The Break with Schiller [*]
The relationship between Schiller, on the one hand, and Wilhelm and Friedrich Schlegel, on the other, was a complicated affair affected not only by literary and philosophical positions, but also, especially in Friedrich’s case, by personality conflicts. Schiller had been disinclined toward Friedrich from their first, albeit brief meeting in Dresden on 14 April 1792, during which Friedrich’s behavior prompted Schiller’s well-known description of Friedrich as an “immodest, cold witling.” 
Friedrich, however, continued to follow especially Schiller’s aesthetic-philosophical essays, and his friendship with Christian Gottfried Körner in Dresden, where Friedrich moved in January 1794 (just before Caroline and Auguste moved to Gotha), provided a mediator of sorts between the two men.
That said, Caroline’s and Wilhelm’s influence on Friedrich during this period seems clearly to have had a negative effect on his assessment of Schiller. By the autumn of 1793, under the influence especially of Schiller’s treatise “Ueber Anmuth und Würde,”  Friedrich was drifting away from Schiller the thinker and poet while yet grudgingly acknowledging his greatness as a person.
As documented in the letters in this present edition, after Wilhelm returned to Germany from Amsterdam in the summer of 1795 and was unable to secure a position at the Collegium Carolinum in Braunschweig, he began investigating a literary and university career. Schiller’s invitation to contribute not only to his new periodical Die Horen, but also to his literary Almanach immediately got Wilhelm’s attention, and in December 1795 he was already inquiring of Schiller concerning the possibility of a university career in Jena; not only was Schiller’s response encouraging in this regard, he also established contact between Wilhelm and the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung. 
That latter contact, however, quickly prompted a slight pique on Schiller’s part because of Wilhelm’s review of the poetic contributions in Die Horen (1795) issues 1–10 in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, [3a] namely, what to Schiller seemed the unequal treatment of Goethe and himself, the latter clearly receiving more unqualified praise. Schiller wrote to Wilhelm von Humboldt on 25 January 1796: 
Your zealousness against [Wilhelm] Schlegel’s review greatly delighted me, my good friend. There is no question that you are right; moreover, if I remember correctly, I explicitly wrote to you myself that I was not satisfied with it. I merely expected less than you and for that reason could be more easily satisfied. Schlegel is much too much a coquette to resist the temptation to give himself a voice instead of remaining with the object as he should.
At the same time, Schiller was pleased with Wilhelm’s poetic contributions to his Musen-Almanach; indeed, Wilhelm was one of only three contributors (the other two being Goethe and Johann Gottfried Herder), who received an honorarium. Wilhelm’s most important contributions were perhaps his essays and translations of Shakespeare, including excerpts from Romeo and Juliet and The Tempest and the essay “Etwas über William Shakespeare.” 
That is, Wilhelm, especially after relocating to Jena, was enjoying an essentially salutary relationship with Schiller, especially professionally, while Friedrich’s relationship seems still to have been languishing under the initial impression he had made on Schiller back in 1792. Although Schiller rejected one of Friedrich’s contributions for his periodical Die neue Thalia in late 1794, he did eventually mention the possibility to Friedrich of contributing to Die Horen. Although Christian Gottfried Körner tried to broker Friedrich’s work in this context, Schiller still found the material too heavy-handed and confused, and in general turned a cold shoulder to his advances.
Continued support from Körner and Wilhelm von Humboldt finally prompted Schiller to send Friedrich greetings (albeit only through Körner) and a promise to write. It was at this point that Friedrich offered him the essay “Cäsar und Alexander” for Die Horen.  Although Schiller seems to have begun warming up to the possibility of accepting Friedrich’s essays in Die Horen, Friedrich was already drifting away from Schiller the thinker, not least because of his, Friedrich’s, incipient acquaintance with Fichte’s work and, after Friedrich’s own arrival in Jena in August 1796, with Fichte.
Friedrich had already finished the treatise “Ueber das Studium der griechischen Poesie” in the autumn of 1795.  Although the treatise was essentially Friedrich’s contribution to the contemporary debate concerning the querelle des anciens et des modernes, its conception if not its delayed publication coincided with one of Schiller’s own treatises dealing with a certain facet of that topic from a different perspective. Concerning the disposition of Friedrich’s treatise, see the following summary: [7a]
This treatise is the more extensive and self-contained of Schlegel’s works at the time. At the same time, it is also the most significant, since in it Schlegel developed a conception of history that for the first time understood Greek poesy within a relationship with modern poesy. This conception struck out on a path subsequently followed by the entirety of Idealism. In the opposition between “objectivity” and “interest,” Schlegel tried to distinguish the uniqueness of Greek culture from that of post-antiquity.
