Volume 11, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2211-3770
  • E-ISSN: 2211-3789
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The author of the , Dante Alighieri (1265–1321), dealt with “sodomites” twice in his masterpiece, once in and again in . In their examinations of the passage in , literary critics have typically conflated the modern-day definition of “homosexual” with the medieval “sodomite.” In order to see how Dante viewed non-normative sexuality accurately, however, it is necessary first to uncouple the medieval term “sodomite” from today’s term, “homosexual,” and to apply instead the medieval definition of the former. Numerous sources of Dante’s time indicate that “sodomy” did not mean, strictly speaking, same sex practices between men, but rather it encompassed a wide array of sexual activities. The same is probably true of the sodomites in Dante’s , some of whom might not have bedded other men. Examination of the passage in , moreover, indicates a greater degree of subtlety in Dante’s thought regarding non-normative sexual attraction.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Dante Alighieri; Divine Comedy; Inferno; medieval; Purgatorio; sodomite; sodomy
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