In-text citations in MLA style involve authors, titles, and page numbers. Can I also include the date of a work?

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.

In MLA style, you must key works you discuss to the works-cited list. You may do so by mentioning the author in the text or in a parenthetical citation. If you refer to more than one work by the author or a work is anonymously written, your in-text references must specify the title. You are free to provide additional information, such as dates, but that information does not need to key to the works-cited-list entry:

In Orientalism (1978), Edward W. Said writes, “Men have always divided the world up into regions having either real or imagined distinction from each other” (39).

Work Cited

Said, Edward W. Orientalism. Vintage Books, 1979.

In the above example, the author’s name in the body of the essay—Edward W. Said—is keyed to the author’s name in the works-cited-list entry. The entry is for the 1979 edition of Said’s Orientalism, but the essay provides additional information: the original publication date of Said’s book—1978.