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6 - “How Much from the Point”: Saving Appearances at the Edge of the Universe

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 June 2022

Alison Cornish
Affiliation:
New York University
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Summary

The primum mobile is the largest body of the universe, giving impetus to the whole complex system of natural causes. Limit of the physical world, it serves as a vantage point on the metaphysical structure that undergirds it. The planets are moved by angels that appear to whirl at different speeds in nine concentric fiery wheels variously distant from the common focus of their orbits. The angels are uninterruptedly intent on what they know and love, to the degree that they know and love it. The opening astronomical simile serves to describe a single moment of perfect balance in an ambiguous twilight before the universe took sides and split into light and dark, good and evil. It is a moment of expectation, in which what comes next depends on whether one settles for what appears in the here and now or believes that it promises something more yet to come.

Type
Chapter
Information
Believing in Dante
Truth in Fiction
, pp. 208 - 243
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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