Briefe aus der Frühromantik

I. Biographical Essays; — II. Background Materials; — III. Biographies in German

I. Biographical Essays

The following classic biographical essays provide overviews of Caroline’s life and letters from various angles of vision. I present them here in chronological order and include the introductions to the editions of 1871 and 1913 as well as Luise Wiedemann’s memoirs (Caroline’s sister), which were composed during the 1840s but not published until 1929.

Readers wholly unfamiliar with Caroline and the period may want to begin, after reading the project introduction, with the pieces by Cecily Sidgwick and Karl Hillebrand, both of which, significantly perhaps, were originally published in English and both of which provide fairly detailed overviews.

See also the information concerning Caroline’s gravesite in Maulbronn and the commemorative program in Maulbronn in 2009.

II. Background Materials

Germany in the late Eighteenth Century. For readers outside German studies proper, and even for many specialists, the political and geographical organization of Germany during the late-eighteenth century can be a confusing and even incoherent collection of principalities, territories, kingdoms, duchies, and towns whose relationships and even boundaries are anything but transparent. Why was Caroline advised to appeal to the administration in Hannover while she was incarcerated in Königstein? Why did several different duchies have a say in Fichte’s troubles at the university in Jena? These chapters from Jakob Gottlieb Isaak Boetticher’s contemporary description of Germany (translation 1800) provide a concise if decidedly dry presentation of the overall imperial system of governance and a detailed description of the specific territorial dependencies and hierarchies that play a role in Caroline’s life.

Concerning German University Life 1826. This illuminating background account of German university life, written in 1826, still reflects the circumstances with which Caroline was familiar from childhood on and which her letters copiously reflect.

A Word About Honorific Titles. Before beginning with the letters themselves, especially readers less familiar with German social customs might profit from this brief introduction to the use of honorific titles in German society at the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth century.

Currencies and Their Abbreviations. Brief remarks on the various currencies and their abbreviations that appear throughout this correspondence.

The Leipzig trade and book fairs. Caroline’s world was a world eminently centered in what has been called the Golden Age of German Literature. Not suprisingly, the Leipzig book fairs (part of the more broadly understood Leipzig trade fairs) play a recurring role in this correspondence.

III. Biographies in German

  • Appel, Sabine. Caroline Schlegel-Schelling: Das Wagnis der Freiheit. Eine Biographie. Munich 2013.
  • Keil, Erika. Wir sind Romantiker. Luzern 2013.
  • Klessmann, Eckart. Caroline: Das Leben der Caroline Michaelis-Böhmer-Schlegel-Schelling 1763–1809. Munich 1975.
  • Klessmann, Eckart. Universitätsmamsellen. Fünf aufgeklärte Frauen zwischen Rokoko, Revolution und Romantik. Frankfurt am Main 2008.
  • Romantische Liebe und romantischer Tod: Über den Bamberger Aufenthalt von Caroline Schlegel, August Wilhelm Schlegel und Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling im Jahre 1800. Fussnoten zur Literatur 48 Edited by Wulf Segebrecht et al. Bamberg 2000.
  • Rossbeck, Brigitte. Zum Trotz glücklich: Caroline Schlegel-Schelling. Munich 2008.
  • Seidenbecher, Erika. Romantisch soll die Liebe sein: Eine Erzählung über Caroline Schlegel-Schelling. Berlin 2012.
  • Sichtermann, Barbara. Ein freies Frauenzimmer: Caroline Schlegel-Schelling. Berlin 2013.

See also Marianne Thoms’s Podcast (in German) and Göttingen Silhouettes