J.
S. Cunningham. The Revels Plays. Manchester: Manchester UP, 1981. Print.
Cunningham, J. S., ed. Tamburlaine the Great. By
Christopher Marlowe. The Revels Plays. Manchester: Manchester UP, 1981. Print.
Edgeworth, Maria. Castle Rackrent and Ennui. Ed.
Marilyn Butler. London: Penguin, 1992. Print.
Molière. The Misanthrope and Other Plays.
Trans. John Wood and David Coward. Ed. David Coward. London: Penguin, 2000. Print.
Smollett, Tobias. The Adventures of Ferdinand Count
Fathom. 1753. Ed. Jerry C. Beasley. Athens: U of Georgia P, 1988. Print.
- For an edited volume, list the editor's name as the name of the author, but add "ed." after it (similarly for a compiler, with "comp.") [1.10, 1.11]
- For a modern edition of a literary or other work, you will most likely enter it under the author's name, with the editor's name appearing after the title [1.12, 1.14]. But if your references to the work are primarily to the editorial apparatus (e.g., the editor's introduction, notes, appendices, editorial decisions regrading the text), put the editor's name first, then give the author's name after the title, following the word "By" [1.13]
- Where you have both a translator and an editor to list after the title of a work, the translator's name comes first [1.7, 1.15]
- When using a modern edition of a work, it is sometimes useful to provide the date of original publication. This appears immediately after the title [1.16, 1.20]
Note: The notion of an "edition" can be confusing, since the term is commonly used in several distinct senses. A work can be revised and published in a new edition: in such cases, edition information must be included in your bibliographic entry (e.g., "Rev. ed." [for revised edition] or "3rd ed." or "Abr. ed." [for abridged edition] or "Expanded ed.") [1.6, 1.9, 1.11]. In other cases, a work is republished (i.e., the same, unrevised text) in a new format (e.g., a paperback "edition") or in an "edition" by a new publisher (e.g., after it has been out of print for some time): in such cases, you should include the date of original publication as well as the bibliographic information for the "edition" you are using [1.4, 1.23, 1.24]. Finally, literary and other cultural works are often edited and published in new scholarly or teaching "editions": in such cases, you need to include the name of the editor(s), along with the full bibliographic information for this new edition [1.12-16, 1.20, 1.22].
Rothenberg, Jerome, and Pierre Joris, ed. Poems for the
Millennium: The University of California Book of Modern and Postmodern Poetry. 2
vols. Berkeley: U of California P, 1995-98. Print.
Cassidy, Frederic, ed. Dictionary of American Regional
English. 3 vols. to date. Cambridge: Belknap-Harvard UP, 1985- . Print.
Rothenberg, Jerome, and Pierre Joris, ed. Poems for the
Millennium: The University of California Book of Modern and Postmodern Poetry. Vol.
1. Berkeley: U of California P, 1995. Print.
Crane, Stephen. The Red Badge of Courage: An Episode of
the American Civil War. 1895. Charlottesville: UP of Virginia, 1975. Vol. 2 of The University of Virginia Edition of the Works of Stephen Crane. Ed.
Fredson Bowers. 10 vols. 1969-79. Print.
Barrows, Herbert. Reading the Short Story. Vol. 1 of
An Introduction to Literature. Ed. Gordon N. Ray. Boston:
Houghton Mifflin, 1959. Print.
Donne, John. The Anniversaries and the Epicedes and
Obsequies. Ed. Gary A. Stringer and Ted-Larry Pebworth. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1995. Vol.
6 of The Variorum Edition of the Poetry of John Donne. Gen. ed. Gary A.
Stringer. 8 vols. to date. 1995- . Print.
- If you are using two or more volumes from a multi-volume work, include the number of volumes in the work after the title and include the inclusive dates of publication (if the volumes were not all published in a single year) [1.17]
- If the multi-volume work is still in progress, write "to date" after the number of volumes that have been published so far, and give the beginning date of publication with a hyphen followed by a blank space [1.18, 1.22]
- If you are using only one volume from a multi-volume work, list that volume number after the title and include only the date of publication for that volume [1.19]
- If the single volume you are using of a multi-volume work has its own title, author, or editor, you should include this information [1.21, 1.22]. If all the volumes of the work have the same editor, then the editor's name goes after the series name, rather than after the title of the specific volume you are using [1.20]
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. 1925. Introd.
Matthew J. Bruccoli. New York: Collier, 1992. Print.
The WPA Guide to 1930s Alabama. Tuscaloosa: U of
Alabama P, 2000. Rpt. of Alabama: A Guide to the Deep South.
Duck, Stephen. Poems on Several Occasions.
London, 1736. Print.
- For a reprinted version of a work (e.g., a paperback version of a work originally published in hardback or a new reprinting of an older work), include the original date of publication, after the title, before giving the publication information for the new reprinting [1.4, 1.23, 2.4]
- For a work reprinted under a new title, list the information for the new reprinting first, followed by "Rpt. of" (reprint of) the original title and the original publication date [1.24]
- For works published before 1900, it is acceptable to omit the publisher's name, giving only the place of publication, followed by a comma (not a colon), and the year of publication [1.25]
You should consult the MLA Handbook or MLA Style Manual for various other cases, such as how to handle publishers' imprints, multiple publishers, books in series, government publications, proceedings of a conference, books with missing publication information, unpublished and published dissertations.
Section 2: Print Sources: Parts of Books
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For each item in your works cited list that is a selection taken from a book, you will need the following information [template 2]. The format and punctuation of the entry should follow the conventions shown in the various examples in this section:
(1) author's name (lastname, firstname); (2) title of the selection from the whole work (in quotation marks, unless the piece is book-length and was originally published as an independent work---in which case, italicize the title); (3) title of the whole work (italicized); (4) name of editor, translator, compiler, etc. (where applicable); (5) edition used (where applicable); (6) publication information (place of publication: name of publisher, year of publication); (7) page numbers; (8) medium of publication (print, in this case).
Reiss, Timothy J. "Mapping Identities: Literature, Nationalism, Colonialism." Debating World Literature. Ed. Christopher Prendergast. London: Verso, 2004. 110-47. Print.
