In an MLA format humanities essay, if you've quoted a long chunk of text at the beginning, do you need to provide page references when citing phrases from it later on?

  • 1
    How much later would you be citing phrases from it (eg next paragraph or 10 pages later)? – gman Sep 15 '14 at 19:43
  • The essay is primarily a close reading of a 300 word piece of text (which I include in its entirety at the beginning due to its obscurity), so I'm quoting phrases throughout the whole 9000 word essay. I would say that it's mostly explicit when I refer back to this primary source. – ClareGS Sep 15 '14 at 19:47
  • Isn't your citation tool handling this for you? – Bill Barth Sep 15 '14 at 22:24

The guiding principle for citation is always clarity and unambiguity of communication. Thus, for example, if you have a direct reference nearby, no citation is needed:

From the above quote, we see the phrase "like bananas for monkeys" is a clear reference to Shakespeare.

but if there is an intervening gap or other citations, then you should cite it as originally. In the particular case for this question, where the entire essay is focused on a single fairly short piece of text, it seems that the reference is likely to continue to be quite clear, as long as the prose continues to make the link clear, as in my example, and thus no explicit repeated citations would likely be necessary.

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