Mussafia, Adolfo

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MUSSAFIA, ADOLFO (1834–1905), Italian philologist. Born in Split (Spalato), Croatia, Mussafia specialized in Romance studies and taught for almost 50 years at the University of Vienna, first (from 1855) as an Italian professor, then (from 1860 to 1903) as a professor of Romance philology, to which he added the role of curator of the manuscripts at the Imperial Library. In 1901 he was appointed a member of the Austrian House of Lords. Having tried in vain to have an Italian center for higher studies established in Trieste, he eventually moved to Florence, where he spent the last years of his life. Though the son of the rabbi of Split John Amadeus, Mussafia was estranged from Judaism and converted to Catholicism in 1860. A philologist of wide interests, he was one of the pioneers who took up the study of the Italian and Romance dialects, founding Romance philology in Vienna, and devoting his valuable and painstaking attention to early texts in Italian and the Italian dialects (Monumenti antichi dei dialetti italiani, 1864, and Darstellung der romagnolischen Mundart, 1871). Mussafia also did research in comparative literature, investigating the origins of many medieval legends about Christian saints (Zur Katharinen-Legende, 1874, and Sulla leggenda del segno della Croce, 1870), elucidating many texts, and writing critical reviews. His other major publications include Italienische Sprachlere in Regeln und Beispielen (1860; reprinted until recent years under the title Der neues Mussafia); Sul testo della "Divina Commedia" (1865); Sul testo del "Tesoro" di Brunetto Latini (1870); La difesa d'un illustre (G. Boccaccio, 1861); and the I codici Vaticani Latini 3195 e 3196 delle "Rime" del Petrarca (1899).


E. Richter, in: Zeitschrift fuer franzoesische Sprache und Literatur, 55 (1932), 168–93; V. Crescini, Romanica fragmenta (1932), 148–53; Bausteine zur romanischen Philologie, Festgabe… A. Mussafia (1905). add. bibliography: "Il carteggio di Adolfo Mustafia con Elise e Helene Richter," in: Atti dell'Istituto Veneto. Classe di scienze morali … (1963–64), 511ff.; L. Renzi, in: Letteratura italiana. I critici, vol. 1 (1983), 323–41; L. Curti (ed.), D'Ancona-Mussafia (1978); A. Daniele, in: Adolfo Mustafia, Scritti di filologia e linguistica (1983), xxvii–lxxvi.

[Louisa Cuomo /

Alessandro Guetta (2nd ed.)]