|KANT IN THE CLASSROOM Materials to aid the study of Kant’s lectures|
“When he became a magister he had some rooms in the so-called Neustadt; some time later he lived on the Magistergasse along the Pregel, [...] For a while he lived with the Director Kanter, [...] He then moved to a residence on the Ochsenmarkte; yet another near the Holztor. Finally, he bought a house in a rather quiet part of the city, near the castle, next to which was a small garden and which satisfied his rather modest wishes.”
Borowski [1912, 56-57; repr. in Malter 1990, 84]
1. Kant’s Rooms on Neustadt (1755-early 1760s)
The location for public lectures was not specified in the university regulations, except for the law professors, who were required to lecture in the Auditorio juridico, a room in the Albertinum [glossary], the university buildings next to the cathedral. The large auditorium (where graduations and other university festivities occurred) was given over to the theology faculty to use, and the Communität (the academic dining room or convictorio) was given to the philosophy faculty for their use. The medical faculty also had a special lecture room in the university building, and to this was added, in 1738, an anatomy theater built by Professor Büttner [bio] and later sold to the university.
These university rooms were available only to the full professors for their public lectures, but by the time Kant was teaching it was customary for instructors to lecture in their own homes. A professor might also rent a room from another professor, if their own home lacked the appropriate space, or else was too distant for the students to comfortably reach (they had to be able to walk from one home to the next in the space of fifteen minutes). Perhaps in part because of this, most professors and lecturers lived near the university, as suggested by the name of the east-west street on the south edge of Kneiphof: Magistergasse.
This meant that professors and lecturers needed houses with a large hall suitable for holding lectures, or else they needed to rent the use of a colleague’s hall. Kant lectured for twenty-nine years before owning his own home; so, apart from renting a room or two for his own living space, he needed to rent a room for his lectures, possibly sharing that room with other instructors. Once Kant purchased his own home on Prinzessinstraße (end of 1783), we see this same sort of arrangement being pursued. In a letter of 18 June 1789, a younger professor by the name of Johann Gottfried Hasse [bio] asked Kant about the possibility of renting the use of his auditorium:
This winter I will be moving in with my father-in-law in Tragheim, but because it is too far away I cannot hold lectures there; so I’ll need to rent an auditorium closer in the city. Here it occurred to me whether I couldn’t arrange my lectures in such a way with yours that I could use your auditorium with payment, of course, and without wanting to cause the least trouble for you. You lecture from 7-9 [on the four main days] and Wednesdays and Saturdays until 10 — I believe in the future also, as previously — In these hours I would never lecture; I would ask only for the hours from 9-12 and Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10-12, and also promise to lecture seldom in the afternoon, so that the house would not be disturbed so often. I would not want to inconvenience you at all here, and so for the preparatory time between lectures I would use the adjoining section in the auditorium. I would gladly pay for heat and rent. I am convinced of your philanthropic disposition and your well-wishing sentiment towards me, that you would do me this favor. It would be a true pleasure for me, in that I don’t know any other professor’s auditorium that I could use in this respect. Meanwhile, declining this request will not lessen my trust in your good will towards me, and indeed there could be reasons making the proposal somewhat difficult. [...] (Ak. 11: 63, #345).
Borowski [bio] reports that Kant lived in six different locations while teaching at the university:
 When he became a magister he had some rooms in the so-called Neustadt;  some time later he lived on the Magistergasse along the Pregel, [...]  For a while he lived with the Director Kanter, [...]  He then moved to a residence on the Ochsenmarkte;  yet another near the Holztor. Finally,  he bought a house in a rather quiet part of the city, near the castle, next to which was a small garden and which satisfied his rather modest wishes. [1912, 56-57; repr. in Malter 1990, 84]
Gause offers a slightly different list:
Of the houses in which Kant lived, none remained by 1900. His birth house was replaced with a new building in 1740, which burned in 1769 and then again in 1811, and the property lines were changed due to widening the street. Kant had six residences, (1) the first in the so-called Neustadt in Kneipfhof, then (2) in the Köttelstraße, (3) in the Magistergasse, (4) on the Ochsenmarkt (later called Lindenstraße), (5) in the vicinity of the Holztor, and (6) in Kanter’s house. The house at Prinzessinstraße 3, in which Kant lived for the last two decades of his life, was first turned into an inn [Gastwirtschaft]. His friends would meet there for a memorial meal on the anniversary of his death. In 1836 the dentist Karl Gustav Döbbelin bought the house and had a memorial plaque made for it. From his heirs the business of Bernhard Liedtke bought it in 1881 and had it razed in 1893 since they needed the space for the expansion of their store.... The city renamed Prinzessinstraße as Kantstraße in 1924 on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of his birth. [1996, ii.250]
* Much of the following information is drawn, either directly or indirectly, from Stark [1994a].