Munro, Alice. "Boys and Girls." The Norton Introduction to
Literature. Ed. Alison Booth, J. Paul Hunter, and Kelly J. Mays. 9th ed. New York:
Norton, 2005. 509-19. Print.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo. "Art and Criticism." Emerson's
Literary Criticism. Ed. and Introd. Eric W. Carlson. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1995.
Arnould-Mussot, Jean-François. The American
Heroine: A Pantomime in Three Acts. Trans. Samuel Chandler. English Trader, Indian Maid: Representing Gender, Race, and Slavery in the New
World; An Inkle and Yarico Reader. Ed. Frank Felsenstein. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins
UP, 1999. 234-46. Print.
Beckford, William. Vathek, An Arabian Tale. 1786.
Vathek and Other Stories: A William Beckford Reader. Ed. Malcolm
Jack. 1993. London: Penguin, 1995. 27-121. Print.
Tilley, Virginia Q. "Mestizaje and the 'Ethnicization'
of Race in Latin America." Race and Nation: Ethnic Systems in the Modern
World. Ed. Paul Spickard. New York: Routledge, 2005. 53-68. Print.
- An entry for a selection from a book generally uses quotation marks for the selection and italics for the book title [2.1, 2.2, 2.5]. But if the selection was originally published as a separate volume itself, then the selection title is also italicized [2.3, 2.4]. (Example 2.4 contains the additional complication that the title of the collection includes the title of an independent work in it [namely, "Vathek"]: I have handled this according to the format preferred by the MLA, but an alternative convention is to enclose the embedded title in quotation marks, thus: "Vathek" and Other Stories: A William Beckford Reader.)
- In citing page numbers for the selection, give full numbers for numbers from 1 to 99 (e.g., "31-39" not "31-9") [2.2, 2.5]; for numbers from 100, give just the last two digits where possible (e.g. "132-54" not "132-154"; "1,018-79" not "1,018-1,079") [2.1, 2.3], but give more digits where necessary (e.g., "79-267" or "172-219" or "1,018-212") [2.4]
- If there is additional information that pertains to the selection specifically (e.g., translator, original date of publication, editor), give it immediately after the title of the selection [2.3, 2.4]
Gosse, Edmund. "Behn, Aphra." Dictionary of National
Biography. 1885. Print.
"Fiction." Def. 5a. Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed.
"Broumas, Olga." The Feminist Companion to Literature in
English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present. Ed. Virginia Blain, Patricia
Clements, and Isobel Grundy. New Haven: Yale UP, 1990. Print.
- No page numbers are necessary for citations of reference works that are arranged alphabetically [2.6, 2.7, 2.8]
- Entries for items from reference works can be abbreviated, at least for "standard" reference works: the publication information can be reduced to simply the edition (if given) and the year of publication [2.6, 2.7]
- For less familiar reference works, especially those that have only appeared in one edition, you should provide full publication information [2.8]
Goldstone, Richard J. Foreword. Between Vengeance and
Forgiveness: Facing History after Genocide and Mass Violence. By Martha Minow.
Boston: Beacon, 1998. ix-xiii. Print.
Bhabha, Homi K. "Framing Fanon." Foreword. The Wretched
of the Earth. By Frantz Fanon. Trans. Richard Philcox. Pref. Jean-Paul Sartre. New York:
Grove, 2004. vii-xli. Print.
Williams, Raymond. Preface. Keywords: A Vocabulary of
Culture and Society. By Williams. Rev. ed. New York: Oxford UP, 1985. 27. Print.
Anderson, Benedict. Introduction. Mapping the
Nation. Ed. Gopal Balakrishnan. London: Verso, in association with New Left Review,
1996. 1-16. Print.
- Prefaces, forewords, introductions, and the like, are the only parts of works for which you use roman numerals (when they are so numbered in the source text). Otherwise, when referring to volumes, parts, acts, scenes, cantos, books, chapters, etc., use arabic numerals (even if your source uses roman numerals)
- For references to introductions, forewords, prefaces, and afterwords, list the author of the section, then the title of the section (if it has one [2.10]) in quotation marks, followed by a label identifying it as an Introduction, Foreword, Preface, Afterword (capitalized but without any quotation marks)
- If the rest of the book is by the same author, use "By" and their last name only, after the title of the book [2.11]
- If the rest of the book is by some other author(s), use "By" or "Ed." and the full name of the author or editor [2.9, 2.10, 2.12]
Moretti, Franco. "Conjectures on World Literature." New
Left Review 2nd ser. 1 (2000): 54-68. Rpt. in Debating World
Literature. Ed. Christopher Prendergast. London: Verso, 2004. 148-62. Print.
Tilly, Charles. "Softcore Solipsism." Labour/Le
Travail 34 (1994): 259-68. Rpt. in Stories, Identities, and Political
Change. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2002. 15-24. Print.
Lewis, C. S. "Viewpoints: C. S. Lewis." Twentieth-Century
Interpretations of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Ed. Denton Fox. Englewood Cliffs:
Prentice, 1968. 100-01. Rpt. of "The Anthropological Approach." English
and Medieval Studies Presented to J. R. R. Tolkein on the Occasion of His Seventieth
Birthday. Ed. Norman Davis and C. L. Wrenn. London: Allen, 1962. 219-23. Print.
- When the item from a book is a reprint of a work previously published elsewhere, you include the complete bibliographic data for the earlier publication, then, following "Rpt. in," the information for the volume you have used [2.13]
- When a previously published item is reprinted in a book by the same author, you don't need to repeat the author's name with the title of the book [2.14]
- When an item is reprinted under a new title, list the bibliographic information for the reprint first, then, after "Rpt. of," give the bibliographic information for the original publication of the item [2.15]
Section 3: Print Sources: Articles in Journals, Newspapers, and Magazines
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For each journal article (or other periodical publication) in your works cited list, you will need the following information [template 3]. The format and punctuation of the entry should follow the conventions shown in the various examples in this section:
(1) author's name (lastname, firstname); (2) title of article (in quotation marks); (3) title of journal (italicized); (4) volume and issue number; (5) year of publication (in parentheses); (6) page numbers; (7) medium of publication (print, in this case).
Das Gupta, Arun. "Rabindranath Tagore in Indonesia: An Experiment in Bridge-Building." Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 158 (2002): 451-77. Print.
