Letter to Kazimierz Twardowski written 19.12.1924

Toruń, 19/12/24

Most Honourable Professor!

Along with this letter, I’m sending a copy of my paper entitled Essentiale Fragen [German: Essential questions] with a polite request that you graciously accept it from me as living proof of my gratitude for the sincere and great interest you’ve shown in this paper and the time you’ve devoted to it. This interest is an incentive for me to continue my work and to eliminate the errors which may have been contained in my statements to date. I’d be exceedingly glad, if ‒ as soon as I relocate to Lviv ‒ you’d deign at some point to acquaint me in greater detail with the judgment you’ve formed concerning particular assertions made in my dissertation. It would be more valuable to me if I could make use of your observations.

With the Christmas holidays approaching, I politely ask you to accept my sincere wishes for a ‘Merry Christmas’ for you and your wife.

If it’s advisable to attach a copy of the dissertation to my habilitation files (assuming they have not yet gone to Warsaw), I politely ask you to graciously inform me about this, and I’ll send the copy back by post.

In Toruń we’ve lived through a few very sad days recently. Specifically, one of my students from the eighth class ‒ whom I’d been teaching for four years, an able and valuable boy ‒ shot himself. The headmaster, Mianowski, encountered him on the street one evening with a young lady, called him in to see him the following day, accused him – it seems – of consorting in the evenings with prostitutes, threatened him with expulsion from the school, and ordered his father to come in. The boy ‒ in love with the young lady, as it turned out ‒ took this so much to heart that he shot himself the same day. Undoubtedly, there were other contributing circumstances – however, in his letter to his parents, he cited the above incident as the reason for his actions, calling it ‘a terrible misunderstanding’. The headmaster of course meant well, but, not knowing the student well, his action unexpectedly led to this result. Brutal, ruthless behaviour, and the constant suspicion that everybody harbours the worst intentions, sometimes leads to horrible consequences. Of course, the atmosphere at school is awful; the investigation, parental rallies, etc., render working conditions impossible.

I conclude once more with best wishes for a ‘Merry Christmas’ and enclose expressions of the most profound esteem

Roman Ingarden

Yesterday I had a lecture on the aims of phenomenologists at the local ‘Scientific Society’