Julie Vest - The Norton Anthology in MLA Format

Citing and Integrating Quotes from the Norton Anthology of English Literature
Honors Option Spring 2010 by Julie Vest


The Norton Anthology of English Literature has become a popular source of English literature for college English classes.   It seems important, therefore, that students feel comfortable citing and incorporating quotes from works found in the Norton Anthology into their writing. 

The Norton Anthology of English Literature first appeared in 1962, and a new edition is published on a six year interval.  The ninth edition is due in 2012, which means it is just as important to know how to find the information as to know how to cite the anthology.


Many literature classes will use MLA format, which is the reason the citation outlines I have provided below use MLA format.  When citing the Norton Anthology, one can cite either:


1.      The entire anthology or collection (this is rarely used)

a.    Last name editor, First name editor and First name Last name, eds. Title of the Anthology.  Publication Place: Publisher, Date of Publication.  Print. 


2.      A work in the Norton Anthology (often used because when citing a work in the anthology, you’re citing a piece taken from another book or collection)


a.    To cite an essay or short poem use this format: 

Last name, First name.  “Title of Essay.”  Title of Collection. Edition.  Editor’s Name(s).  Place of Publication:  Publisher, Year. Page range of entry. Medium of Publication.


b.    To cite a long poem, play, or excerpt from a novel use this format:

Last name, First name.  Title.  Title of Collection. Edition.  Editor’s Name(s).  Place of Publication:  Publisher, Year. Page range of entry. Medium of Publication.


* Please see the last page for the location of what goes into a citation


3. In text citation should resemble: (Author/Poet #)

a. The Author or Poet refers to the author or poet of the work inside the anthology you’re citing

b. The number should be the line number if the piece you’re citing is a poem, and the number is the page number if you’re citing excerpts from a novel, or a long play.

Adapted from: Owl Purdue Online Writing Lab

 (excellent site that shows how to cite books)
 (excellent site on in-text citations)

Unique Citations

1. Beowulf

·         Since Beowulf is an anonymous piece of literature,

o   Beowulf is the first word that appears in the citation, and the citation is alphabetized according to the spelling of Beowulf.

o   The in-text citation will resemble (Beowulf #) when the in-text citation would usually resemble (author #).

·         Since Beowulf is a poem but published as a book when on its own,

o   Beowulf is italicized like a book in the citation rather than placing the title in quotation marks the way one would a poem.

o   Since Beowulf is a poem, the in-text citation (Beowulf #) uses the line number like a poem rather than the page number usually used for a book or essay. 

·         Since Beowulf is a work in the Norton Anthology,

o   The publication information in the citation comes from the anthology rather than from than from the novel Beowulf.


2. Any of the author’s biographies in the anthologies

·         Since the biography counts as an article / essay, the author biographies should be treated as though you’re citing a work from an anthology.

o   The author’s name should become the title of the work being cited, and since it is an essay the title should be place within quotation marks. Ex. “John Keats”

o   The author(s) of the biographical essay are the editors for that particular volume of the anthology.

o   Everything for the publication information should remain the same.

3.  Clarification on Lord Byron

·         On the top of the page for what many call Lord Byron’s poetry, is the name George Gordon, Lord Byron. 

o   George Gordon is Lord Byron’s actual name.  Thus, his real name should be used for a citation.

4. Any of the summaries of pieces of artwork

·         For the artwork, just refer to the piece of art and the artist

·         However for the summary about the art use the work in an anthology template, but replace the title of the work with the title of the artwork, and the volume editors as authors of the work in the anthology. 









Citing using Citation Machines

Students often try using citation machines online to cite the Norton Anthology.  However, it is hard for students to judge whether the citation is correct unless one knows what information belongs in the citation in the first place, so here are some evaluations and tips on how to most efficiently use citation machines.  Although citation machines have some unique functions, it is almost simpler to follow the template above.


These tips are based on the assumption that the citations are for selected works within the anthology rather than the entire anthology.  The citation machines listed below are three of the most accurate citation machines for anthologies. 



Overall Evaluation:

·         This is the most clear online citation machine I have seen, and the most detailed at the same time.  It is a very useful tool.  If you do everything correctly, it should come out perfectly.

·         However, the explanations may explain what to include / exclude, but they don’t always tell you where to find the information in the anthology. Please see pg. 3 for a model.


Pros & Cons and Method for Making the Correct Citation:

·         The website requires registering with the site for continual use, which is a con.

·         To begin, select MLA format.