 Arnoldt [1746, i.200]. On the various lecture halls, see Goldbeck [1782, 37, 140] and Bornhak [1900, 33]. Pütter offers a similar report on the use of the university lecture halls at Göttingen [1765, i.276].
Kant’s Rooms on Neustadt (1755-early 1760s) [top]
Kant had returned to Königsberg by August 1754 [Kuehn 2001, 98], and Borowski reports that he was living in the home of “Professor Kypke.” This could have been either Johann David Kypke [bio] — the professor of logic and metaphysics since 1727 — or else his younger nephew, Georg David Kypke [bio], who attended grammar school as well as the university alongside Kant, and who had just been appointed to the full professorship of oriental languages in 1755 (having served as an associate professor since 1746). Stark [1999b] has argued that the younger Kypke is the more likely landlord.
Kypke’s house was on Neustadt, in the Kneiphof quarter of the city located on the northwest corner of the island in the Pregel river. Kant also rented the use of Kypke’s lecture hall on the first floor of the house for the use of his lectures, and this hall is described in Borowski’s report of Kant’s first lecture.
 Or, as Dietzsch suggests, both Kypke’s — and with them Kant — all lived in the same house [2003, 65-66].
 The road called “Neustadt” ends in an ‘L’. Vorländer takes Borowski’s reference to mean the Löbenicht district of town (“Neustadt” being another name for that district) [1924, i.82, ii.180-81], but the Kneiphof location is strongly supported by a reference in Maria Jacobi’s letter to Kant (12 June 1762; Ak. 10:39), although Kant may well have already moved to the Magistergasse, which is also in Kneiphof. Gause also understands “Neustadt” as the street at the west end of the island [1996, ii.250].
Magistergasse along the Pregel (early 1760s-1766) [top]
The Magistergasse runs east-west along the length of the Kneiphof island, just one block inland from the southern bank. As the name suggests, this was a common street for the university professors to find a house, and it was only minutes away from the university buildings, the Albertinum, connected to the cathedral at the east end of the island. In his old age Kant recalled how, after an evening of wine and society, he “would not be able to find the hole in the Magistergasse.” We don’t know exactly where Kant lived on this street, but we do know that the noise from the many ships and carts hauling goods eventually caused him to seek an apartment elsewhere [Vorländer 1911, 59; 1924, ii.181].
 The Address-Calendar for 1770 indicates the following university professors living on the Magistergasse: J. C. Bohl [bio], K. A. Christiani [bio] (on the corner, in his own house), F. J. Buck [bio], and G. C. Pisanski [bio] and many of the professors at the Kneiphof school also lived there: G. C. Ressanski, J. G. Harnack, W. B. Kahnert, M. S. Szilinski, J. C. Daubler, and J. G. Heilgendörfer.
Kanter’s New Shop (1766-77) [top]
Andreas Meyer observed in 1770 that ...
“Most of the teachers at this university have their auditoriums in this part of the city, and since I had the opportunity to speak with the pleasant and brilliant Professor Kant at various social gatherings, I occasionally visited the lectures of this scholar, and I marveled how a man so brilliant a socialite outside the lecture hall could within it be the most serious and deep thinking philosopher.” [repr. in Malter 1990, 107]
This was in the Löbenicht district of Königsberg, directly east of the Altstadt district, and so north-east of the Albertinum (about 250 meters as the crow flies, but more like 550 meters to walk). After the great Königsberg fire of 11 November 1764 — this was the same conflagration that Herder witnessed, and that delayed his departure from the city — Johann Jacob Kanter [bio] rented part of the newly-built Löbenicht Town Hall (on the corner of the Löbenichtsche Langgasse and Münchengasse, with a large square to the west) in 1766, where he installed a bookshop that soon became an important gathering place for the scholars of Königsberg. Kanter was Kant’s publisher both before and after the fire: False Subtlety (1762), Only Possible Argument and Negative Magnitudes (1763), Beautiful and Sublime (1764), Announcement (1765), Dreams of a Spirit-Seer (1766), and finally the Inaugural Dissertation (1770).
