DE GUBERNATIS, Angelo

DE GUBERNATIS, Angelo. Torino 7.4.1840 — Rome 26.12.1913. Count. Italian Indologist. Professor in Florence and Rome. Born in a noble family; his brother was the diplomat and geographer Enrico De G. (1836–1914), his sister the educator Teresia De G. (Mannucci, 1832–1893). Studies at Turin (under Flechia), graduated as Ph.D. in 1861, then further studies 1862-63 under Bopp and Weber in Berlin. In 1863-90 Professor of Sanskrit and Comparative Linguistics at Istituto dei Studi Superiori in Florence. In 1865 dismissed on political grounds, but restored in 1867. Travelled much: in 1869 and 1876 in Russia, several times France, in 1878 England, in 1885 at Balkans, and 1896 in Argentina (sent by Italian government). From August 1885 he travelled eight months in India. From 1890 Professor of Sanskrit (succeeding Lignana) and Italian Literature at Rome. Retired in 1908. In 1881 he was conferred by the Italian king a hereditary title of count (formerly belonging to his ancestors). In 1865 married with Sophie de Bésobrásoff, daughter of a Russian notable and cousin of Mihail Bakunin.

ADeG was a polyhistor and polygraph, who wrote much and interestingly, but had rarely time for a thorough research work. During his early days he was a radical politician, later liberal. As a scholar he mostly concentrated on comparative mythology, which he dealt “mit grosser Sachkenntnis, poetischem Sinn, aber auch sehr lebhaften Phantasie” (Windisch). He schematically interpreted fairy tales as myths and was unmethodical in his linguistics comparisons. Indian epics, too, were explained as myths. During his long travels in India he became thoroughly acquainted with Indian religions, cults and antiquities. His long travel account shows him as a scrupulous, even pedantic observer, but also as an Orientalist in the Saidian sense, who compares the present decadence to ancient flourish, despises the Muslims and the Non-Aryan Dravidians, and eagerly searches markets for Italian exports and considers the possibilities of extending Italian colonialism to India. His contribution on the study of history of Indology is still useful.

ADeG’s merits in literary history fall outside the present scope. He was also known as a poet who used Indian themes in dramatic works. He was a skilled organizator who founded the Museo Indiano in Florence and the Società Asiatica Italiana (both in 1886). Twice he organized the International Conference of Orientalists, in Florence in 1878 and in Rome in 1899.

Publications: Studi Vedici. I primi venti inni del Rigveda, ripubblicati e per la prima volta dall’ Indiano tradotti in Italiano. 88 p. Firenze 1864; La vita ed i Miracoli del Dio Indra nel Rigveda. 50 p. Firenze 1867.

Piccola Enciclopedia Indiana. 641 p. Torino 1867.

– “Frammenti dell’ Epopea vedica”, RO 1, 1867-68, 259-299; “Fonti vediche dell’ epopea”, RO 1, 1867-68, 401-432, 478-510; “L’epopea Bráhmanica”, RO 1, 1867-68, 1218-1250, 1354-1403.

– “La morale dell’ Tiruvallular”, RO 1, 1867-68, 1173-1192, 1285-1332, 1450-1471.

Memoria sui viaggiatori italiani nelle Indie Orientali dal secolo XIII fino a tutto il XVI. 171p. Firenze 1867; “Cenni sopra alcuni Indianisti viventi” Rev. Europ. 3, 1872, 44-59, 265-273, 448-463; Storia dei viaggiatori italiani nelle Indie Orientali. 400 p. Livorno 1875; Matériaux pour servir à l’Histoire des Études Orientales en Italie. 446 p. Torino 1876; Gli scritti di Marco della Tomba. 305 p. Firenze 1878; “Gli studi indiani in Italia”, GSAI 5, 1891, 102-126; Roma e l’Oriente. 40 p. Roma 1892.

Storia comparata degli usi nuziali in Italia. 1868, 2nd rev. ed. Storia degli usi nuziali in Italia e presso gli altri popoli indoeuropei. 280 p. Milano 1878; Storia comparata degli usi funebri in Italia. 1873, 2nd ed. Storia degli usi funebri in Italia e presso gli altri popoli indoeuropei. 138 p. Milano 1878; Storia degli usi natalizi in Italia e presso gli altri popoli indoeuropei. 223 p. Milano 1868.

Zoological Mythology. L. 1873, German transl. by R. Hartmann: Die Thiere in der idg. Mythologie. 1874, French transl. by P. Regnaud; La Mythologie des Plantes ou les Légendes du Règne végétal. 1-2. P. 1878-82.

Letture sopra la Mitologia Vedica. 365 p. Firenze 1874.

Max Müller e la mitologia comparata. 16 p. Firenze 1875; Mitologia comparata. 149 p. Milano 1880, 2nd ed. 1887.

Letture di Archeologia Indiana. 81 p. Milano 1881; Letteratura indiana. 159 p. Milano 1883; in Storia universale della lettetura (Milano 1884-85): I. Teatro indiano. 110 p. “Florilegio”, II, 11-108; “Lirica popolare e poeti indiani”, III, 11-60, “Flor.”, IV, 7-34; “Epopea indiana”, V, 7-94; “Flor.”, VI, 7-82; etc.

Peregrinazioni Indiane. I. Viaggio nell’ India Centrale. 1886; II. Viaggio nell’ India Meridionale e Seilan. 270 p. Firenze 1887; III. Viaggio nel Bengala, Pengiab e Cashmir. 349 p. Firenze 1887.

– “Brahman et Sâvitrî, ou l’origine de la prière”, Actes du 11e Congrès des orientalistes, Paris 1897. 1. 1899, 9-44.

– “Le Bouddhisme en Occident avant et après le christianisme”, RSO 2, 1909, 167–230.

a number of articles and reviews in RE, GSAI, etc.

A collection of Tuscan fairy tales (18??), a book on Hungary (1885), on France (1891), on Serbia (1897) and on Bulgaria and Romania (1899).

edited: Dizionario biografico degli scrittori contemporanei. Firenze 1879; Dictionnaire international des écrivains du jour. 1-3. Florence 1891; Dictionnaire International des Écrivains du Monde Latin. Rome & Florence 1905.

Storia universale della letteratura. 1-18. Milano 1882-85.

plays on Indian themes: Il re Nala. 1870 and German transl.; La morte del re Dasaratha. 1872; Māyā. 1873 and Polish transl.; Sāvitrī. 1877 with French and English transl., staged in Gujarati in Bombay; Drammi indiani. Firenze 1872, 1883, 1889, 1907; Buddha. 1902; plays on other themes, poetry, biographies.

editor of numerous journals.

Sources: own account, Dict. Intern. des Écr. du jour 1, 1891, 787-788;A. Bal[lini], Enciclop. Italiana 12, 1931, 501; Buckland, Dictionary; *G. Ciardi-Dupré, GSAI 25, 1912, 351f.; Alessandro Grossato, “L’interpretazione ‘naturista’ dei miti e simboli negli scritti indologici di Angelo De Gubernatis”, A. Gallotta & U. Marazzi (ed.), La conoscenza dell’Asia a dell’Africa in Italia nei secoli XVIII e XIX. Vol. 2. Collana ”Matteo Ripa” 4. Napoli 1985, 417-434; *L. Strappini in www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/angelo-de-gubernatis_(Dizionario-Biografico)/; M. Taddei (ed.), Angelo De Gubernatis. Europa e Oriente nell’Italia umbertina. Vol. 1. Collana ”Matteo Ripa” 10. Napoli 1995; Windisch 442ff.; *RSO 6, 1914-15, 1-3; Wikipedia with photo.

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