·         Choose Anthology/Book Collection when it asks for citation type.

·         It clarifies whether or not you’re citing a work in an anthology, the anthology itself, or a reprint/excerpt.  There’s a link above to explain each one, but most of the time students should select citing a work in an anthology.

·         It asks for publication medium (thus you can specify whether you’re using a web, print, etc. of the Norton Anthology).  For most students, this will be print.

·         It specifies fields for the “title of the entire anthology” and “title of the specific work,” and students should fill in both fields.

·         It even explains what you do if there’s a title within a title, so follow the instructions if this applies to your situation.

·         It specifies a field for the author of the specific work (reminds you to omit honorary titles or add additional authors), so follow the instructions.

·         It specifies a field for the inclusive page numbers of the entire work within the anthology, which should be filled in for the citation (However, DO NOT use the inclusive page numbers for in-text citations)

·         It asks whether this is a long poem or play that would be published independently, which is so it can decide whether or not to italicize the title of the work in the anthology. 
Answer the question accordingly.

·         It asks for Publication city of the anthology, Publisher of the anthology, Publication Year of the Anthology and provides instructions on each [Ex. for the Publisher of the Anthology a box reminds you to omit articles (A, An, The), business abbreviations (Co., Corp.,Inc., and Ltd.), and descriptive words (Books, House, Pres, Publishers) with the exception of citing a university press, use the abbreviation UP to distinguish from a publication of the University (U)].  Follow these amazing instructions and the model for where to get the information on page 3, and it should be perfect.

·         It includes spaces for the additional information listed and explanations of each: Year of the original publication, Edition, Total number of Volumes, Volume Number, Series Name, Series Number, Editor(s) of anthology, Compiler(s) of anthology, Translators of both the specific work and anthology, and author of the anthology.  Fill out the fields with the information available, but if some information is not available for that particular anthology do not fill in the blank.

·         It also includes an annotation box for annotation bibliographies, which is great if you’re doing an annotated bibliography.  However, for most Works Cited Pages, annotation is not used.



Overall Evaluation:

·         The major negative with this website is that unless you are aware of what needs to be placed into the fields, it is very easy to leave out information or insert incorrect information into a field because it does not offer up any explanations for each of the fields.  Thus, it does not tell you where the information could be found or what to do in case a selected work lacks some information.

·          However, it has some additional features to help with the Works Cited page. 

·         If you read pages 1 – 3 of this document and look at some of the outlined confusing factors it is possible to correctly cite a selected work from the anthology using this citation machine.


Pros & Cons and Method for Making the Correct Citation:

·         Choose MLA format

·         Choose Chapter/Anthology.  When the screen with fields comes up, make sure that if you’re looking at either a website or online database version of the Norton Anthology to click the tabs at the bottom of the page, which will change the fields needed for the citation.

·         Major Negative: It allows you to supposedly auto-cite the anthology by typing in the ISBN number, but it doesn’t fill in every field and you have to select from multiple versions of your book, which makes citing very confusing and easy to miss something. Do auto-cite though as it gets you started.

·         Please note auto-cite doesn’t ask for the author of the specific work in the Norton Anthology, but it does fill in fields for the editors of the anthology under “source authors.” Change source author to source editors for the Norton Anthology!

·         In order for the citation to be correct after you use the ISBN number to auto-cite, you must go to the author list and scroll down to what is labeled “section author” then write the author of the selected work in the anthology.

·         You must also type in the title of the work in the anthology in the first field on top, the edition, series, volume, and page numbers.  Only then will the citation be complete.

·         There is a plus; it has a clearly labeled button if you wish to annotate for an annotated bibliography, but annotation is not used in a Works Cited Page.

·         Once you have entered all the fields you can also use a button labeled “sort order” on the bottom right-hand side of the page to organize the citations you have made alphabetically, ascending dates, or descending dates. This is a plus because when you insert these citations onto the MLA page they should be listed in alphabetical order, so click “alphabetically”. 

·         You can also format the list in word by clicking on the “format for word” button, which is a plus because usually if you just copy and paste it will be difficult to tab for the second line for each citation, but this button does this for you, so click this button.

·         There are also buttons for copy and paste, emailing it, and making a public URL, which are clearly identifiable and useful, but you don’t have to use it to make a correct citation.


Son of Citation Machine http://citationmachine.net/ )


Overall Evaluation:

·         In reality, this website is simpler than EasyBib since it is less confusing.  There are a few more pieces of information that need to be added on later in the word document.  It is also much better than EasyBib at clarifying what information goes in what field, but EasyBib has more features for easily making a Works Cited page.


