Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Quoting Material from within Material

Sara asks this question:
How does one go about citing a source within a source? In "Pc or Not
Pc? That is the Question" written by Michael Major he cites William
Luta. How do I cite William Luta? The first time I cite would it be
William Luta cited in "Pc or Not Pc? That is the Question" by Michael
Major? And then what would it be the following times?

Well, essentially what we do is this: Introduce the original source (Michael Major) and explain to the reader that the original source is quoting from a source (Luta) that they (Major) have cited within their own text. It's a little daunting at first, but if you think about it, it's not that hard. I'll post an example from one of my own papers:
Ragan paraphrases Fredrick Asals, explaining that “her ‘prophetic vision’ is one of stark extremes: ‘all of her protagonists come to one variety or another of that agonizing crux, ‘Jesus or you’” (388).

Here you see that I have noted that Ragan is paraphrasing Fredrick Asals, and then I go about using the quote as it would be cited from Ragan's paper. But, there's another way to go about it. Note this:
Well, as O’Connor points out in Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose:
I have found that violence is strangely capable of returning my characters to reality and preparing them to accept their moment of grace. (qtd. in Ragen 387)

Here you can see that rather than explain that Ragen is quoting another source, I went straight to the bibliography Ragen offers at the end of his own essay, and stripped that information, using it as a source in the paper. But, if you notice I put (qtd. in Ragen 387) at the end of the source, signifying that the quote was found in the Ragen essay.

So, either you can explain to the reader that the original author is quoting/paraphrasing another source, and then cite that source as if the reader knows that I'm still talking about Ragen. Or, you can introduce the source being quoted from by the original author as if you actually had that source in hand, and then make a note in the parenthetical citation explaining that this was actually quoted from your original source.

I hope that helps. Sara noted that she was going to post this on the blog as a question, but didn't know how to post directly to the blog without using the comment section. The answer to this riddle is: you can't, unless I have all of you create blogs and then I could add you as contributors to this particular blog. In which case, you could then post directly to the blog without using the comment section. Seeing as how that would be the biggest pain in the ass ever conceived (some of my collegues have spent weeks trying to get their students to make blogs and then sign up for their blog), we should instead use the comment section.

I hope this helps. If not, feel free to leave some questions in the comment section.


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