Milton's "Paradise Lost" is one of the classic poems of English literature. If you quote from it in your term paper, it is imperative that you let your reader know where in the poem to find the lines to which you are referring. The Modern Language Association provides specific guidelines for the citation of "Paradise Lost." Because the work appears in so many different editions, you should cite specific lines instead of using the traditional MLA author-page number format.

Alert your reader in the text that you are citing Milton's "Paradise Lost." Be sure to italicize the title in the text; even though "Paradise Lost" is poetry, it is considered a major work.

List the number of the book you are citing, and the number of the line. These should be enclosed in parentheses and separated by a period. For example:


If you are quoting more than one line, provide the range. For example:


Position your citation directly after the quote. Your citation should fall outside of the quotation marks, but should precede the period at the end of your quote. For example:

In Milton's Paradise Lost, the angel Gabriel states that "Providence may e'er / be undone righteously" (2.19-20).

Related Articles