Gossman, Lionel. "Literature and Education." New Literary
History 13 (1982): 341-71. Print.
Vaver, Anthony. "Professionalizing English Studies: From the Eighteenth-Century
Social Critic to the Postmodern Literary Theorist." Minnesota Review
43-44 (1995): 228-35. Print.
Culler, Jonathan. "Anderson and the Novel." Diacritics 29.4 (1999): 20-39. Print.
Gillies, Alexander. "Herder and the Preparation of Goethe's Idea of World
Literature." Publications of the English Goethe Society ns 9 (1933):
Reese, Trevor R. "Georgia in Anglo-Spanish Diplomacy, 1736-1739." William and Mary Quarterly 3rd ser. 15 (1958): 168-90. Print.
- For articles from journals that have continuously numbered pages throughout a given volume (i.e., the numbering does not begin again from page 1 with each new issue), you need only the volume number, year of publication, and page numbers, in addition to author and title (of course) [3.1]
- For journals that use issue numbers instead of volume numbers, give these in place of the volume number [3.2]
- For journals that do number their pages anew with each issue, you need both volume and issue number (with a period between them) [3.3]
- For a journal that has more than one series, indicate the series after the title and before the volume number ("ns" means "new series"; otherwise, use "2nd ser." or "3rd ser." etc.) [3.4, 3.5]
- In listing the names of journals, newspapers, and other periodicals, drop any introductory article for English-language sources (e.g., "William and Mary Quarterly" not "The William and Mary Quarterly"; "New Yorker" not "The New Yorker"; "French Review" not "The French Review") [3.5, 3.6]
Bolaño, Roberto. "Gómez Palacio." Trans. Chris Andrews. New Yorker 8-15 Aug. 2005: 78-81. Print.
Paul, Annie Murphy. "Self Help: Shattering the Myths." Psychology Today Mar.-Apr. 2001: 60-68. Print.
Hennenberger, Melinda. "The Leonardo Cover-Up." New
York Times 21 Apr. 2002, late ed., sec. 6: 42+. Print.
Alaton, Salem. "So, Did They Live Happily Ever After?" Globe and Mail [Toronto] 27 Dec. 1997: D1+. Print.
Hirsch, Marianne. "The Day Time Stopped." Chronicle of
Higher Education 25 Jan. 2002: B11-14. Print.
- For an article from a monthly or weekly magazine, omit volume and issue numbers (even if they appear in the source) and use only the publication date to identify the issue. All months are abbreviated, except May, June, and July [3.6, 3.7]
- For an article from a newspaper, use the date of publication to identify the issue, and specify the edition ("late ed." or "morning ed.") where available [3.8]
- If the name of a locally published newspaper does not indicate the city in which it appears, include this information (enclosed in square brackets) after the title [3.9]; but no place is needed for nationally published newspapers [3.10]
Porter, Bernard. "An Awfully Big Colonial Adventure." Rev. of The Oxford History of the British Empire, gen. ed. Wm. Roger Louis.
TLS 14 Jan. 2000: 4-5. Print.
Rev. of Anthology of Danish Literature, ed. F. J.
Billeskov Jansen and P. M. Mitchell. TLS 7 July 1972: 785. Print.
Bordewich, Fergus M. Rev. of Once They Moved like the
Wind: Cochise, Geronimo, and the Apache Wars, by David Roberts, and Brave Are My People: Indian Heroes Not Forgotten, by Frank Waters.
Smithsonian Mar. 1994: 125-31. Print.
Collins, Jeffrey. "Watteau and the Fête Galante." Rev. of Watteau et la fête galante. Musée des Beaux-Arts,
Valenciennes, 5 March-14 June 2004. Eighteenth-Century Studies 38
(2005): 691-96. Print.
Tommasini, Anthony. "A Feminist Look at Sophocles." Rev. of Jocasta, by Ruth Schonthal and Hélène Cixous. Voice and
Vision Theater Co. Cornelia Connelly Center for Educ., New York. New
York Times 11 June 1998, late ed.: E5. Print.
- For a review, give the name of the author of the review and the title (if either of these elements is available), followed by "Rev. of" and the title of the work being reviewed; then a comma and "by" (or "ed." or "trans." or "dir.") the name of the author (or editor, translator, or director) of the work under review [3.11]
- If the review has no author, but does have a title, begin with that; if the review has an author, but no title, proceed to "Rev. of" after the name of the author of the review; if neither author nor title are given, begin with "Rev. of" [3.12]
- If more than one work is included in the review, list titles and authors in the order given at the beginning of the review [3.13]
- For a review of a performance or exhibition, add the relevant information about the event after the title of the event [3.14, 3.15]
You should consult the MLA Handbook for various other cases, such as how to handle entries for abstracts (from an abstracts journal), letters to the editor, serialized articles, and entire special issues of journals.
Section 4: Format for Online Publications
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There is a vast range of kinds of documents published online; like the MLA Handbook, this guide deals only with the more academic sources available on the internet (via online databases or as independent webpages). This guide does not deal with documents from email, online discussion lists, or synchronous communications (MUDs and MOOs). In the examples below, I deal first with online materials that have no counterparts in print publication; then I discuss online materials that were originally published in print.
References to online sources are limited by the lack of standards for online presentation. Information about online publication is often missing, incomplete, or unreliable. Many webpages include inaccurate or conflicting information about date of online publication. Many (or most) online documents lack reference markers (such as paragraph or section numbers), so it is hard to specify a particular passage in the document. Moreover, many online sources (especially those found as webpages rather than as part of online databases) are unstable: they migrate to a new location; they change their content or organization; they go off-line.
Insofar as it is possible to identify, you will need the following information about each item in your works cited list that has been published only on the web [template 4a]. The format and punctuation of the entry should follow the conventions shown in the various examples in this section:
(1) author's name (lastname, firstname); (2) title of the document (in quotation marks---but see exceptions for entire websites, online books, home pages); (3) title of the website (italicized); (4) name of editor (where applicable); (5) version number of document (where available); (6) name of institution or organization that sponsors the site (if not available, use "N.p."); (7) date of online publication (or the latest update) (day, month, year; if not available, use "n.d."); (8) medium of publication (web, in this case); (9) date you accessed the material (day, month, year).
