Before coming to IU in 1961, Mark Musa received his doctorate in Romance Languages from the Universities of Florence and The Johns Hopkins. In 1965 he founded the IU Center in Bologna which for years has been, and still is, IU's most successful program abroad.
A former Fulbright Scholar and Guggenheim Fellow, he was awarded the "Fiorino d'oro" ('gold florin') by the city of Florence for his work on Dante.
He has published 26 books and more than 50 articles on various aspects of Italian literature (literary criticism, linguistics, pedagogy, translation). His books, published by Oxford, Norton, Penguin, and IU Press, are widely read both here and abroad. He is well known for his "best seller" verse rendition of Dante's Divine Comedy as well as his classic versions of Boccaccio's Decameron and Machiavelli's Prince. His first book, published by Rutgers University Press while Musa was still an undergraduate, remains the standard English version of Dante's Vita Nuova having sold over 750,000 copies. His translation of Luigi Pirandello's "Six Characters in Search of an Author" had its premier here in 1993, then later in Boston and New York.
In January of 1997 the first 2 volumes of his 6 volume edition of the Divine Comedy (30 years in the making) was published by the IU Press which has just released Musa's highly acclaimed verse rendition of Petrarch's Canzoniere.
Under the auspices of the National Endowment for the Humanities he was the guest of the Music Department at the University of Hawaii where he completed his new opera libretto based on the Inferno.
Musa offers a very popular course for undergraduates from all disciplines called "Dante and His Times." He has directed 28 doctoral dissertations in the fields of Italian, French, and Comparative Literature. Many of his students hold distinguished posts in universities throughout the States.
In 1996, the University bestowed on him the Distinguished Teaching and Mentoring Award.