Dante's Sympathy for the Other, or the Non-Stereotyping Imagination: Sexual and Racialized Others in the Commedia
God is not otherness but sameness, never aliud but always ipsum: "qui non es alias aliud et alias aliter, sed idipsum et idipsum et idipsum" ("who art not one thing in one place and another thing in another place but the Selfsame, and the Selfsame, and the Selfsame" [12.7]). So writes Augustine in the Confessions, in a haunting phrase whose hammering repetition--"sed idipsum et idipsum et idipsum"--performs what it signifies: sameness. Against this backdrop of belief as a rejection of the other, as the ultimate identity, I want to consider Dante's sympathy for the other.
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- January 21, 2014