"English Emblem Book Chronology." The English Emblem Book Project. Penn State University Libraries, n.d. Web. 2 August 2005.
Note: The MLA Handbook does not insert the word "Accessed" before the date of access, but relies instead on placement to distinguish between date of online publication (item 7 in the list above) and date of access of material (item 9). Oftentimes, the date of online publication of the source will not be available, so you will need to use "n.d." in that spot (as in the example above). The last date on which you accessed the webpage is always included. The MLA style conventions provide guidelines for citing sources (including online sources) in a print document (e.g., an essay you turn in in hardcopy); they do not address format issues for citations in an online document (such as this one), in which you might make use of functionalities not available in print, such as hyperlinks. See the section on "Further References" below for further discussion.
"Asmara Declaration on African Languages and Literatures." Pennsylvania State University, Office of Outreach, 2001. Web. 5 Aug. 2005.
Arab Culture and Civilization. National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education, 2005. Web. 5 Aug. 2005.
Matz, Robert. Home page. Dept. of English, George Mason U, 2009. Web. 10 Dec. 2009.
English Department. Dept. home page. George Mason U, n.d. Web. 5 Aug. 2005.
Jann, Rosemary. English 701: Literary Research. Course home page. Fall 2005. English Dept., George Mason U, n.d. Web. 25 Aug. 2005.
- For a specific webpage, give the available information regarding authorship, title (in quotation marks), version number, sponsoring organization or institution, online publication date, medium, and access date [4a.1; see also 5b.2]. (Note that for the webpage given in example 4a.1, neither the authorship nor the online publication date are available.)
- For an entire website, give the site editor's name, the name of the site (italicized), sponsoring organization or institution, online publication date, medium, and access date [4a.2]
- For a homepage for an individual or academic department, give the name of the individual (or department), a descriptive label (such as "Home page" or "Dept. home page"), and then the usual information about sponsoring organization, online publication date, medium, and access date [4a.3, 4a.4]
- For a homepage for a course, list the instructor's name, the name of the course, a descriptive label ("Course home page"), the dates of the course, the names of the department and the institution offering the course, date of online publication, medium, and the access date [4a.5]
The previous examples have dealt with material that appears originally on the web. Much of the online material used in scholarly work, however, consists of an online version of an item originally published in print (or in some other medium, such as film or television or CD). The template and examples below discuss online versions of documents that were originally published in print, but have been retrieved from an online database. (For online versions of films, see template 5b, below.)
Print source publication information (as discussed above in sections 1, 2, and 3), but instead of giving "Print" as the medium of publication at the end of the entry, give: (1) title of database or website (italicized); (2) medium of publication (web, in this case); (3) date you accessed the material.
Behn, Aphra. All the Histories and Novels. London: Printed for R. Wellington, 1699. Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text and Image. Web. 5 Aug. 2005.
Thompson, A. Hamilton. "Writers of the Couplet." The Cambridge History of English Literature. Ed. A. W. Ward and A. R. Waller. Vol. 7. New York: Putnam, 1911. Bartleby.com. Web. 5 Aug. 2005.
Frye, Northrop. "The Responsibilities of the Critic." MLN 91 (1976): 797-813. JSTOR. Web. 5 Aug. 2005.
Krugman, Paul. "Design for Confusion." New York Times 5 Aug. 2005. New York Times Online. Web. 5 Aug. 2005.
Section 5: Films and Videos
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In what follows, I use the term "film" to refer to any cinematic text, whether recorded on film or video or digital media. The first part deals with films in theatrical release; the second part with films released on DVD or other similar recorded media; the third part with films and clips available online.
For each filmic work listed in your works cited list, you will need the following information [template 5]. The format and punctuation of the entry should follow the conventions shown in the various examples in this section, though as discussed below the inclusion and arrangement of particular bits of information about the work are particularly flexible and dependent on your particular purposes when dealing with a collaborate cultural form like film:
(1) title of film (italicized); (2) name of director; (3) optionally, names of other personnel that you wish to include (such as writer, performers, producer); (4) name of distributor; (5) year of release; (6) medium of publication (e.g. film, DVD, web).
The Scavengers. Dir. Eduardo Coutinho. First Run/Icarus, 1992. Film.
Mendes, Sam, dir. American Beauty. DreamWorks SKG, 1999. Film.
Mifune, Toshiro, perf. Rashomon. Dir. Akira Kurosawa. Daiei, 1950. Film.
Goldman, Bo, and Lawrence Hauben, adapt. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. By Ken Kesey. Dir. Milos Forman. Perf. Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher. Fantasy Films, 1975. Film.
Montuori, Carlo, cinemat. Ladri di biciclette. Dir. Vittorio De Sica. Screenplay by Cesare Zavattini. Based on the novel by Luigi Bartolini. Produzioni De Sica, 1948. Film.
- General references to a film will privilege the title [5.0]; but if your discussion focuses on the contribution of a particular person (director, performer, writer, cinematographer, etc.), begin with that person's name [5.1-5.4]
- The above formats apply to films in theatrical release. Often, however, you will be citing not the original film but a reproduction in one format or another: videocassette, DVD, laserdisc. Such reproductions of films follow the following format:
(1) title of film (italicized); (2) name of director; (3) optional names of other personnel; (4) year of original release (if relevant); (5) distributor of reproduction; (6) year of publication of reproduction; (7) medium of publication of reproduction (e.g. DVD, videocassette, laser disc).
Battle of Algiers. Dir. Gillo Pontecorvo. 1966. Rhino Home Video, 1993. Videocassette.
Wit. Dir. Mike Nichols. Perf. Emma Thompson. Screenplay by Emma Thompson and Mike Nichols. Based on the play by Margaret Edson. HBO, 2001. DVD.
- You might also have occasion to cite a clip of a film from an online source or a film clip that originally appeared online: in such cases, follow the template below, allowing for variations that highlight the contribution of a particular person (as with examples 5.1-5.4 above):
(1) title (italicized); (2) director; (3) any other contributors you wish to list; (4) name of original distributor (if available); (5) year of original release; (6) name of website; (7) medium of publication (web, in this case); (8) date accessed;.
