21L.011 - The Film Experience
Prof. David Thorburn
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A note about plagiarism
Plagiarism -- use of another's intellectual work without acknowledgement -- is a serious offense. It is the policy of the Literature Faculty that students who plagiarize will receive an F in the subject, and that the 
instructor will forward the case to the Committee on Discipline. Full acknowledgement for all information obtained from sources outside the classroom must be clearly stated in all written work. All ideas, arguments, and direct phrasings taken from someone else's work must be identified and properly footnoted. Quotations from other sources must be clearly marked as distinct from the student's own work.

If you borrow another person’s phrasing, that material must be enclosed in quotation marks.  If you use ideas conceived by others but reformulate them in your own prose, then you must acknowledge your collaboration in one of two ways: explicit acknowledgment in the body of your text (“As Lionel Trilling argues in his introduction to Pride and Prejudice, . . .”) or in a footnote fully citing your source.

For further guidance on the proper forms of attribution consult the style guides available in the Writing and Communication Center, 14N317, and the MIT Website on plagiarism located at: http://web.mit.edu/writing/Special/plagiarism.html.

Citations, footnotes
There are many accepted formats for citations and footnotes. I prefer the following simple principles.

Italicize (or underline) titles of books, plays or feature films; use quotation marks to indicate titles of poems, stories or articles. Novellas or long stories that have been published in individual bindings are italicized as if they were full-length texts. So: Conrad's short story "Youth" is placed in quotation marks as is Yeats' poem "The Second Coming," but Heart of Darkness (a novella), Lord Jim (a novel) and Modern Times (a feature film) are italicized.

Use parenthetic citations instead of footnotes wherever possible. For instance, in citing quoted passages from the primary text under discussion, the first reference should include full title, place and date of publication, and a page citation; thereafter, only the page citation is necessary. Eg: (Heart of Darkness, London, 1898, p. 6). In the next citation: (p. 8). Note that the period concluding the sentence goes outside the parenthesis citing the page number(s).

An alternative to this practice: the first reference to the text can be footnoted, which note can include the remark "Subsequent parenthetic references are to this edition."

If you cite secondary works in footnotes, use the following format: David Thorburn, Conrad's Romanticism (New Haven, 1974), p. 17. Note that publisher is not required.

MOST IMPORTANT: Do not repeat information unnecessarily. For example, if your text reads "As David Thorburn suggests, .....," then the footnote should not repeat the author's name; if you also mention the book title in your text, then the footnote should include only the place and date of publication and the page number.

Formatting quotations: When quoting material, integrate the quoted passage into the body of your own text using quotation marks if the passage is not longer than four lines. If the passage is longer than four lines, indent an extra five spaces left and right, forgo the quotation marks, and use single spacing.

Use an ellipsis (three spaced dots) to indicate omitted material. If the omission begins after a complete sentence, retain the original period and then introduce the ellipsis.

Use square brackets [ ] to indicate your additions or changes in the original material.

Examples below.

Quoted passage integrated into your text:

        The Shadow Line repeatedly dramatizes scenes of tense conversation and even verbal coercion between the young protagonist and a series of older figures. As David Thorburn writes, "Though all his people are orphans, Conrad remains one of the great portrayers of the anguished impotence of fatherhood. One of his defining subjects is maturity's useless generosity toward the young."¹

Extended quotation, separated by indentation from your text:

        André Bazin, in his essay “The Myth of Total Cinema,” argues that a silent cinema was never what the inventors of the film medium had in mind:

        The guiding myth, then, inspiring the invention of cinema, is the accomplishment of that which dominated in a more or less vague fashion all the techniques of the mechanical reproduction of reality in the nineteenth century, from photography to the phonograph, namely an integral realism, a recreation of the world in its own image …. It is understandable from this point of view that it would be absurd to take the silent film as a stage of primal perfection which has gradually been forsaken by the realism of sound and color. The primacy of the image is both historically and technically accidental.²

¹ Conrad's Romanticism (New Haven, 1974), p. 45.

² What Is Cinema? (Berkeley & Los Angeles, 1967), p. 21. Essay firsdt published in french in 1946. English translation by Hugh Gray.