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How to Cite Literary Criticism Sources

by Clara Miles, Demand Media

    Literary criticisms are often referenced in scholarly papers and must be cited to avoid the appearance of plagiarism. To accomplish this, you must include the appropriate acknowledgment any time you reference another person's work in your papers. Although there are several formatting styles from which to choose, divisions of the humanities traditionally use that of the Modern Language Association (MLA).

    In-Text Citations

    Step 1

    Introduce the quote or paraphrase by referencing the author or work. According to John Doe... In John's Literary Criticism... Note: John's Literary Criticism should be in italics since it is the title of a book.

    Step 2

    Place the page number from which the information for a quote or paraphrase was taken in parenthesis after the quotation marks or paraphrased content and before the period. "Direct quote" (123). Summarized information (123).

    Step 3

    Include the author's name before the page number of the in-text citation if you do not use an introductory phrase. "Direct quote" (Doe 123). Summarized information (Doe 123).

    Works Cited Page

    Step 1

    Include a Works Cited page at the end of your paper to direct readers where they can find the original source of your information.

    Step 2

    List the author's name, last then first, followed by a period. Doe, John.

    Step 3

    Type the title of the book, including any subtitles, in italics. Capitalize all words in the title except articles, prepositions and conjunctions (unless they appear at the beginning of the title). End with a period. Doe, John. John's Literary Criticism. Note: Again, John's Literary Criticism should be in italics since it is the title of a book.

    Step 4

    Add the city of publication, followed by a colon. Doe, John. John's Literary Criticism. New York:

    Step 5

    Provide the publisher's name, followed by a comma. Doe, John. John's Literary Criticism. New York: Your Publishing Co.,

    Step 6

    Include the year of publication, followed by a period. Doe, John. John's Literary Criticism. New York: Your Publishing Co., 2010.

    Step 7

    State the medium of the source (i.e., print, web, etc.) Doe, John. John's Literary Criticism. New York: Your Publishing Co., 2010. Print.

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    Tips

    • In the past, book titles were underlined. The 2009 update to the MLA style changed it to italics.
    • If your works cited entry is longer than one line, indent the second and all subsequent lines.

    Warning

    • Do not assume MLA style is correct for your paper. Always check with your instructor to verify the preferred format.

    About the Author

    Clara Miles has been writing professionally since 2001. Before going freelance, she was a copywriter for an in-house marketing team and has had articles included in the Virginia Association of Realtors' "Commonwealth" magazine and The Current Week in Review, an e-newsletter serving the Illinois Great Rivers Conference of the United Methodist Church. Miles has a Master of Arts in English literature from Bradley University.

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