Kant sub-rented a room there on the third floor, on the left-hand side, until 1777, and also held his lectures there. Christian Jacob Kraus [bio], who was to study under Kant and later teach beside him on the philosophy faculty, also lived at Kanter’s during Kant’s stay there, as did the controversial freemason theologian, Johann August Starck [bio]. A daughter of Kanter’s married Johann Benjamin Jachmann [bio] (one of Kant’s amanuenses while a student, and later an important physician) [Voigt 1819, 28-30; see also Baczko, as qtd. in Malter 1990, 119-20; Vorländer 1924, i.181-82; Gause 1996, ii.233-37].
Kanter’s bookshop was decorated with twelve busts of men from classic antiquity, as well as nine portraits done in oil: next to portraits of the Landesherrn — of Moses Mendelssohn [bio], Friederich the Great, and the Berlin poet Karl Wilhelm Ramler — there were six portraits of contemporary Königsbergers, including Professor Friedrich Samuel Bock (age 52) [bio], Magister Immanuel Kant (age 44) [bio], Professor Johann Gotthelf Lindner (age 39) [bio], Kriegsrat Johann Georg Scheffner (age 32) [bio], and Hofgerichtsadvocat Theodor Gottlieb von Hippel (age 27) [bio].
Kanter had a good selection of books, and would loan them out (a privilege that both Kant and Hamann enjoyed). Karl Gottfried Hagen [bio] was a successful pharmacist and professor of medicine at the university in Königsberg; his son August wrote the following description of Kanter’s new shop in the Löbenicht Rathaus:
Kanter was pleased that the scholars viewed his shop as their museum and behaved as though it were their own house. They wrote letters here, even when it had nothing to do with literary matters, and Kanter carefully assisted them with devotion, sacrificing his own interests to theirs. Around eleven o’clock the scholarly notables would gather and deliberate over the intellectual issues of the day. There was scarcely a trace of politics in their conversation at that time. The clients were acquainted with the cupboards and knew their way about in the bookshop as though in their own studies. An unfamiliar professor was astonished in Kanter’s bookstore over the learned shop clerk; it was von Baczko [bio] .... Von Baczko become acquainted at Kanter’s with Hamann, and Scheffner with Hippel. In order to increase the number of the friends of literature, Kanter set aside two days of the week during which students could come into his shop and read the newspapers and familiarize themselves with recent events. Scholars like Hamann received books sent in large parcels and there lay, at least with him, no self-serving intention in the background. [Hagen 1850, 242, as qtd. in Stark 1994a, 86; see also Baczko’s reports, as qtd. in Malter 1990, 119-20]
 Listed in Hamann’s letter to Herder (28 August 1768); and see Gause [1996, iii.274]. Minden, in his survey of Kant images, claims that Becker painted the following portraits for Kanter: Hamann, Kant, Willamov, Lindner, Bock, and Scheffner [1868, 25] — so he adds Willamov and Hamann to the above list, and deletes Hippel.
The inscription under the painting of Kant reads (in translation): “Immanuel Kant, born April 22, 1724 / lived with the book dealer Kanter from 1766 until 1769 / was painted for this shop in August 1768 / by the portrait painter Becker, died 1804, the 12th of February.” This inscription likely stems from 1844, when the book dealer Gräfe und Unzer had the picture restored and displayed in their rooms. The dates are wrong, however true the image might be, as Kant stayed with Kanter until 1777 [Stark 1994a, 81].
