Works Cited for Literature Essays
Every literature essay must have a Works Cited page as the last page(s) of the essay. On this page should appear any sources used during the writing process. If you are examining a work of literature, the citation for that work of literature should appear on the Works Cited page (primary source). There are not really any meaningful differences between Works Cited pages for regular MLA-style essays and literature essays. The one aspect slightly unique in literature essays is the difference between primary and secondary sources. The primary source in literature is going to be the work of literature itself which the essay focuses upon: for example, if a student is writing about “Bajadas" by Francisco Cantu, they will need to cite that as a primary source.
Example Works Cited entry for a Primary Source:
Cantú, Francisco. "Bajadas." Ploughshares, 2015. Reprinted in Writing and Critical Thinking Through Literature, eds. Heather Ringo and Athena Kashyap. Libretexts, 2019.
A secondary source is any literary criticism written about the primary source. So, for example, the following would be an example of a secondary source (literary criticism) about “Sonny’s Blues.”
Example Citation for a Secondary Source:
Bloom, Harold. Hamlet: Poem Unlimited. New York: Riverhead, 2003.
How to create a Works Cited entry for a text which appears in this anthology
For students using the online version of this textbook:
Authorlastname, Authorfirstname. “Title.” Original date of publication. Writing and Critical Thinking Through Literature, edited by Heather Ringo & Athena Kashyap, 2019. <URL of specific text> Accessed (Date Accessed).
For students using the print version of this textbook:
Authorlastname, Authorfirstname. “Title.” Original date of publication. Writing and Critical Thinking Through Literature edited by Heather Ringo & Athena Kashyap, 2019.
Basic Format for Works Cited Entries -- Shorter Works
Author Last Name, Author First Name. “Title of Short Work Such as Poem or Short Story.” Publication (Anthology or Longer Work). Publisher Name, Publication Date.
Basic Format for Works Cited Entries -- Longer Works
Author Last Name, Author First Name. Title of Long Work (Novel, Play, Book-length manuscript). Publisher Name, Publication Date.
Pro-tip: if retrieving Literary Criticism from an online archive, look for the “Cite” button, which should automatically generate a citation which students can copy and paste into their Works Cited page. There are also online citation tools available like Easybib, Noodletools, or CiteKnight. Whatever citation tool students use, they should make sure to double-check the citations against the information above, as often times the citations generated have errors. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure citations adhere to MLA requirements and specific to their reference work. Students may wish to consult the MLA official style guide.
Example of a Works Cited Page for a Literature Essay
Boehrer, Bruce Thomas. Animal Characters: Nonhuman Beings in Early Modern Literature, U of Pennsylvania P, 2010.
Cavendish, Margaret. “The Hunting of the Hare.” 1653. UC Press E-books Collection, publishing.cdlib. org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=kt7q2nc9xn&chunk. id=ss1.55&toc.depth=100&toc.id=ch09&brand=eschol. Accessed 3 October 2013.
Damrosch, David and Kevin J. H. Dettmar. “Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle.” The Longman Anthology: British Literature, edited by David Damrosch and Kevin J. H. Dettmar, Longman, 2010, pp. 2060-63.
Landry, Donna. “Green Languages? Women Poets as Naturalists in 1653 and 1807.” Huntington Library Quarterly, vol. 63, no.4, 2000, pp. 467-89. JSTOR. www.jstor.org/stable/3817613. Accessed 2 Oct. 2013.
Rees, Emma L.E. Margaret Cavendish: Gender, Genre, Exile. Manchester UP, 2003. EBSCOHost, libproxy. ung.edu/login?url=search.ebscohost.com/login. aspx? direct=true&db=mzh&AN=2004581244&site=e ds-live&scope=site. Accessed 8 Nov. 2013.
Salzman, Paul. Reading Early Modern Women’s Writing. Oxford UP, 2006.