Nosferatu. Dir. F. W. Murnau. Screenplay by Henrik Galeen. Based on the novel by Bram Stoker. 1922. Google Video. Web. 23 March 2007.
- For postings of user-supplied content onto "community" websites, like YouTube, the bibliographic entry follows the protocols for original online sources, rather than those for film texts per se [5b.2]
EclecticAsylumArt. "NewNuma.com 11608: Speed Painting with Chocolate." YouTube. 22 March 2007. Web. 23 March 2007.
Section 6: Television and Radio
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For every television or radio program included in your works cited list, you will need the following information [template 6]. The format and punctuation of the entry should follow the conventions shown in the various examples in this section:
(1) title of episode or segment (if appropriate) (in quotation marks); (2) title of program or series (italicized); (3) name of network (if applicable); (4) name (call letters) and city of local station (if appropriate); (5) date of transmission; (6) medium of reception (e.g. radio, television).
"The Ellen DeGeneres Show." NBC. WRC, Washington, DC. 1 July 2008. Television.
Gyllenhaal, Jake. Interview. Ellen DeGeneres Show. NBC. WRC, Washington, DC. 1 July 2008. Television.
Friedman, Thomas. "Hot, Flat, and Crowded." Book TV. C-SPAN2. 29 June 2008. Television.
If the radio or television program has been reproduced in another medium (e.g., CD or DVD), you can omit items 3, 4, and 5 from template 6 (name of network, call letters and city of local station, and date of transmission) and replace them with: (3) date of original publication; (4) name of vendor for reproduction; (5) year of publication--followed still by (6) medium of publication (CD, DVD, or whatever the case might be). (See next section.)
Section 7: CDs, DVDs, Laser Discs, Audiocassettes, Videocassettes
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Many different kinds of works are available on CDs, laser discs, and DVDs: films, music, books, images, software, etc. In many contexts, the compact disc has largely replaced other recording media such as LPs, reel-to-reel audiotapes, and audiocassettes, and laser discs and DVDs have largely replaced videocassettes (videos). But the format for citing all these kinds of materials is much the same. For each entry in your works cited list that refers to a CD (or DVD, LP, video cassette, etc.), you will need the following information [template 7]. The format and punctuation of the entry should follow the conventions shown in the various examples in this section:
(1) name of performer, writer, director, etc. (depending on the focus of your research); (2) title of item (in quotation marks) (if applicable); (3) title of CD, DVD, etc. (italicized); (4) name of artist or author (when distinct from item 1 in this list) and/or of editor, compiler, or translator (if applicable); (5) date of original work (if appropriate); (6) place of publication (omitted for sound recordings); (7) publisher of CD, DVD, etc.; (8) year of issue; and (9) medium of publication (CD, DVD, audiocassette, etc. as the case may be).
Spiegelman, Art. The Complete Maus. New York: Voyager, 1994. CD-ROM.
Dylan, Bob. "Ain't Talkin'." Modern Times. Sony-BMG, 2006. CD.
Steig, William. "Animal Magnetism." The Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2006. DVD-ROM.
Dylan, Bob. Good As I Been to You. Sony Music, 1992. Audiocassette.
- Note the difference between CDs [7.1] and CD-ROMs [7.0] and DVDs and DVD-ROMs [7.2]: CDs are designed for audio files and are typically used with audio playback equipment like CD-players. These are the familiar music CDs sold at music stores. CD-ROMs are designed to hold data files of all kinds and are used with computers. Similarly, DVDs are designed for television DVD players. DVD-ROMs are designed for data storage of all kinds and are used with computers. (Since computers generally have music and video players as part of their software package, music CDs and film DVDs can also be played on computers.)
- For periodically published databases on CD-ROM or DVD-ROM, consult the MLA Style Manual.
Section 8: Performances
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Section 8: Exhibitions
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Section 9: Artworks
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Section 10: Oral and Unpublished Sources
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Oral sources include oral presentations (such as lectures, speeches, or readings) and oral interviews conducted by the researcher. The formats for these diverse sources differ somewhat from one other. I begin with the information you will need for an entry referencing a lecture, speech, or reading:
(1) name of speaker; (2) title of presentation (if available) (in quotation marks); (3) the sponsoring organization or event; (4) the place (city, and state if useful); and (5) the date of the presentation; and (6) a descriptive label (address, lecture, reading, etc.) describing the kind of oral presentation
Adiche, Chimamanda. Fall for the Book Festival. Fairfax, VA. 27 Sept. 2006. Reading.
Foster, John Burt, Jr. English 436. George Mason University. Fairfax, VA. 16 Sept. 2008. Lecture.
For a personal interview or communication delivered orally to you, either face-to-face or over the phone, you should follow the following format for citations:
Culler, Jonathan. Telephone interview. 12 August 2006.
Eisenstein, Elizabeth. Personal interview. 3 Jan. 2003.
- Note that the format for (unpublished) interviews conducted by the researcher [10.2, 10.3], there is no specification of medium at the end of the entry, since the "interview" notation already indicates the medium.
- For citation of published interviews, in various media, see section on interviews.
Other unpublished sources include handwritten and typescript sources such as manuscripts of texts and unpublished letters or memos. Much of this kind of material will be found in an archival collection of some kind. For each entry in your works cited list referencing this kind of material, you will need the following information:
(1) author of document; (2) title of document (in quotation marks or italicized, depending on whether or not it is a book-length item) or (for letter) name of recipient or (for memo) title or description of memo, including name of recipient(s); (3) date of composition (at least the year; or "n.d." if the year is unknown); (4) medium of document (MS, for manuscript; TS, for typescript); and (5) information regarding collection or archive in which document is found (if applicable) (catalogue number, name of collection, location [place or name of institution and place])
Kipling, Rudyard. Letter to Frank N. Doubleday. 14 Dec. 1895. MS. Frank N. Doubleday Collection. Princeton University Library, Princeton, NJ.
Wood, Jennifer. "Angela Carter: A Feminist Fabulator." 2006. TS.
Martin, Biddy. "Canceling Classes Due to Inclement Weather." Memo to university faculty. Cornell U, Ithaca, NY. 7 Jan. 2006.
