MLA Style Quick Reference for Citations

1) Embedded quotes from poetry (approx. 1-3 lines):

 In “Sonnet 20,” Shakespeare’s speaker calls his ambiguously-gendered beloved the “master mistress of my passion” (l. 2).

Identify any line breaks in the printed text with slash marks: e.g., “A woman’s face wih nature’s own hand painted, / Hast thou, the master mistress of my passion” (ll. 1-2).

2) Embedded quotes from plays (approx. 1-3 lines):

In the balcony scene, Juliet questions the relationship between words and the things they signify, asking “What’s in a name?” and concluding that “that which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet” (2.2.43-44). On one hand, Juliet’s opposition of nature and language highlights the inadequacy of human words to convey true essences of things. Yet at the same time, Juliet’s poetic description of the smell of the rose succeeds where she claims that single words must fail, aligning poetry itself with the richness and ambivalent excess of nature.

Embedded quotes must work grammatically in the context of your sentence. In other words, they complete the grammar of the sentence. Either Roman numerals or Arabic numerals are fine for citations: e.g., (2.2.43-44) or (II.ii.43-44).

3) Block quotes from plays (approx. 4 or more lines):

In the balcony scene, Juliet questions the relationship between words and the things they signify:

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Rome call’d;
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title.
(2.2.43-47)

Juliet applies the lesson learned from the rose—that human language is inadequate to convey the richness of natural things—to her love for Romeo, whose name identifies him as “my enemy” (2.2.38).

To quote poetry, substitute a reference to lines rather than act, scene, line number, e.g. (ll. 2-6).

4) Embedded prose quotes from critics (approx. 1-4 lines):

Other critics have pointed out that we cannot understand Hamlet’s inaction without considering “the character of the world in which the action must be taken—its mysteriousness, its baffling appearances, its deep consciousness of infection, frailty, and loss” (Mack 207).

For quotes from primary texts, omit author’s name only if it is understood.

Maynard Mack argues that we cannot understand Hamlet’s inaction without considering “the character of the world in which the action must be taken—its mysteriousness, its baffling appearances, its deep consciousness of infection, frailty, and loss” (207).

5) Block prose quotes from critics (more than 5 lines):

Departing from Coleridge’s criticism of Hamlet, later critics have pointed out that we cannot understand Hamlet’s inaction without appreciating the difficulty of taking any kind of action in the world of the play.

The ghost’s injunction to act becomes so inextricably bound up for Hamlet with the character of the world in which the action must be taken—its mysteriousness, its baffling appearances, its deep consciousness of infection, frailty, and loss—that he cannot come to terms with either without coming to terms with both. (Mack 207)

Hamlet’s confusion about his material world complicates his ability to understand the claims of the other, metaphysical world from which the ghost appears to emanate.

6) Titles of collections, novels, plays, individually published poems:
Romeo and Juliet or Romeo and Juliet
The Rape of Lucrece or The Rape of Lucrece

Titles of individual poems or short stories that could appear in a collection:
“Sonnet 20,” “A Rose for Emily”

Titles of movies:
Romeo and Juliet or Romeo and Juliet

7) Works Cited page (alphabetize by first letter of entry):

Book:
Pugliatti, Paolo. Shakespeare the Historian. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996.

Article in Book:
Norbrook, David. “Macbeth and the Politics of Historiography.” Politics of Discourse: The Literature and History of Seventeenth-Century England. Eds. Kevin Sharpe and Steven Zwicker. Berkeley: U of California P, 1987. 78-116.

Article in journal:
Maguire, Nancy. “Regicide and Reparation: The Autobiographical Drama of Roger Boyle, Earl Orrery.” English Literary Renaissance 21.2 (1991): 257-82.

Film:
It’s a Wonderful Life. Dir. Frank Capra. Perf. James Stewart, Donne Reed, Lionel Barrymore, and Thomas Mitchell. RKO, 1946.

Website (dates referred to last update and to date accessed):
Felluga, Dino. Guide to Literary and Critical Theory. 28 Nov. 2003. Purdue University. 10 May 2006 <http://www.cla.purdue.edu/english/theory>.


This entry was posted in Citations and References. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.