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I wish to cite an editor's footnotes in an annotated copy of Milton's Paradise Lost. I have no idea how to go about this. I'm not sure what either the in-text or complete citation look like. The citation for the book is below, so all the relevant information about the book is at your disposal.

Milton, John. Paradise Lost. Ed. Kerrigan, William et al. New York: Random House, 2007. Print.

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closed as too localized by FumbleFingers, simchona, kiamlaluno, MrHen, Marthaª Nov 23 '11 at 20:06

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I don't understand this question. Are you asking how to typeset an in-line acknowledgement of a footnote made by Kerrigan, William et al, which footnote you've quoted in your own work? If that's the case, and you're using your above form when citing Milton's actual text from the book, just use that, and prepend Editors' footnotes. You'll have to pluralise like that, since you've presumably got no idea which editor wrote each footnote. –  FumbleFingers Nov 19 '11 at 2:25
This type of question has previously been deemed off-topic, with the suggestion to try Writers.SE instead. (I'll note that I don't think this is too localized, but three of the five people who voted to close it did, so that's the reason that "won".) –  Marthaª Nov 23 '11 at 20:11

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

First you need to determine how the Works Cited entry will appear. This depends on whether your paper will predominantly reference passages by Milton or alternatively notes (or other material) added by the editors. If the former, then what you gave is about right:

Milton, John. Paradise Lost. Eds. William Kerrigan et al. New York: Random House, 2007.

If on the other hand you mainly are citing the editors' comments, then the Works Cited entry should be under the editor's name:

Kerrigan, William, et al., eds. Paradise Lost. By John Milton. New York: Random House, 2007.

The in-text citation will depend a bit on this too. In the predominately-editor case, the initial reference to the work, in keeping with MLA style, uses the editor's name in text and omits it in the parentheses which give the page number of the footnote:

Kerrigan et al. observe that blah, blah, blah (107).

I'm not sure if the MLA has rules about citing that the location is in a footnote; in this context I don't think it's necessary to have the citation give that detail since you are citing generally the editor and not the underlying author.

On the other hand, if you are citing Milton mostly and the editor material is incidental, you should probably include that detail, as:

This couplet is ambiguous, though; Kerrigan et al. observe that blah, blah, blah (Milton 107 note).

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Note: I just looked up that work and found it has three editors. MLA style avoids et al. in this case and lists all three editors explicitly. Four or more use et al. –  mgkrebbs Nov 22 '11 at 4:57

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