He thought that he thought

One of Joyce's brain-twisters in Ithaca—"He thought that he thought that he was a jew whereas he knew that he knew that he knew that he was not"—was clearly inspired by one of Dante's ingenious linguistic constructions in the Divine Comedy. Joyce pays the poet some exquisitely imitative homage by adapting to the conversation of Bloom and Stephen a line that Dante utters about Virgil in canto 13 of the Inferno, "Cred'io ch'ei credette ch'io credesse."

John Hunt 2022

Gustave Doré's illustration of Virgil and Dante in the wood of the suicides. Source:www.theparisreview.org.