The North American Roman Ingarden Society was founded in 2018 at a meeting of the North American Society for Early Phenomenology. Our purpose is to encourage and disseminate research related to Roman Ingarden in North America.
Roman Ingarden (1893-1970) is a Polish phenomenologist best known for his analysis of the ontology and cognition of the literary work of art, and for his realist critique of Husserl's transcendental idealism. A student of Husserl's at Göttingen beginning in 1912, Ingarden followed Husserl to Freiburg in 1916 to form what Ingarden called "a small colony of Göttingeners in Freiburg" (along with Edith Stein). Ingarden completed his doctoral dissertation (Intuition und Intellekt bei Henri Bergson. Darstellung und Versuch einer Kritik) under Husserl's supervision in 1918. Ingarden's Habilitationschrift, "Essentiale Fragen. Ein Beitrag zum Wesensproblem," was published in the Jahrbuch für Philosophie und phänomenologische Forschung in 1925. He finished writing Das literarische Kunstwerk in 1928. He started writing Controversy over the Existence of the World in 1935, and interrupted the work to start and complete The Cognition of the Literary Work of Art. While the first world war was hard for phenomenology in general, the second world war affected Ingarden personally--his house in Lwów was bombed in May 1944, and he was forced to leave for Pieskowa Skała, where he secretly taught mathematics to secondary school students in an orphanage. Nonetheless, he finished two volumes of the Controversy, and he remarks in its Preface: "I wrote the book with virtually no confrontation with other books. In the last year of its writing I was not even allowed to access my private library. I was also unable to discuss its main theses with my friends, since no open discourse was permitted. And many of my younger friends had perished." (tr. Arthur Szylewicz)
After the war, Ingarden took up a post at Jagiellonian University. Then Stalinization began in Poland (around 1948), and the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Jagiellonian University denounced Ingarden in an opinion piece, labeling him an "idealist" and an "enemy of materialism", as well as "a deliberate conscious enemy from whom the Department [of Philosophy] should be taken away." Ingarden was transferred to Warsaw, forbidden to teach, and eventually put on administrative leave. He was reappointed Chair at Jagiellonian University in 1957. In 1959-1960, Ingarden embarked on a lecture tour in the US and found the environment wholly inhospitable. He had plans to return to North American in 1969, to deliver a paper in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, but was unable to obtain a visa. He died suddenly on June 14, 1970.