Two titles are listed under Austen’s name in the list of works cited, the novel Mansfield Park
and a letter Austen wrote:
Austen, Jane. Mansfield Park. Edited by Kathryn Sutherland, Penguin Books, 2014.
———. “To Cassandra Austen.” Jane Austen’s Letters, edited by Deirdre Le Faye, 3rd ed., Oxford UP, 1995, pp. 25-28.
The short title tells the reader which of the two works is being cited.
No, you should not italicize the names of television channels or radio stations.
The show originally aired on Cartoon Network.
She listed to the weather report on WCBS this morning.
Yes, you can leave the heading (your name, instructor’s name, the course name, and the date) off the first page of your essay if you have a cover page. However, be sure to check with your instructor about his or her preferences.
It depends on the focus of your work. In a dissertation on a single author or title—say, Gabriel Marcel’s Being and Having: An Existentialist Diary—it would be overkill to introduce the author and full title of the work anew in each chapter. References to the author’s last name and a shortened title are sufficient.
But if your work focuses more broadly, use judgment. For example, in a book primarily discussing a few core texts—say, Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, E. M. Forster’s A Passage to India, and James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man—subsequent references to Woolf’s Room, Forster’s Passage, and Joyce’s Portrait are likely sufficient, even if, for clarity, the other, ancillary primary and secondary works you discuss are reintroduced in full when first mentioned in each chapter.
In a topical work—say, on the representations of funerals in dozens of works or on poets of the beat generation—you would likely want to reintroduce authors and texts in full when first mentioned in each chapter.
Clarity for readers is the ultimate goal, but so too is avoiding trying their patience.
Page 41 of the MLA Handbook advises writers to first look for the publisher’s name on the title page, so in your works-cited-list entry, use the form found on the title page even if it varies from the form found on the copyright page. Thus, if you find NYU Press on the title page but New York University Press on the copyright page, use NYU Press.
In its publications, the MLA generally avoids using block quotations in notes. Exceptions would be made for quotations of more than one paragraph or for other extraordinarily long quotations. However, the MLA’s system of documentation discourages lengthy discussion in the notes and aims to keep the reader’s focus on the primary text.
Read our comprehensive guidelines on using notes in MLA style.
Cite a numbered footnote or endnote in a parenthetical citation thus:
Edward Wallis, the editor, notes that the poet used this technique for the first time in “New Poem” (77n5).
When citing multiple notes from a single page, this format is suggested:
The editors of the facsimile edition call the reader’s attention to three instances of this rhetorical device (56 [nn 1, 4, 5]).
It would be unusual to cite a note in the list of works cited, and writers are encouraged to build references into the main body of their work whenever possible.
When a work is published without an author’s name, begin the works-cited-list entry with the title of the work. Do not use Anonymous in place of an author’s name:
For works created by a corporate author—an institution, a government body, or another kind of organization—list that entity as the author:
An exception: if a corporate author is also the work’s publisher, list that entity as the publisher and skip the “Author” slot:
Cite these works in your text by title or by corporate author—that is, by the first item in the works-cited-list entry:
Review a source carefully before deciding that it has no author. It’s important to credit authors for their work.
When you are citing an image reproduced in a book, it is usually sufficient to refer to it in your text and create a works-cited-list entry for the book as whole. In the example below, the image, printed in a book on a page with no page number, is described in prose, and the figure number is given parenthetically:
One political cartoonist working during the 1919 Paris peace talks depicted Bolshevism as an aggressive, predatory hawk, and the peace treaty as an unknowing dove (MacMillan, fig. 6).
MacMillan, Margaret. Paris 1919. Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2001.
If a page number appears, include it:
In describing the influences of Byzantine and Levantine silks on Anglo-Saxon art, C. R. Dodwell includes an image from the Bayeux Tapestry depicting two beasts eating their own tales (fig. 45, p. 169).
Dodwell, C. R. Anglo-Saxon Art: A New Perspective. Cornell UP, 1982.
Another way to cite an image from a book is to treat the image as a work contained in another work. Using the MLA format template, list any relevant information about the image supplied by your source. Then list the publication information for your source:
Velázquez, Diego. An Old Woman Cooking Eggs. Circa 1618, Scottish National Gallery. The Vanishing Velázquez: A Nineteenth-Century Bookseller’s Obsession with a Lost Masterpiece, by Laura Cumming, Scribner, 2016, p. 27.
If the image is transformed, distinctively presented, or informally published, characterize the work you are citing accurately in the entry:
Cat photographed with Diego Velázquez’s Old Woman Cooking with Eggs. Cat Photobombs of Famous Art, edited by Calliope Sanderson, Meow Publishers, 2017, plate 7.
Polaroid of Diego Velázquez’s Old Woman Cooking with Eggs. Circa 1982. Polaroid Photos in the 1980s, edited by Dan Greenleaf, North Press, 2010, p. 24.
Photo of Diego Velázquez’s Old Woman Cooking with Eggs. Smith Family Travel Photos, 2017, www.smithblog.com/eggs.
There are different traditions for formatting stage directions, even in publications of the same play. When quoting stage directions, your aim should be consistency.
It is most common to find stage directions in italics, and you should replicate them:
After Levan states that Homais “faints,” the stage directions detail what happens next: “She sinks down in a Chair, he falls at her feet” (22).
If it’s not clear from context that you are quoting stage directions, indicate this in your in-text citation:
Manly’s scene concludes on a passionate image: “She sinks down in a Chair, he falls at her feet” (22 [stage direction])
To indicate that the quoted material is a stage direction, some scholars use the abbreviation sd after the line number: (120sd). But in an essay that is not specialized in theater history, it would be better to avoid mystifying your readers with that technical detail.
Stage directions typically appear in parentheses or square brackets. When quoting stage directions and dialogue together, follow your source’s use of parentheses or square brackets if you can:
“Her salt tears fell from her, and soft’ned the stones,
Lay by these—
[Singing.] “—willow, willow”—
Prithee hie thee; he’ll come anon—
“Sing all a green willow must be my garland.
Let nobody blame him, his scorn I approve.”
But if you quote from sources with variant practices, choose one method for enclosing stage directions and be consistent.
The names of the characters in stage directions are often given in different ways—roman and all capital letters, small capitals, or a combination—but in your manuscript simply make them italic, with the rest of the stage direction:
“Enter Nurse wringing her hands, . . .”