How do I cite a headnote, an introduction, or other material that introduces a work in an anthology?
Note: This post relates to content in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook. For up-to-date guidance, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook.
Sometimes each individual work in an anthology has a headnote, an introduction, or other material introducing it. To cite this material, follow the MLA format template. List the editor of the anthology in the Author element. Note in the example below that the label editor is omitted because in this case the editor is the author of the introductory material.
Next provide the title of the material and then the title of the anthology as the title of the container. In the Contributors element, list the editor again, this time with the label edited by. Since you will have already provided the full name in the Author element, use the last name only here. Then list the publication details for the anthology, followed by the page range for the introductory material:
Lester, Blake. “Edith Wharton’s ‘Roman Fever.’” Anthology of Early Twentieth-Century Literature, edited by Blake, Ink Press, 1980, pp. 499-500.
If the introductory material does not have a title, provide a description that includes the name of the work:
Lester, Blake. Introduction to Edith Wharton’s “Roman Fever.” Anthology of Early Twentieth-Century Literature, edited by Blake, Ink Press, 1980, pp. 499-500.
As always, your in-text citations should key to your entry in the works-cited list, so if you were to cite from the introduction above, your citation would include “Lester” and a page number.
Read more on citing introductions.