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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Lenz’s Poem For Celebrating Kant’s Professorship

Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz
In 1770, Immanuel Kant was appointed as the professor of logic and metaphysics at the University of Königsberg.

To celebrate Kant’s promotion, one of his students Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz, who later became one of the famous writers of Sturm und Drang movement, wrote a poem entitled, “When His High and Noble Herr Professor Kant Disputed for the Honor of professor on August 21, 1770.”

In his poem, Lenz emphasizes that Kant is a man in whom both virtue and wisdom can be found and who has practiced in his own life all the principles which he preached to his students. The poem has twelve verses. Here’s one of the verses:

Whose clear eye never was bedazzled by the ostentatious
Who, never crawling, never called the fool sagacious
Who many a time reduced to shred
The folly's mask, which we must dread. 

Linz ends the poem with this verse:

You sons of France! Despise our Northern region
Ask if ever a genius has here arisen:
If Kant still lives, you will not hazard again
to ask this question.

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(Information on Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz's poem is available in Manfred Kuehn's Kant: A Biography)

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