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Friday, March 6, 2015

No help from the handbooks

It's not often I encounter something in MLA documentation systems that I don't know how to handle, and on the rare occasions when I have any lack of certainty, I can generally find exactly what I need either through the Purdue OWL (don't we love Purdue?) or through one of my print MLA guides. However, here's one that has me stymied (and yes, I'd love it if any of my faithful readers can provide an answer: please use the comments function if you can, or if not, send me an e-mail). In a portion of a critical essay that I want to quote, the author has used parenthetical citations for the works he's referring to. It looks weird to me to have his citations in what I'm quoting, but I don't know if I'm allowed so silently leave them out, or if I should leave them there, or use ellipses to indicate that I've omitted something... and the style manuals are silent. I'm not quoting his sources: this doesn't fall under the rules of indirect quotation. (That, I know how to do.) I have silently eliminated footnotes from other things I've quoted, which tends to lead me to believe I can do the same with parenthetical references, but I'm honestly not sure. And this is actually something that I'd like to know for my students' benefit as well as my own: they encounter this situation frequently, and I'd like to be able to give them definitive advice.

Well, setting all that aside: I'm actually rather proud of myself. Of course, I will always, always, wish I'd gotten more done, but I'm glad I managed to do anything at all today: I've been fighting a monster headache all day (not to mention the time I lost out of the day to shoveling, again). When I sat down at the computer, I told myself I could work on anything at all, didn't matter what, just something--and rather to my surprise, I was completely content to whack through a few more critical essays, as well as noodling around a bit on the themes chapter.

So, yay for me.

But this is going to be yet another brief post: I want to get out for a good walk before the sun goes down. It's cold but gloriously bright out there, but the day is definitely drawing to a close. I'm thrilled to note not only the length of days (o happy approaching equinox!) but the northward shift of the sun: it's now shining full in my living room window, so much so that I have to shift my position on the couch so it isn't glaring in my eyes. That's a good "problem" to have. Yes, I admit, I feel a wave of the "my sabbatical is almost over" panic (it isn't, of course, but it sure feels that way), but mostly I'm just going to relish the approach of spring, and a hope for a corresponding lift of my spirits and energy. Yesterday was a tough one, on all levels, so I'm very happy to celebrate a day that falls on the "all systems fine" side of the spectrum.

Now, off I go, snow booted and parka coated. Tomorrow may be all about life maintenance; I highly doubt I'll get any work in at all, so I'll hope to be back to working (and blogging) on Sunday.

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