In reference to centuries, when should I use a hyphen with early and late?

MLA style generally hyphenates elements of a compound adjective and does not use a hyphen for a noun phrase.

a poet of the early nineteenth century

an early-nineteenth-century poet

theater in the late twentieth century

late-twentieth-century theater

A compound with mid is trickier, in that there is more than one way to style it.

At mid-century the practice flourished.

In the mid–eighteenth century [use an en dash] the practice flourished.

In early- and mid-eighteenth-century salons the practice flourished.

Or you might decide to leave open a mid compound you would otherwise hyphenate.

In the early and mid eighteenth century the practice flourished.

Published 30 August 2019

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