On the Ochsenmarkte (1777-83) and Near the Holztor (1784) [top]
Near the end of 1777 Kant moved into rooms on the Ochsenmarkte, where he stayed for seven years. This lodging lay across the river from Kneiphof, just east of the island. Borowski reports that Kant left Kanter’s because of a noisy rooster living nearby [Borowski 1912, 57]. The new rooms on the Ochsenmarkte were quiet, but apparently quite cold and drafty in the winters. Kant’s friend and colleague, Christian Jacob Kraus, moved into these same rooms after Kant vacated them [Kuhn 2001, 220].
Perhaps while waiting for his newly purchased home to be renovated, his lease expired at the Ochsenmarkte address, and he needed temporary lodging elsewhere. This would have been near the Holztor in early 1784. Little is known of this residence.
 In the Adres-Calender vom Königreich Preussen [...] auf das Jahr 1784 (p. 159) we find: “Hr. Imman. Kant, Prof. Logic. u. Methaphysic. ordin., wohnet auf dem Ochsenmarkt.”
His own House (1784-1804) [top]
Kant arranged the purchase of a house at 87-88 Prinzessinstraße near the end of 1783 — its previous owner was the widow of Johann Gottlieb Becker, the painter whose portrait of Kant was hanging in Kanter’s bookshop. Kant moved in no later than 22 May 1784, and by July had paid off the mortgage and owned it free and clear. The house was due north of the west end of the castle, about half-way between it and the Paradeplatz. Jachmann described it as being on a quiet side street with little else than foot traffic, even though it was in the center of town [Jachmann 1912, 195]. It was also near Hippel’s house, and the two quite likely dined at the same neighborhood pub — the “Caffee- und Gasthaus Zornich” — which was just around the corner from Kant’s house, on the Junker Straße; Kant didn't have a working kitchen until 1787 (after which he always held luncheons in his own home) [cf. Stark 1994a, 107-8]. Kant was also neighbor to Friedrich Karl Ludwig von Holstein-Beck (1757-1816), whose house at Junker Straße 13-14 was directly next to Kant’s, and from whom we have an important set of physical geography notes.
May 22 would have been too late to begin holding his lectures for summer term (these began for Kant at 7 o’clock Monday morning, April 26, to some 100 students attending his logic lecture), but he may well have changed locations as soon as he was moved in; by the very latest he was lecturing in his own home beginning WS 1784/85.
The house had two floors and an attic, and lined up roughly on a north-south axis, so that one was facing east (and a bit south) when entering the front door. As one entered the front door (in the middle of the house), the lecture room occupied the left side (or north end) of the first floor (with two windows facing the street, and a single window on the opposite wall with a view of the gardens and castle). The kitchen was east of the front hallway, and the cook’s apartment was on the right side of the ground floor. Directly above the lecture hall, on the second floor, were the dining room (with two windows facing the street to the west) and on the back side of the house a room used as Kant’s library, with his bedroom directly above the kitchen, situated between the library to the north, and his study to the south; the library had two windows facing the gardens and castle, the bedroom one window. On the right hand side, above the cook’s apartment, was a salon for greeting visitors (with two windows facing the street) and Kant’s study in the back, with two windows offering a view of the neighboring gardens and castle, as well as the Löbenicht church [image] (on whose steeple Kant would apparently fix his gaze while in deep thought). As Puttlich noted in his diary (for 30 April 1785): “Kant has not decorated his rooms at all, Rousseau’s picture alone hangs above his writing desk” [Warda 1905, 280; rpt. in Malter 1990, 263]. In the attic lived his servant Martin Lampe [bio] [Jachmann 1912, 195-96].
The lecture room was a square roughly six meters on the side, and clearly too small for the 80-100 students that he was recorded as hosting. Jachmann reports (in his 4th Letter) that Kant’s “lecture room, especially at the beginning of the semester, could not hold all the auditors for his public lectures, and quite a few would have to occupy an adjoining room or the hallway” [1912, 135].