Another class of unpublished sources consists of unpublished theses and dissertations. For such materials you will need the following information:
(1) author's name; (2) title of dissertation or thesis (in quotation marks); (3) descriptive label (Diss., MA thesis, or BA thesis, as appropriate); (4) degree-granting institution; (5) year; and (6) medium of presentation (print, in this case).
Barrio Olano, José Ignacio. "The Picaresque Novel and the Machiavellian Concepts of Virtue and Fortune." Diss. Columbia U, 1996. Print.
Lane, Mary. "La Lozana Andaluza and the Picara Tradition in English Literature 1573-1749." MA thesis. U of Maryland, 1978. Print.
Section 11: Arrangement of Items in a Works Cited List
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The works cited list should include all sources used in your paper, and only those sources. If you want to include sources that you consulted but did not directly make use of in your paper, you can present a "Works Consulted" list instead. (But, with most essay assignments, the expectation is that you will document only the sources you actually use in your paper.) The works cited list appears at the end of your paper, beginning on a new page but continuing the page numbering from your paper. (For example, if the body of your paper ends on page 6, your works cited list will begin on page 7.) The title "Works Cited" (without quotation marks, underlining, or italics) should be centered at the top of the page. Each entry in the works cited list should be double-spaced, just like the rest of your paper. Each entry should begin flush with the left-hand margin, but if it continues onto other lines, these should be indented one-half inch (or five spaces). This format is called hanging indentation and can be set using your word processing program. (The examples throughout this guide show you what this format looks like.)
Entries in the works cited list are arranged alphabetically, by the authors' last names. Using the letter-by-letter system, you ignore spaces and punctuation marks in a given last name, and alphabetize strictly in terms of the sequence of letters that make up the name. If two authors have the same last name, alphabetize by their first names. For works that have no author, alphabetize using their title (ignoring, for this purpose, any initial articles in the title [A, An, The, or their equivalents in other languages]); so, too, for reviews that have neither author nor title, alphabetize by the title of the work being reviewed (ignoring "Rev. of" at the start of the entry for this purpose).
If an author's name is spelled variously in different works you cite (e.g., Lao-tze, Lao-tzu, Laozi), group all the entries in the works cited list under one spelling. If you include works published by an author under a pseudonym as well as under his or her real name (e.g. Mark Twain and Samuel L. Clemens), either group all the works under the better-known name or list them separately but include a cross-reference with the real name and include the real name in square brackets after the pseudonym. If your works cited list includes works published by a woman under her maiden name as well as her married name, list them separately but include cross-references with both names.
If you have more than one work by the same author(s), alphabetize them by title (ignoring any designations after the author's name, such as "ed." or "trans.," and ignoring any initial articles in the titles of the works). Give the author(s) name(s) in the first entry only; in subsequent entries, replace the name(s) with three hyphens, followed by a period. If the author of a given entry reappears as the first of two or more co-authors of the next entry, repeat the author's name in full (do not replace it with three hyphens). The hyphens replace a complete designation of authorship; they are never used in combination with persons' names in a single entry.
Atkins, G. Douglas.
Bacon, Wallace A.
Bazerman, Charles and Paul A. Prior, ed.
Bazerman, Charles and David Russell.
Beattie, James. Elements of Moral Science.
---. Scotticisms, Arranged in Alphabetical Order.
Berlin, James A. "Revisionary History: The Dialectical Method."
---. Writing Instruction in Nineteenth-Century American Colleges.
Berlin, James A. and Michael Vivon, ed.
The College Examination.
Crowley, Tony. Language and History: Theories and Texts.
---, comp. The Politics of Language in Ireland.
---. Standard English and the Politics of Language.
De Gategno, Paul James.
Rev. of Devolving English Literature, by Robert Crawford.
This sample of (incomplete) entries from a works cited list illustrates the alphabetization rules discussed above.
If you have several items from a collection of essays or an anthology, you can avoid unnecessary repetition of bibliographic information by making use of cross-references: include a complete bibliographic entry for the collection as a whole, but for individual selections from the collection, give the author, title, and then a cross-reference to the collection (identified by the editor's last name) and page numbers:
Adnan, Etel. "On the Subject of Rushdie." Trans. Kenneth Whitehead. For Rushdie 16.
Akhtar, Shabbir. "The Case for Religious Fundamentalism." Appignanesi and Maitland 227-31.
Appignanesi, Lisa and Sara Maitland, ed. The Rushdie File. Syracuse: Syracuse UP, 1990. Print.
Basu, Shrabani. "Of Satan, Archangels and Prophets." Appignanesi and Maitland 32-33.
For Rushdie: Essays by Arab and Muslim Writers in Defense of Free Speech. New York: George Braziller, 1994. Print.
Harbi, Mohammed. "For Rushdie." Trans. Kevin Anderson. For Rushdie 170-71.
Rushdie, Salman. "An Open Letter to the Indian Prime Minister." Appignanesi and Maitland 34-36.
If the items from the collection are individually translated, include the translator's name after you give the author and title of the item you are citing. You can omit the translator's name from the abbreviated entries if the whole volume has the same translator. If you cite two or more collections with the same editor(s), you will need to include a short-title after the editor's name in your abbreviated entries.
Section 12: In-Text Citations: Overview
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MLA style makes use of parenthetical in-text citations, keyed to a works cited list at the end of your paper. The works cited list tells your reader which sources you have used in your own work, giving full bibliographic information for each one, but it does not indicate either where in your paper each source is relevant or what part of each source is relevant. These latter two functions are served by in-text citations. The basic idea in MLA style is to present the minimum necessary documentation in the in-text citation to allow your reader to locate the relevant item in the works cited list, and to find the specific passage that you are referencing in that work. This allows for efficient, unobstrusive documentation of sources, but the minimalism of MLA style can also lead to ambiguities and omissions if you are not careful. It is essential to re-check your in-text citing of sources and the correlation between in-text citations and the works cited list before finally submitting a research paper.
The in-text citation often takes the form of specifying the last name of the author of the source you are using at a particular point in your essay and a page reference for the specific place in that source:
Complaints about the professors' failure to lecture, continuing financial problems, and divisive legal conflicts continued up until 1768, when the college building was sold and lectures were continued on a much smaller scale in a room in the Exchange (Burgon 2: 495).
