Selections from Books
Citing Books in MLA Style
Remember that entries in the Works Cited list are listed alphabetically
by author. This page deals with whole books only; there is
another page for encyclopedias and dictionaries
and selections from anthologies.
The components of a Works Cited list entry for a book, listed in
the proper order:
the first (or only) author, first include the author's
last name, followed by a comma, followed by the author's
first name. [Example]
If the author's name has already been
listed on the Works Cited page, do not list it again.
Instead, use "---" for all works other than
the first. List all the works by an author alphabetically
by title. [Example]
For two or three authors, list
the authors in the order in which they appear on the title
page. Do not reverse the names of authors other
than the first. Follow each author's name with a
comma and precede the last author with "and."
For four or more authors, either
list all the authors as with two or three authors, or
cite only the first author listed on the title page, followed
by ", et. al." [Example]
If the book is a corporate or institutional
publication, give the name of the corporation or institution
as the author. [Example]
- If there is no author, but an editor or editors instead,
list the editor(s), followed by "ed." or "eds."
- If the work is anonymous, start the citation with
the title (and alphabetize it based on the title.)
- Italicize or underline the
title of the book. [Example]
- If there is a title within the title, do not italicize
or underline the shorter title. If the shorter title
is usually within quotation marks, retain the quotation
- If you underline, do not underline the period
that follows, unless it is placed within quotation marks.
- Click here for notes on
- If the book has both author(s)
and editor(s), include the name of the editor(s), preceded
by "Ed." or "Eds." [Example]
- If the book is a translation, write "Trans."
followed by the name of the translator. [Example]
- For an edition other than the
first, include the number of the edition followed by
- Use a digit for the edition number, as in "5th.
ed." or "3rd. ed." or "10th ed."
- If this book is a republished edition, include
the original year of publication in YYYY format. [Example]
(Only one, i.e. don't write "5th ed..")
- If you use only one volume of
a series, include "Vol. n of" and the
name of the series. Also include the number of volumes
in the series, followed by "vols." [Example]
- If the book is a multivolume work, include the
number of volumes, followed by "vols." [Example]
- If the book is part of a series, include the series
name, "Ser." and the series number. [Example]
- Include the city of publication.
- If the city is not well-known or could be confused
with another city, follow the city name with a comma, a
space, and the state. Use the postal state
abbreviations (two capital letters, no periods.)
- If the place of publication is not given (and you cannot
find it after a serious attempt), write "n.p."
- The publication place is usually found on the title page
of the book. If there are several listed, give
only the first city.
- Include the publisher's name.
- Shorten the publisher's name to only the
last name (e.g., Knopf for Alfred Knopf).
If the name includes more than one person, use only the
last name of the first person. [Example]
- Abbreviate University Press as "UP" (without
- If the book was published by an imprint of a company,
give the name of the imprint, followed by a hyphen (-) and
the publisher's name. [Example]
- If the publisher is not given, write "n.p."
- The publisher is usually found on the title page of the
- Include the four-digit year of
publication. If a range is given, use the range with
a hyphen between years. [Example]
- If the date of publication is not given, write
- The publication date is usually found on the back the
title page of the book.
Read the Notes on punctuation and spacing
and on italicization and underlining.
Citation Examples (from The Ready Reference
American Friends Service Committee. Who Shall Live? New York: Hill, 1970.
Blotner, Joseph. Faulkner: A Biography. 2 vols. New York: Random, 1976.
Camus, Albert. The Stranger. Trans. Matthew Ward. New York: Knopf, 1988.
Durell, Lawrence. Mountolive. New York: Dutton, 1959. Vol. 3 of The Alexandria
Quartet. 4 vols. 1957-1960.
Finch, Robert, and John Elder, eds. The Norton Book of Nature Writing. 2nd ed.
New York: Norton, 1990.
Fogel, Robert William, and G. R. Elton. Which Road to the Past: Two Views of
History. New Haven: Yale UP, 1983.
Frampton, Merle E., et al. Forgotten Children. Boston: Sargent, 1968.
Golden, Catherine, ed. The Captive Imagination: A Casebook on "The Yellow
Wall-Paper." New York: Feminist, 1992.
Howard, Lillie. Zora Neale Hurston. Twayne's United States Author Ser. 381.
Boston: Twayne, 1980.
Lane, Ann J., ed. The Charlotte Perkins Gillman Reader: "The Yellow
Wallpaper" and Other Fiction. New York: Pantheon, 1980.
---. To "Herland" amd Beyond: The Life and Work of Charlotte Perkins Gillman.
New York: Pantheon, 1979.
Orwell, George. 1984. Ed. Erich Fromm. New York: Harcourt, 1949.
Roberts, Elizabeth Madox. The Time of Man. 1926. Lexington: UP of Kentucky,
Ruland, Richard, ed. Twentieth Century Interpretations of Walden. Englewood
Cliffs, NJ: Prentice, 1968.
Selzer, Richard. Mortal Lessons. New York: Touchstone-Simon, 1976.
Tuchman, Barbara. A Distant Mirror. New York: Knopf, 1978.
Which Road to the Past: Two Views of History. New Haven: Yale UP, 1983.