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Quotation from prose
If a prose quotation is no more than four lines and does not require special emphasis, put it in quotation marks and incorporate it into the text. Include the page number(s) in brackets.
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," wrote Charles Dickens of the eighteenth century (5).
Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities. Ed. Richard Maxwell. London: Penguin Classics, 2003. Print.
If a quotation is longer than four lines, set if off from your text by beginning a new line, indenting one inch from the left margin, and typing it double-spaced, without adding quotation marks. Introduce the quotation with a colon. Place the parenthetical reference after the last line. For example, John Corner in his book, The Art of Record: A Critical Introduction to Documentary, refers to Brian Winston's revaluation of the documentary tradition in the writings of John Grierson.
Winston's reassessment of Grierson finds the play-off between creativity and realness unconvincing:
Grierson's taxonomic triumph was to make his particular species
of non-fiction film, the non-fiction genre while at the same time
allowing the films to use the significant fictionalising technique
of dramatisation. (Winston 103)
This is a usefully provocative point, though agreement with it will largely rest on certain, contestable ideas about 'fictionalisation' and 'dramatisation'. The issue is dealt with directly in Chapter Two, as part of considering the debate around drama-documentary forms, and it occurs in relation to specific works throughout this book.
Corner, John. The Art of Record: A Critical Introduction to Documentary. Manchester: Manchester UP, 1996. Print.
Quotations from poetry
Quotations from poetry from part of a line up to 3 lines in length, which do not need particular emphasis, may be added, placed in quotation marks, within your text as part of a sentence. Use a slash with a space either side ( / ) to indicate a new line of poetry. Place the page numbers in parentheses before the full-stop.
e.g. More's distress that she had not written about the problems of the slave trade earlier are expressed in the poem: "Whene'er to Afric's shores I turn my eyes, / Horrors of deepest, deadliest guilt arise" (111-112).
Feldman, Paula R. ed. British Women Poets of the Romantic Era: An Anthology. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins UP, 1997. Print.
Quotations from poetry over 3 lines in length:
Quotations from a play
If you quote the lines of more than one actor or if the piece you are quoting is long, the quotation should not be integrated into your text. The rules in MLA for presenting this text are:
Indirect quotation from a source within a source
Where a quotation is less than four lines, use quotation marks and incorporate it into the text. In the following example, the author of A Heart at Fire's Center: The Life and Music of Bernard Hermann quotes one Hitchcock biographer, Donald Spoto (Smith 192).
Together, noted Hitchcock biographer Donald Spoto, the two men shared "a dark, tragic sense of life, a brooding view of human relationships and a compulsion to explore aesthetically the private world of the romantic fantasy" (381).
The parenthetical reference refers to the page in the book where the quotation is found. The book is listed in the bibliography as follows:
Spoto, Donald. The Dark Side of Genius: The Life of Alfred Hitchcock. Boston: Little, 1983. Print.
Smith, Steven C. A Heart at Fire's Center: The Life and Music of Bernard Hermann. California: U of California P, 1991. Print.
Wherever possible, use material from the original source rather than from a secondhand one. In some instances however, an indirect source may be the only available source, for example, a published account of another person's spoken remarks. If what you quote or paraphrase is itself a quotation, put the abbreviation qtd. in ("quoted in") before the indirect source you cite in your parenthetical reference.
e.g. Samuel Johnson admitted that Edmund Burke was an "extraordinary man" (qtd. in Boswell 2: 450).
In your "Works Cited" list, include the source you quoted from.
Boswell, James. The Life of Johnson. Ed. George Birbeck Hill and L. F. Powell. 6 vols. Oxford, Clarendon, 1934-50. Print.
For more information, see 6.4.7 of the MLA Handbook.