 The house was purchased on 30 December 1783 for 5500 gulden (= 1833 rthl. 30 gr.). See Hippel’s letter to Kant [24 December 1783; Ak. 10: 362, # 216], Kant’s letter to Johann Friedrich Fetter [28 April 1784, #228a, in Schöndörffer 1986, 933-34]; Hamann’s letter to Herder [2 May 1784; Ziesemer/Henkel 1955-79, 5: 147; rpt. in Malter 1990, 253]. And see Kuhn’s detailed discussion [2001, 269-70]. The street was originally called Schloßgraben, then Prinzessinstraße, and finally Kantstraße. The Address-Calender for 1770 lists Heinrich Becker, the painter, as living auf dem Prinzessin-Platz. This is the same person; Becker is matriculated at the university (as a painter) as: .
 On the house itself, see especially Kuhrke [1924b]. Kuhrke notes that the site (between Prinzessinstraße and the Schloßgraben) was called the Alte Landhofmeisterei in the 17th century, and when Kant bought the house it had the street address “87/86 [sic] Prinzessinstraße.” Prinzessinstraße is a short street running from the south-west to the north-east; at the southerly end it bends east towards the castle, while at the northerly end it empties into the wider Junker Straße that runs perpendicular to it.
 A visitor in May 1789 noted that his library and bedroom were one and the same room [Malter 1990, 345]; the floor plans published in Kuhrke [1924b, 10] list the north-east room as the Bibliothek beim Schlafzimmer and the room to the south of this as the Schlafzimmer.
 This is reported in Wasianski’s [bio] 1804 biography:
“At six o'clock he sat down to his desk, which was just a wholly ordinary table, and read until dusk. At this time, so conducive to thought, he would meditate on his reading, if it was worth that, or else he would sketch out what he would say in his lectures the following day, or else work on something for publication. Then he would take up his station by the stove, be it winter or summer, from which he could see, through his window, the Lobenicht steeple. He would look at this while meditating, or better put, he would rest his eyes on it. He could not emphasize enough how beneficial this was for his eyes, how suitable was the distance of the object for this. His daily gazing in the twilight accustomed his eyes to this, for eventually some poplars in the neighbor’s garden grew to such a height as to hide the steeple, and this left Kant unsettled and disturbed in his meditation; he wanted the poplars pruned. Fortunately the owner of the garden was a considerate fellow who loved and respected Kant, and so he sacrificed for him the boughs of his poplars, making the steeple visible once more, so that Kant could once again meditate undisturbed.”
“Nach 6 Uhr setzte er sich an seinen Arbeitstisch, der ein ganz gewöhnlicher, durch nichts sich auszeichnender Haustisch war und las bis zur Dämmerung. In dieser, dem Nachdenken so günstigen Zeit, dachte er dem Gelesenen, wenn es eines besondern Nachdenkens wert war, nach; oder widmete diese ruhigen Augenblicke dem Entwurfe dessen, was er am folgenden Tage in seinen Vorlesungen sagen, oder fürs Publikum schreiben würde. Dann nahm er seine Stellung, es mochte Winter oder Sommer sein, am Ofen, von welchem er durchs Fenster den Löbenichtschen Turm sehen konnte. Dieser wurde zur Zeit dieses Nachdenkens angesehen, oder das Auge ruhte vielmehr auf demselben. Er konnte sich nicht lebhaft genug ausdrücken, wie wohltätig seinen Augen der, für dasselbe passende, Abstand dieses Objects sei. Durch tägliche Ansicht in der Dämmerung mag sein Auge sich daran gewöhnt haben. Als in der Folge im Garten seines Nachbars einige Pappeln so hoch emporwuchsen, daß sie den Turm bedeckten, wurde er darüber unruhig und gestört in seinem Nachdenken: er wünschte daher, daß diese Pappeln bekappt werden möchten. Zum Glück war der Eigentümer des Gartens ein gutdenkender Mann, der für Kant Liebe und Hochachtung hatte, und überdem mit ihm in näheren Verbindungen stand; er opferte ihm daher die Wipfel seiner Pappeln auf, so daß der Turm wieder sichtbar wurde und Kant bei dessen Anblick wieder ungestört nachdenken konnte.” [1804, 29-30; Groß 1912, 225-26]
Reusch [1848, 6] [bio] also mentions this habit of Kant’s; it is possible that he heard the story independently of Wasianski.
Copyright ©2006 Steve Naragon (Manchester College)
Last modified: 23 Sep 2012
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