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I cannot find the answer to the following question in CMOS or on this forum.

I am providing a quote from source No 1 (marked with a footnote) which contains a quote from source No 2: ‘As Leibniz puts it, “[Music] is ‘the secret exercise of arithmetic of a soul which does not know it is counting”.’

How should the superscript numbers and the footnotes themselves be placed on the page?

Option A, looks cluttered:

In-text: ‘As Leibniz puts it, “[Music] is ‘the secret exercise of arithmetic of a soul which does not know it is counting”FOOTNOTE1.’FOOTNOTE2

At the bottom of the page: SOURCE2 SOURCE1

Option B, unclear which part of the quote is from SOURCE1 and which from SOURCE2:

In-text: ‘As Leibniz puts it, “[Music] is ‘the secret exercise of arithmetic of a soul which does not know it is counting”.’FOOTNOTE

At the bottom of the page: SOURCE1; SOURCE2.

Would you propose other options? Thank you!

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  • To simplify, one option is use one footnote and let Leibniz worry about his own footnotes (when readers go there, they'll see that quote's source.) Another is to remove Leibniz as your source - again use one footnote, but to the original source, as his quote adds little to the original quote. Commented Feb 1, 2021 at 21:08
  • Related: How does one cite a source that one knows only indirectly?.
    – jsw29
    Commented Feb 1, 2021 at 22:50
  • I can see people would encounter this problem when discussing the use an author makes of quotations from other people/works. Hence, although it's easy to say "don't quote Leibniz" (and arguably valid here), it is certainly a real problem in other situations.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Feb 2, 2021 at 12:13

1 Answer 1

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Multiple footnotes attached to the same place in the text tend to be confusing and are best avoided, even if they are not explicitly prohibited by whatever manual of style one is following. Moreover, in scholarly work, one is expected to make it clear in one's citations whether one has actually consulted a particular source oneself, or one knows about it only indirectly, through another source. In this case, it appears that the OP has consulted only one of the two sources involved: the one that contains the whole sentence that begins with 'As Leibniz'. The proper thing to do is, therefore, to have only one footnote, attached to that sentence as a whole, and in that footnote provide the bibliographical data about the source from which that sentence is quoted, followed by a word like quoting and then the bibliographical data for the embedded quotation.

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  • Thank you, the use of the word "quoting" seems to be a good solution. In fact, I have consulted both sources and am willing to provide the bibliographic data for both: the first one I cannot ignore but the original author does not provide the source which I had to locate myself. Commented Feb 2, 2021 at 0:00
  • @JuozasRimas, in that case, you may want to make all that explicit, by providing first the bibliographical data for the later source, and then saying, in the continuation of the same footnote, something like 'so-and-so does not provide the source of the quote, which is . . .'.
    – jsw29
    Commented Feb 2, 2021 at 16:18

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