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WILHELM PAUL CORSSEN (1820–1875)

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Originally appearing in Volume V07, Page 205 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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WILHELM

PAUL CORSSEN (1820–1875)  , German philologist, was born at
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Bremen on the loth of
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January 182o, and received his school
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education in the Prussian
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town of
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Schwedt, to which his
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father, a merchant, had removed . After spending some time at the Joachimsthal Gymnasium in Berlin, where his
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interest in philological pursuits was awakened by the rector, Meinike, he proceeded to the university, and there came especially under the influence of Bockh and Lachmann . His first important appearance in literature was as the author of Origines poesis romanae, by which he had obtained the prize offered by the " philosophical " or " arts " faculty of the university . In 1846 he was called from
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Stettin, where he had for nearly two years held a
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post in the gymnasium, to occupy the position of lecturer in the royal academy at Pforta (commonly called Schulpforta), and there he continued to labour for the next twenty years . In 1854 he won a prize offered by the Royal Prussian Academy of Sciences for the best
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work on the pronuncia tion and
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accent of Latin, a
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treatise which at once took rank, on its publication under the title of Uber Ausspraclie, Vocalismus, and Betonung der lateinischen Sprache (1858—1859), as one of the most erudite and masterly
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works in its department . This was followed in 1863 by his Kritische Beitrdge zur
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lat . Formenlehre, which were supplemented in 1866 by Kritische Nachtraige zur lat . Formenlehre . In the discussion of the pronunciation of Latin he was naturally led to consider the various old
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Italian' dialects, and the results of his investigations appeared in
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miscellaneous communications to Kuhn's Zeitschrift fur vergleichende Schriftforschung .
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Ill-
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health obliged him to give up his professor-
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ship at Pforta, and return to Berlin, in 1866; but it produced almost no diminution of his
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literary activity . In 1867 he published an elaborate archaeological study entitled the Alterthhmer and Kunstdenkmale
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des Cistercienserklosters St Marien and der Landesschule Pforta, in which he gathers together all that can be discovered about the
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history of the Pforta academy, the German "
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Eton," and in 1868—1869 he brought out a new edition of his work on Latin pronunciation . From a very early period he had been attracted to the
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special study of
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Etruscan remains, and had at various times given occasional expression to his opinions on individual points; but it was not till 187o that he had the opportunity of visiting Italy and completing his equipment for a formal treatment of the whole subject by
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personal inspection of the monuments .

In 1874 appeared the first

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volume of Uber die Sprache der Etrusker, in which with
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great ingenuity and erudition he endeavoured to prove that the Etruscan language was cognate with that of the Romans . Before the second volume (published posthumously under the editorship of Kuhn) had received the last touches of his hand, he was cut off in 1875 by a comparatively early
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death .

End of Article: WILHELM PAUL CORSSEN (1820–1875)
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