To cite a primary-source document from a kit, follow the MLA format template. Begin by providing the title of the document or a description of it. Then list the title of the kit as the title of container and provide any pertinent publication details:
Illumination from a fifteenth-century book of hours. Black Death: The Plague, by E. R. Chamberlin, adapted by Muriel L. Dubois,Jack Daws Publications, 2005.
To cite a special feature from a DVD, follow the MLA format template. List the title of the feature as the “Title of source.” Then provide the name of the DVD as the “Title of container,” followed by the publication details. If necessary for clarity, list the format in the optional-element slot at the end of the entry:
“NYC Press Conference.” Led Zeppelin, produced by Jimmy Page and Dick Carruthers, disc 2, Atlantic Recording / Warner Music Group, 2003. DVD.
If the special feature appears on a separate disc in a DVD set, treat the disc as an independent work contained in the collection:
“Behind the Scenes.” Bonus Materials.The Godfather DVD Collection, Paramount Pictures, 2001.
In its publications, the MLA prefers to provide works-cited-list entries in the original script, along with a translation and sometimes a transliteration, for works not written in roman characters (see our previous post). In a teaching context, however, it is fine to allow students to provide works-cited-list entries in English only.
To cite a customer review posted on Amazon, follow the MLA format template. List the name of the reviewer as the author and a description in place of a title. Then list Amazon as the title of the container, the date of the review, and the URL:
Holwager, Joe. Review of Slouching Towards Bethlehem, by Joan Didion. Amazon, 2 Mar. 2017, www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/RQXGVNMGK4T4J/ ref=cm_cr_dp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0374531382.
Note that Amazon is the container here because it is the platform of publication for the review. If you are citing an e-book that you downloaded from Amazon, then Amazon is an online store and thus not a container for the work. To learn more about how to determine when a Web site is a container, read our post.
To cite a flyer or other advertisement found in an e-mail message, follow the MLA format template. Treat the advertisement as the work: List the title of the flyer or a description in place of a title. Then list the flyer’s publisher and the date. Place “E-mail” in the optional-element slot at the end of the entry to indicate the medium of publication:
“Year End Mid-Week Special.” Buttermilk Falls Inn and Spa, 4 Dec. 2017. E-mail.
To cite a recorded performance of a play, follow the MLA format template. If you watched the recording on a Web site, list the Web site as the container, the name of the site’s publisher–if different from the Web site’s title–and the URL:
Munby, Jonathan, director. The Merchant of Venice. By William Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s Globe, Shakespeare Globe Trust, 2017, www.globeplayer.tv/.
If you watched the recording on a DVD, use the final optional-element slot to indicate this:
Radford, Michael, director. The Merchant of Venice. By William Shakespeare, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 2005. DVD.
If you need to shorten a title within quotation marks that begins with a title in quotation marks, use the title within the title as the short form and retain the single quotation marks within double quotation marks:
Karen Ford argues that Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” is “replete with contradictions” (“‘Yellow Wallpaper’” 311).
Ford, Karen. Gender and the Poetics of Excess: Moments of Brocade. UP of Mississippi, 1997.
—. “‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ and Women’s Discourse.” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, vol. 4, no. 2, 1985, pp. 309-14.
In the example above, note that you still omit the introductory article, just as you would with any shortened title in an in-text citation.
A similar issue occurs when shortening titles that begin with quotations. See our post for examples.
If you need to shorten a title enclosed in quotation marks that begins with a quotation, use the title within the title as the short form and retain the single quotation marks within double quotation marks:
As Barry Menikoff shows, Stevenson’s novels were influenced by his relation to the South Seas (“‘These Problematic Shores’”).
Menikoff, Barry. Narrating Scotland: The Imagination of Robert Louis Stevenson. U of South Carolina P, 2005.
—. “‘These Problematic Shores’: Robert Louis Stevenson in the South Seas.” The Ends of the Earth, 1876-1918, edited by Simon Gatrell, Ashfield Press, 1992, pp. 141-46.
When the introductory quotation is extremely long, truncate it:
Although Pamela is accepted into Mr. B.’s family, Charlotte Sussman argues that this outcome is tempered by the “precarious nature of Pamela’s ‘happiness,’” which is “hemmed in by the threat of physical punishment” as depicted in the narrative references to Sally Godfrey (“‘I Wonder’” 97).
Sussman, Charlotte. “Epic, Exile, and the Global: Felicia Hemans’s The Forest Sanctuary.” Nineteenth-Century Literature, vol. 65, no. 4, 2011, pp. 481-512.
—.“‘I Wonder Whether Poor Miss Sally Godfrey Be Living or Dead’: The Married Woman and the Rise of the Novel.” Diacritics, vol. 20, no. 1, 1990, pp. 88-102.
A similar issue occurs when shortening a title within quotation marks that begins with a title in quotation marks. See our post for examples.
Yes, an essay may start with a block quotation. The quotation should be important to your discussion and referred to in your prose. This distinguishes it from an epigraph, which is ornamental in nature.
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