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While writing a literary criticism essay on Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, I cited another critique that quoted the novel itself. Within the outline I submitted to the teacher, the entire quote was this:

" “In contrast to the dusty, hot, stifling, and crowded city, a fitting setting for Raskolnikov's oppressive and murderous thoughts, we find, for example, "the greenness and the freshness" of the Petersburg islands (Dostoevsky 53) … The natural surroundings reawakened in him the feelings of his youth, through which he came close to avoiding his crime and to finding regeneration without having to pass through the cycle of crime and punishment” (Gibian).

The "Dost...53" is the page number for the quotation from the novel, but it was not part of the original statement from Gibian, who (as far as I can tell) either never cited that quote or the citations were not attached for the online catalogue I found his critique in. The teacher made it explicitly clear that the page numbers for those kinds of quotes are required, so I put the "Dost...53" there and she had no complaints. On having a peer review my essay however, they seemed to think that the in-text citation for that page number should go elsewhere, but did not clarify. How am I supposed to cite this in accordance with the MLA style?

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  • data.grammarbook.com/blog/commas/…; Does it help?
    – Ram Pillai
    Apr 20, 2020 at 6:55
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    Generally, you put things you've added to quotes in square brackets. See this webpage. So I would add [Dostoevsky 53] in square brackets. I'm not making this an answer because I don't know what the MLA style suggests. Oct 17, 2020 at 16:08
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    I'm not sure what the MLA recommends but an alternative would be not to reference the quote-within-a-quote right after it but put "(Gibian, quoting Dostoevsky 53)" at the end. This is where a footnote style of citation comes in handy because you can put details in the footnote without breaking up the flow.
    – Stuart F
    Jun 14, 2021 at 21:23

2 Answers 2

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“In contrast to the dusty, hot, stifling, and crowded city, a fitting setting for Raskolnikov's oppressive and murderous thoughts, we find, for example, 'the greenness and the freshness' of the Petersburg islands [Dostoevsky 53]. The natural surroundings reawakened in him the feelings of his youth, through which he came close to avoiding his crime and to finding regeneration without having to pass through the cycle of crime and punishment” (Gibian).

This is not an answer. Just a suggestion. I could not work out your punctuation until I put it in.

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  • Just cut and repaste if you want to show something else.
    – Lambie
    Jun 14, 2021 at 20:23
  • I think you're saying to set editorial insertions in the quote within square brackets (which is a standard practice); it would be helpful actually to say what you've done, for a general case. But if this is not answer, then it may all be moot.
    – Andrew Leach
    Jun 14, 2021 at 20:29
  • @AndrewLeach Just go in there and make the change. Either where I posted or repost it below. As you like.
    – Lambie
    Jun 14, 2021 at 21:01
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I visited the site suggested by @Ram Pillai. It suggests that you use single quotes around the quote from the novel. My experience studying literature in graduate school, where we were required to use MLA style, corroborates this.

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    I think I understand how to place the quote from the novel itself within the quote from the critique, but I am still unsure as to where the page number for the novel quote is supposed to go.
    – user381965
    Apr 20, 2020 at 14:10

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