LENZ, Robert (Robert Hristianovič Lenc). Dorpat (Tartu) 23.1./4.2.1808 — St. Petersburg 30.7./11.8.1836. Russian (German from Estonia) Indologist. Son of Christian Lenz, the secretary of municipal council of Dorpat and Luise Elisabeth Wolff, brother of the physicist Academician Heinrich Emil Lenz. After Gymnasium in Dorpat in 1820-24 he studied theology at Dorpat University in 1824-28. From 1828 taught at Reval (Tallinn) Cathedral School, in 1829-30 as Oberlehrer. In St.Petersburg a decision was made to train an Indologist for the Imperial Academy and the choice fell on Lenz, who in 1831 was sent to Berlin and studied there three years Indology under Bopp. Ph.D. 1832 Berlin (diss. not known). After a while in St.Petersburg, where he prepared a catalogue of the Sanskrit manuscripts in the Asiatic Museum, he went to England in 1834 to study manuscripts in London and Oxford, collecting among other things new critical material about the Vikramorvaśī. In July 1835 he returned via Paris to St.Petersburg, became Adjunkt at Imperial Academy and in 1836 started teaching Sanskrit and comparative grammar at University. Unmarried.
Lenz had collected much material and had great plans, but premature death cut short his career. In addition to Sanskrit and MIA, he had studied Hindi, Bengali, Avesta and Tibetan. His notes were later used by Bollensen and Grill in their resp. editions of the Vikramorvaśī and the Veṇīsamhara. Among his unrealized plans was a translation of the Lalitavistara and an edition of the Prakṛtapiṅgala, and he was not able to publish his studies on Indian aesthetics, metrics and musical theory and on the Hindi epic Prithvīrāja Rāso. He was the first to teach Sanskrit in Russia. Among his few students was Petrov.
Publications: Urvasia, fabula Calidasi, textum sanscritum edidit, interpretationem latinam et notas illustrantes adjecit. 25+238 p. B. 1833; Apparatus criticus ad Urvasiam. 36 p. B. 1834 (additions from manuscripts in England).
– “Bericht über eine im Asiat. Museum des kais. Akad. der Wiss. zu St.Petersburg deponierte Sammlung Sanskrit-Manuscripte”, St.-Petersburger Zeitung 1833, 15 p, abridged translation in JA 2:12, 1833, 548–567.
– “Account of the Sabda Kalpa Druma, a Sanskrit Encyclopaedical Lexicon, publ. in Calcutta by Rádhákánta Deva”, JRAS 2, 1835, 188-200; articles in ŽMNP.
– “Analyse du Lalita-vistara-pourana, l’un des principaux ouvrages sacrés des bouddhistes de l’Asie centrale, contenant la vie de leur prophète”, Bull. de l’Acad. Imp. 1, 1836, 49-51, 57-63, 71f., 75-78, 87f., 92-96, 97-99.
Sources: Bongard-Levin & Vigasin 1984, 65-67; Hallik & Klaassen 2002, 173-175; J. Klatt in A.D.B. 18, 1883, 279; *A.M. Kulikova, “R.H. Lenc v istorii otečestvennoj indologii”, Tartu ülikooli ajaloo küsimusi 8, 1979; W. Lenz, Deutschbaltisches biographisches Lexikon 1740-1960. Köln & Vienna 1970, 447f.; *L. Mserianc, “K istorii sanskritologii v Rossii (neizdannye materialy k biografii Roberta Lenca i prof. Pavla Jak. Petrova). Posvjaščaetsja pamjati Franca Boppa”, Novyj Vostok 1, 1922, 309-315; *Vigasin 2008, 82–87; Windisch 144; *G. A. Zograf, UZLGU 1960:2; *Recueil des actes des séances publ. de l’Acad. imp. des sciences de St.Pét. 1836, 11-14; German and Russian Wikipedia.