Pros & Cons and Method for Making the Correct Citation:

·         Students should not use a button at the very beginning that supposedly cites the anthology based on the ISBN number, but if one inserts an ISBN number from one of the volumes, the auto-cite assumes it is a book rather than an anthology, so students should choose anthology from the left panel.

·         Select MLA from the left hand Panel

·         Underneath the word MLA on the left hand panel is a list of print sources to cite books, encyclopedias, etc.  However, this list is very simplified, so click the word “more” found directly under the subtitle MLA. Click on “Anthology or Compilation (including textbook).” 

·         Fill in all of the fields provided.

·         One major plus is that it distinguishes in red underneath the field of author between the author of the “work included in the anthology” and author of the entire anthology.  It also distinguishes in red under the field of title that it is asking for the “work included in the anthology” not the title of the anthology.  Then there is a clearly defined field for the title of the anthology.

·         However, there is not a distinction between putting quotation marks around the title of the selected work or italicizing the title of the selected work, so the student would need to make this distinction after copying and pasting the original citation to word.  If one puts the title in blank the machine automatically places the title in quotation marks.  This is good for the majority of the selected works of the anthology, but not all.

·         Another plus: It makes the distinction between editing and compiling (Students should choose editing).

·         However, one negative aspect of this citation machine especially in the case of the Norton Anthology is that there are not spaces for multiple editors.  Students would have to add the additional editors after copying and pasting the original citation to a word document.

·         The Publishing City, Publishing Company, and Year of Publication do not offer the wonderful explanations offered in NoodleBib Express., so plug in information off from earlier diagrams.

·         Another negative is that it does not have a field for page numbers of the selected work from the anthology, so students will need to add the page numbers at the end of their citation in word in addition to the additional editors.

·         Another positive is that it includes in-text citations and shows the correct format for them.  However, the number in the in-text citation (Author of selected work #) changes depending on which page or line number the person takes the quote.  The fields provided on this website make it seem as though you put the page numbers that are inclusive for the whole selected work and use that over and over, but that is not the case. The page number or line number is only for the page on which the quote was found.

·         Another negative is that it lacks fields for volume number and edition, so students need to add those to the final citation.


Integration of Quotes
            Now that we have learned how to make citations for the Works Cited Page and in-text citations, let’s briefly look at how to integrate quotes from a work in the Norton Anthology into an essay. 
·         Quotes should not be “dropped” into a page, which means quotes should not be placed as a sentence standing on their own.  Instead, the quote should be a part of the writer’s sentence without any noticeable breaks.  That is the essence of a “smooth” transition.
o   Example “Smooth” Transition: The speaker realizes, “Talking in bed ought to be easiest, / Lying together there goes back so far, / An emblem of two people being honest,” yet he knows that he and his wife let the silence stretch between them (Larkin 2569).
o   Example “Dropping” a Quote:  The speaker realizes couples should talk at night but he and his wife do not.  “Talking in bed ought to be easiest, / Lying together there goes back so far, / An emblem of two people being honest” (Larkin 2569).
·         There are a couple ways to help make “smooth” transitions:

o   Change or add words for better clarity:

§  Original: The clod seems selfless when he says, “Love seeketh not Itself to please, Nor for itself hath and care” (Blake 89).

§  Change: The clod seems selfless when he says, “Love seeketh [seeks] not Itself to please, Nor for itself hath and care” (Blake 89).

o   Add ellipses {…} to leave out certain words or phrases

§  Original: Anna Barbauld once taught, “In Nature’s school, by her soft maxim’s taught, / That separate rights are lost in mutual love” (Barbauld 31). 

§  Change: Anna Barbauld once taught, “In Nature’s school...separate rights are lost in mutual love” (Barbauld 31).

·         After incorporating a quote into one’s own words, a person then must follow the quote with analysis.  This analysis usually explains why this quote supports the writer’s point. 

o   The clod seems selfless when he says, “Love seeketh [seeks] not Itself to please, Nor for itself hath and care” (Blake 89).  The clod believes people who love others do not aim to please themselves, but a cow also steps on and smashes the clod.  Therefore, the metaphorical image of the clod reveals that people who selflessly love others end up hurt themselves. 



*please note that it would be plagiarism to use of any of these examples in your own essay and all of these examples come from the Norton Anthology of English Literature.