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How to Cite a Novel in MLA Format

by Forest Time, Demand Media

    The Modern Language Association (MLA) publishes guidelines for the proper formatting of scholarly and research papers. MLA citation style is often used by college students who are studying literature. If you quote from a novel in your paper, you should cite parenthetically in the text, and you must also include a full bibliographic entry on your Works Cited page. MLA guidelines call for a specific arrangement of information for both parenthetical citations and bibliographic entries.

    Step 1

    Cite the last name of the author and the page number parenthetically in the text whenever you quote or paraphrase. For example: The character Bobo is described as "sullen, sulky and taciturn" (Jones 89), but later proves himself to be charismatic and outgoing. If you mention the author's name in the text, remove it from your parenthetical citation. For example: In Ted Jones' novel, the character Bobo is described as "sullen, sulky and taciturn" (89), but later proves himself to be charismatic and outgoing.

    Step 2

    Begin your works cited entry with the last name and first name of the author, separated by a comma and followed by a period. For example: Jones, Garrett.

    Step 3

    Continue your citation with the title of the novel, followed by a period. The title should appear in italics.

    Step 4

    List the city of publication, publisher, and the year published. This should appear in the following format: Chicago: Doubleday, 2000.

    Step 5

    Finish your citation with the medium of publication, followed by a period. For printed materials such as novels, the medium of publication should appear as: Print. Your finished works cited entry should be arranged in the following basic format: Jones, Garrett. Dying in Paris. Chicago: Doubleday, 2000. Print.

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    Tips

    • If the novel has been translated or edited, include this information after the title. For example:
    • Jones, Garrett. Dying in Paris. Trans. Bob Smith. Chicago: Doubleday, 2000. Print.
    • Jones, Garrett. Dying in Paris. Ed. Bob Smith. Chicago: Doubleday, 2000. Print.
    • Remember that the title -- for example "Dying in Paris" -- should appear in italics.

    About the Author

    Forest Time has been writing for over a decade. During this time, he founded and edited a short-lived literary magazine, received several prizes for his poetry and published a master's thesis on Cambodian history. He received his Master of Arts in Asian history from the University of Maine at Orono in 2007.

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