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The correct way to cite an essay from a book that includes a collection of essays using the MLA style

Sep 16, 2020

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As a general rule, when you are citing an essay, be sure to make note of the following bibliographic items: the author name(s), other contributors such as translators or editors, the book’s title, editions of the book, the publication date, the publisher, and the pagination. However when you are referring to a collection of essays using MLA style you should follow particular rules. 

However, in the MLA’s (Modern Language Association) 8th edition there are clear guidelines on how to cite an essay from a book that includes a collection of essays. The below material is available on Perdue University Online Writing Lab, in MLA style chapter.

The basic form to cite an essay from a book that includes a collection of essays using the MLA style is as follows (available on Purdue University Online Writing Lab, a chapter on MLA style):

Last name, First name. “Title of Essay.”Title of Collection, edited by Editor’s Name(s), Publisher, Year, Page range of entry.

Here are some examples:

       1. Harris, Muriel. “Talk to Me: Engaging Reluctant Writers.” A Tutor’s Guide: Helping Writers One to One, edited by Ben Rafoth, Heinemann, 2000, pp. 24-34.

       2. Swanson, Gunnar. “Graphic Design Education as a Liberal Art: Design and Knowledge in the University and The ‘Real World.'” The Education of a Graphic Designer, edited by Steven Heller, Allworth Press, 1998, pp. 13-24.

       Note on Cross-referencing Several Items from One Anthology: If you cite more than one essay from the same edited collection, MLA indicates you may cross-reference within your works cited list in order to avoid writing out the publishing information for each separate essay. You should consider this option if you have several references from a single text. To do so, include a separate entry for the entire collection listed by the editor’s name as below:

       Rose, Shirley K., and Irwin Weiser, editors. The Writing Program Administrator as Researcher. Heinemann, 1999.

Then, for each individual essay from the collection, list the author’s name in last name, first name format, the title of the essay, the editor’s last name, and the page range:

       1. L’Eplattenier, Barbara. “Finding Ourselves in the Past: An Argument for Historical Work on WPAs.” Rose and Weiser, pp. 131-40.

      2. Peeples, Tim. “‘Seeing’ the WPA With/Through Postmodern Mapping.” Rose and Weiser, pp. 153-67.

Please note: When cross-referencing items in the works cited list, alphabetical order should be maintained for the entire list.

To cite the entire anthology or collection, list by editor(s) followed by a comma and “editor” or, for multiple editors, “editors.” This sort of entry is somewhat rare. A couple of examples:

       1. Hill, Charles A., and Marguerite Helmers, editors. Defining Visual Rhetorics. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004.

      2. Peterson, Nancy J., editor. Toni Morrison: Critical and Theoretical Approaches. Johns Hopkins UP, 1997.

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