Reading literary criticism can help us learn new perspectives on our favourite books. Also, it gives us new insights into the works of lesser-known authors we just discovered. Citing a literary criticism can seem like an intimidating task. But, when you break down the basic elements of citing the source, it’s not that difficult to do it correctly.

Citing literary criticism will help you understand where your ideas are coming from and how to give credit to the authors who influenced your thinking or argument. MLA and APA are the two main citation styles for citing literary criticism. Both of these styles use the same general structure, though they differ slightly in formatting details.

How to Cite References in Text

As the writer, you will want to include any references you cite in your manuscript. If you cite an item and don’t give its author or title, your professor or reader won’t be able to look it up. The simplest way to include citations is by having one (or more) at the end of each paragraph where you mention items written about in other sources. 

This way, your source will still be cited even if it’s mentioned and not explored in detail in that paragraph. A full citation should list all the information required to locate the text. Your own name can also come before any texts as they are cited within your own work. Remember that some publishers use different formats for their bibliographies. 

However, MLA is usually used as standard formatting for papers. It is important to note that there are no spaces between paragraphs when citing works cited. For example, this entire sentence belongs to the next paragraph. There are two ways of citing books-within-texts: 

  1. If the book is only mentioned and not discussed in depth in the text, it should be italicized.
  2. If the book is being discussed or critiqued extensively, do not italicize it but use Author, Year. You should also include page numbers whenever possible. Books are always italicized and follow this format: Author, year of publication.

Example from Literature

If you are a student of literature and you intend to cite reference in your article based on literary theory, you should cite in the following way.

  1. Eagleton, Terry. Literary Theory: An Introduction. John Wiley & Sons, 2011.
  2. Selden, Raman, Peter Widdowson, and Peter Brooker. A Reader’s Guide to Contemporary Literary Theory. Routledge, 2013.
  3. Hawthorn, Jeremy. A Concise Glossary of Contemporary Literary Theory. London: Edward Arnold, 1992.

If you are doing research on any work and you need to cite reference of any novel or book, you will follow the following pattern.

  1. Lee, Harper. 2010. To Kill A Mockingbird. London, England: Arrow Books.
  2. MLA. Heller, Joseph, 1798-1849. Catch-22, a Novel. New York :The Modern library, 1961.
  3. Coelho, P. (1995). The alchemist. Thorsons.

Suppose you have to provide citations in both footnotes and parenthetical citations at appropriate points in your text. The format of such citations would depend on the academic style manual that you are following, which includes Chicago (13th ed.), APA (6th ed.), and MLA (7th ed.) style manuals.

Provide references in notes or endnotes rather than as part of the body of the text. Notes should include complete details about sources so readers can follow up on sources if needed.

This format will cite the author of a work published after 1975. If no date is known or before 1975, put n.d. for no date. 

Brown v. Board of Education 347 U.S. 483 n.d.).

How to Cite Text of the Article

Let’s say you want to cite that quote from Virginia Woolf in your project on To The Lighthouse. You would include it under Primary Source, Journal articles, and then input where you found the quote. When it comes to citing a scholarly journal for books, as with everything else, there are different ways to do this. 

You’ll want to determine which style (APA or MLA) your professor wants you to use and follow those guidelines accordingly. The most important thing about citations is not how much detail you can cram in but making sure you have some.

Note: If you have to add an appendix to your work, follow the following style. APA Style Guide, 1st ed. (2017). Cited. The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed., Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Website Name (year) Title of Website Accessed (date), website content Retrieved from URL.

Suggested Readings

What Did Shakespeare Name His Only Son?

Russian Formalism as a Literary Theory