Seeing such an in-text citation (note that the page reference in example 12.1 is to volume 2, page 495 of the work by Burgon), readers can turn to the works cited list, where they will find the following entry:
Burgon, Thomas W. The Life and Times of Sir Thomas Gresham. 2 vols. London: Robert Jennings, 1839. Print.
Variations on this basic pattern for in-text citations---"(lastname page[s])"---occur due to various contextual factors having to do either with the local exposition in your paper or the entries in your works cited list. For instance, if there is more than one item by the named author in the works cited list, you will obviously need to supply some information in the in-text citation to allow your reader to distinguish which source you are referring to.
MLA style guidelines call for the minimun necessary documentation in in-text citations. So, if the local context of discussion in your paper makes clear who the author of the cited work is, you only include a page reference in your parenthetical citation. Very often, the signal phrase introducing a quotation or a paraphrase of a source text indicates something about the authorship of the information:
Gramsci distinguished the domains of civil and political society with the shorthand equation of "state=political society + civil society, in other words hegemony protected by the armor of coercion" (263).
Here, since we know the quotation comes from the item in the works cited list authored by Gramsci, the simple page reference in the parenthetical citation is sufficient to locate the passage in question. You will often incorporate some of the information that might appear in your parenthetical citation (author's name, title of work) into your own exposition, in which case that information is not repeated in the parenthetical citation. You should formulate your sentences for maximum readability and elegance and then fill in whatever parenthetical citations are needed for documentation purposes. If you paraphrase information that is corroborated by two or more sources, you can combine them in a single parenthetical citation [12.3].
The Irish were forbidden to export their leading product, wool, to any country but England, and prohibitive tariffs were imposed on its import there (see Lecky 57; Simms 14).
Mudrooroo remarked at the beginning of the 1990s,
the Aboriginal writer exists in a state of ambiguity. White people assume that he or she is writing for the white world, the world of the invader. It is a curious fate---to write for a people not one's own, and stranger still to write for the conquerors of one's people. (148; emphasis added)
In-text parenthetical citations are placed directly after the use of the source material in your exposition. This means that, most commonly, a parenthetical citation will appear at the end of the sentence making use of the source (before the closing period---except in the case of an indented quotation, when the parenthetical citation comes after the final period [12.4]); parenthetical citations also often appear at the end of a clause or phrase (before a comma). The main consideration is to make as clear as possible just what part of your exposition draws on the cited source; within the room for manoeuvre allowed by that stipulation, the parenthetical citation is placed where it will least disrupt the readability of your sentence. When you have a direct quotation from a source, but the rest of the sentence expresses your own thoughts, the parenthetical citation needs to appear immediately after the closing quotation mark. (If, however, the rest of your sentence, after a direct quotation, is also drawing on the same source, the parenthetical citation belongs at the end of your sentence.) If you italicize words in the quoted passage that are not italicized in the source itself, you need to indicate this by putting "emphasis added" in the parenthetical citation [12.4].
In some cases, page numbers are omitted, either because you are citing a work that contains no pagination (as is often the case with online sources, and also with sources such as a film, a performance, a lecture) or because pagination is conventionally omitted in certain cases (e.g., citations of reference works that are arranged alphabetically). In all such cases, you can indicate the source in a signal phrase, and avoid the need for a parenthetical citation altogether, or you can simply list the author's last name (or, an abbreviated title, if need be) in the parenthetical citation.
The important thing to remember is that since MLA style involves a minimalist presentation of documentary information in the body of your text, it is crucial that you make sure that you have actually included enough information to identify unambiguously the specific source passage you are drawing on. It is very easy to create ambiguities if you don't examine carefully the in-text documentation you have have provided---in relation to your local exposition and in relation to the works cited list at the end of your paper.
Some common variations on the standard pattern for in-text citations are discussed in the next section.
Section 13: In-Text Citations: Examples
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Citing Two or More Works by the Same Author or by Different Authors with the Same Last Name
If there is more than one item in the works cited list by a given author, when you cite any of the works by this author, you will need to indicate which of these works you are citing. MLA style uses abbreviated title references in the in-text citation to distinguish among multiple works by a given author:
Blair also defended his concentration on "faults, or rather blemishes and imperfections" by noting that one can only read the "best authors" with "pleasure, when one properly distinguishes their beauties from their faults" (Lectures 1: 79). An emphasis on correctness was also needed because of the "peculiarities of dialect" of his Scottish students, whose "ordinary spoken language differs much from what is used by good English authors" (1: 430).
Some writers also defended their concentration on "faults, or rather blemishes and imperfections" by noting that one can only read the "best authors" with "pleasure, when one properly distinguishes their beauties from their faults" (Blair, Lectures 1: 79).
- The first parenthetical reference here tells us that the source being used is Hugh Blair's Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles-Lettres, rather than any other work by Blair in the works cited list. You don't need to include the whole title in the parenthetical citation to accomplish this purpose---just a selected portion from the beginning of the title (omitting any articles) that is distinct enough to identify the work in question is sufficient. (If there were two works by Hugh Blair in the works cited list that began with Lectures on . . ., obviously you would need to include some more of either title to distinguish between them.)
- Note that when the author's name is mentioned in the text, it doesn't appear in the parenthetical citation [13.1]. Otherwise, you need the author's last name, a comma, the short title, and a page reference in the parenthetical citation, to identify which of several works by the same author you are referencing [13.2]
- In example 13.1, the second parenthetical reference only includes a page number (or, a volume and page number), because it is clear from context that we are still talking about the same source that was identified in the previous parenthetical citation.
If there are two or more authors in your works cited list with the same last name, you need to indicate which author you are drawing on in a signal phrase or in the parenthetical citation itself (by adding the author's first initial): e.g., "(W. Bacon 42)" or "(F. Bacon 42)" (to borrow from example 11.1).
Citing Indirect Sources
Whenever possible, you should get your hands on a relevant source and cite it directly. But, often enough, it is necessary to cite a source indirectly, that is, from someone else's citation of that source. When what you take from a source is itself a quotation from another source, use "qtd. in" (quoted in) at the start of your parenthetical citation to the source you have taken this quotation from:
Pope's Dunciad describes "Printing as a scourge for the Sins of the Learned," with paper "so cheap, and printers so numerous, that a deluge of authors cover'd the land" (qtd. in Kernan 74, 11).
