Schubert Soldern Richard (1852- 1924)


The efforts that local administrations and city authorities are making to implement through new and qualifying degree courses that university pole which, although it could not be the University of Gorizia, is the University of Gorizia, are in line with a vocation for studies that the city has had throughout its history. Gorizia has been the centre of renowned colleges and high schools, attracting students from all over the territory of the County of Gorizia and Gradisca and teachers of the highest level. One of these, still too little known, was the philosopher Richard von Schubert Soldern, who taught at the Staatsgymnasium of Gorizia from 1899 to 1915. He was born in Prague on December 14, 1852, to a non-Bohemian but German family. He obtained two degrees, in history and geography at the University of Prague and in philosophy and natural sciences at the University of Leipzig, where he taught for a few years. Then, it is not clear why, he preferred to switch to teaching in high schools, and it was in Marburg, in Gorizia and finally, during the First World War, in Prague. He died in Zwettl, in modest condition, on October 19, 1924. Those spent in Gorizia were the most serene years of Schubert Soldern's life (in the biographical profile drawn up of him by Ervino Pocar, who had been his pupil, there is mention of problems he had in his hometown by "people who did not think like him"). Here, in addition to teaching history, geography and philosophical propaedeutics, he also looked after the library (the Studienbibliothek), of which he was the director. Among the students who discovered the world of philosophy through his lectures was also the young Carlo Michelstaedter. It is strange that so far no scholar has bothered to explore the possible influence that Schubert Soldern, an immanentist and solipsist philosopher, could have on Michelstaedter's thought. Surely the personality of the professor did not fail to contribute to the choice that the student would then make to address the study of philosophy. Only one of Schubert Soldern's works, Grundlagen zu einer Ethik (Fundamentals of Ethics), was translated and published in Italy, in 1966, by Ervino Pocar. Three more of his writings, Grundlagen einer Erkenntnistheorie (Foundations of a Theory of Knowledge), Das menschliche Glück und die soziale Frage (Human Happiness and the Social Question) and Die menschliche Erziehung (Human Education), were translated by Pocar, but remained unpublished despite his efforts to publish them. It would be a praiseworthy initiative if some local publishing house could obtain the texts from Pocar's heirs and publish them, thus contributing to the knowledge of both the translator and his teacher philosopher. It would be an excellent way of honouring those who were our fellow-citizens for about fifteen years and who at that time were able to open many young minds to the fascination of philosophical thought.