Specifically, in a scholarly paper on philosophy of math I want to mention Mo Yan’s novel Red Sorghum Clan. It is just as an example of literature, not quoted and not used for any specific purpose.
Suppose I were to say:
Think of any famous play, say Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
would I need a citation to some edition of that play?
Of course if I wanted to refer to a particular edition of any novel or play I would have to cite it. And if I were offering a statistical analysis of language in the novel I would have to cite a particular edition. But I am not doing those things.
When I look at the text, saying “Mo Yan’s Red Sorghum Clan (1986)” looks ridiculously stuffy to me. This is no journal article or even an academic book. And as far as the practical issue of readers who want to find it, the title by itself will be far more helpful than any reference to a particular edition which the reader might or might not have any way of finding.
Or am I being ridiculous? Should I just make the citation?