The author is quoting from Pope's Dunciad, but he or she found the quotation in the book by Kernan listed below, rather than in Pope's original work. The source being cited is Kernan; the author being quoted is Pope---who is "quoted in" Kernan.
Kernan, Alvin. Printing Technology, Letters, and Samuel Johnson. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1987. Print.
If the name of the author of the source text is mentioned in your sentence, you don't need it in the parenthetical citation, and instead of "qtd. in" you simply use "qtd." (with the relevant page number(s)):
Kernan has contrasted the attitudes of Johnson's generation with that of Pope, whose Dunciad describes "Printing as a scourge for the Sins of the Learned," with paper "so cheap, and printers so numerous, that a deluge of authors cover'd the land" (qtd. 74, 11).
Citing Verse Plays and Poems
For most works, you will give page numbers to specify the particular passage you are referencing in the text. But with verse plays and poems---at least ones published in editions that indicate line numbers---it is conventional to specify the passage by division number (act, scene, canto, book, part) (if needed) and line number, with a period between the numbers:
For a moment, Hamlet teeters on the brink of a transformation that would turn him into a "Nero" (3.3.340):
'Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn, and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world. Now could I drink hot blood,
And do such bitter business as the day
Would quake to look on. (3.3.334-38)
This is an example of the complex, yet submerged, passion that Liz Rosenberg calls "the easy brotherly / lust of marriage" (lines 22-23).
Rosenberg, Liz. "Married Love." The Norton Introduction to Literature. Ed. Alison Booth, J. Paul Hunter, and Kelly J. Mays. 9th ed. New York: Norton, 2005. 816-17. Print.
- In quoting from a verse play, like Hamlet, you provide act, scene, and line numbers (in that order), separated by periods [13.5].
- In quoting from a poem, from an edition that indicates line numbers---e.g., Liz Rosenberg's "Married Love" in the The Norton Introduction to Literature---you cite using line numbers rather than page numbers (though the entry for this work in your works cited list will still specify the pages on which it is found [13.6b]). Your parenthetical citation will give line numbers preceded by the word "line" or "lines" (rather than the abbreviations "l." or "ll." since these can look like numbers) [13.6a]. After the first citation, subsequent parenthetical references can omit "line(s)" before the line number(s), since it is now clear that references to this particular work are to line numbers, not page numbers. But if there's room for confusion, you should include "line" or "lines" in the parenthetical citation
Citing Sacred Writings; Laws, Acts, Treaties; Sections of Books
Normally, you italicize the title of any separately published work and put quotation marks around works included in a volume. But these rules do not apply to certain special cases. You do not italicize the names of sacred writings (including all books and versions of the Bible) [13.7]; nor the names of laws, acts, treaties, and other political documents [13.9]; nor do you put quotation marks around references to sections of books [13.10]:
Bible, King James Version, Revised Standard Version, Old Testament, Genesis, Gospels, Psalms, Talmud, Koran, Vedas, Upanishads---but The Interlinear Bible, The Talmud of the Land of Israel: A Preliminary Translation and Explanation, The Upanishads: A Selection for the Modern Reader
During the Enlightenment, it was particularly the depiction of God in the Old Testament that came under critical scrutiny.
As the New English Bible notes: some scholars consider Ruth a postexilic literary creation, though perhaps based on an older tale; on this view, it was intended to counteract the harsh decrees of Ezra and Nehemiah against foreign wives (Ezra 10.1-5; Neh. 13.23-27).
Magna Carta, Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, Treaty of Utrecht, Geneva Convention
The famous words of the Declaration of Independence, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal . . ."
preface, introduction, works cited list, bibliography, appendix, index, chapter 2, act 4, scene 7, stanza 20, canto 32, book 3
The scope of the author's argument is indicated in the introduction, but it is not until chapter 3 that we get a clear sense of just how far-reaching its implications really are.
- Although in-text references to sacred writings are not italicized [13.7], citations of particular published editions of sacred writings are treated like any other published work, both for in-text citations and in the works cited list [13.8]
Section 14: Further References
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MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing. 3rd ed. New York: MLA, 2008. Print.
[This is the authoritative source regarding the latest update to MLA documentation style, including significant revisions with regard to the citation of electronic materials.]
Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 6th ed. New York: MLA, 2003. (Third printing, April 2005.) Print.
[The "style bible" that serves as the basis for my own guide to MLA documentation style, along with the previous item.]
"Frequently Asked Questions about MLA Style." Modern Language Association of America. MLA. 10 July 2003. Web. 4 Aug. 2005.
[The MLA's own webpage for FAQs about MLA style.]
Walker, Janice R. and Todd Taylor. The Columbia Guide to Online Style. New York: Columbia UP, 1998. Print.
[Provides guidelines not only for citation of online documents, but also for formatting citations in online documents, the latter being an issue not addressed by the MLA Handbook.]
Kasdorf, William E., ed. The Columbia Guide to Digital Publishing. New York: Columbia UP, 2003. Print. Also available online (by subscription) <http://digitalpublishingguide.com>
[Discusses electronic document processing and delivery issues, again, a terrain not taken up fully by the MLA Handbook.]
Alexander, Patrick H., et al., ed. The SBL Handbook of Style: For Ancient Near Eastern, Biblical, and Early Christian Studies. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1999. Print.
[A specialized style guide for those dealing extensively with Biblical and early Christian materials. Not, of course, the same as MLA style.]
Roberts, Deborah. "A Guide to Citing Sources in Classics." Classics Department, Haverford College. Haverford College. 5 July 2006. Web. 11 July 2006.
[Especially helpful for its discussion of standard formats for citing primary (ancient) texts in classical scholarship. Again, not the same as MLA style, but useful to understand if you find yourself reading secondary scholarship published by classicists.]
The Blue Book: A Uniform System of Citation. 18th ed. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Law Review Association, et al., 2005. Print.
[Recommended in the MLA Handbook as an essential guide, if you need to cite lots of legal materials.]
Martin, Peter W. Introduction to Basic Legal Citation. Legal Information Institute, Cornell University Law School. Cornell University Law School. January 2006. Web. 12 July 2006.
[An excellent online source for information about citation of legal materials.]