Among the Greeks, he declared, poesy constituted a “natural” unity with societal life, a unity subsequently lost in post-antiquity, i.e., in the modern world. At fault was the development of “subjectivity,” of the “interesting” individual, as a result of which the modern world is internally fragmented and essentially expresses a “crisis” that must be overcome, albeit not by returning to the past, but by “subjectivity” itself generating a new “objective” element. Schlegel saw this tendency in the works of Goethe.
From the perspective of intellectual history, the significance of this treatise consists in its uniting of the normative ethics of thinkers as early as Winckelmann with the historicism of Herder. His tripartite understanding of the historical process draws from eighteenth-century Christian typology of the sort passed down especially by the historical constructions of Pietism, though now concretized in the sense of a dialectic according to which the “crisis,” as the antithesis of a thesis, is the presupposition of the synthesis of both. Novalis and Hegel developed similar conceptions after Schlegel. This contrast between “objective” and “interesting,” moreover, clearly recalls Schiller’s own treatise, which was written at the same time, except that Schiller did not define his categories in terms of historical consequences, as did Schlegel.
In his Studium-essay, Schlegel thus succeeded in providing not only a historical definition of antiquity, but also and in particular one for modernity itself. . . . the historical conception overall, one that understands a better future arising from the inferior present, is also accenting this particular present, and this accentuation clearly goes beyond the “Grecomania” not only of Winckelmann, but of Schlegel himself. For Schlegel, overcoming the present “crisis,” the “interesting,” clearly paralleled the events in France.
That is, the aesthetic and political revolutions constituted a unity, and it was this actualization of his own interest in the Greeks that constituted the presupposition of the literary theory he would work out during the next few years.
Unfortunately, Schiller’s pieces on the naive and sentimental poetic sensibility appeared after Friedrich’s treatise had already been sent to the publisher, whose negligence, moreover, compounded the problem by preventing it from appearing until a full year later. It was Schiller’s treatise especially of the sentimental sensibility that drew Friedrich’s attention, since it clarified much that he had discussed in “Ueber das Studium” under the rubric of the “interested” modern sensibility, except that Schiller had given it a positive understanding rather than viewing it as a crisis as had Friedrich.
Indeed, that sentimental (more modern) sensibility was now seen as the equal of if different from the naive, originally Greek sensibility, and it is in this sense that, as Josef Körner remarks, one can say that it was Schiller himself, by providing Friedrich with a more positive assessment of the modern sensibility and despite Friedrich’s problems with other parts of Schiller’s article on the sentimental, who turned Friedrich into a romantic, viz. an advocate and theorist of a literary and artistic sensibility decidedly different from but equal to that of antiquity. 
In the meantime, however, Friedrich’s own piece, “Ueber das Studium,” had still not been published, so in February 1796 he finished what was later inserted into that piece as an — in reality: ill-suited — preface insofar as he takes the side of modernity (his “interested,” Schiller’s “sentimental” sensibility), something he did not do as positively in the treatise itself, where the “interested” or modern sensibility was viewed more as a “crisis.”  At the same time, fundamental differences between the points of departure and other underlying conceptions still drew Friedrich in a different direction than had he simply accepted Schiller’s entire premise.
Schiller in any case continued to behave coolly toward Friedrich with respect to inclusion in Die Horen. Friedrich still had materials he wanted to publish and, frankly, financial concerns, and it was in this context that he made the acquaintance of Johann Friedrich Reichardt through the meditation of the publisher of “Ueber das Studium,” Salomo Michaelis, who also passed along to Reichardt Friedrich’s severe review of Schiller’s Musen-Almanach für das Jahr 1796. In the review,  Friedrich also took Schiller’s poem “Würde der Frauen” to task, quipping that
strictly speaking, although the piece cannot really count as a poem, neither the material nor the unity being poetic, it can gain by exchanging the rhythms in thought and reading the entirety of stanzas backwards. Here, too, the portrayal is idealized, except in the reverse direction, namely, backward instead of forward, and rather far beneath truth. Such men need to be bound hand and foot, and such women need a leash and safety cap.” 
Friedrich did, however, continue to praise Schiller’s grandeur as a person and his focus on an infinite (i.e., unattainable, whence certain shortcomings) goal. Like Wilhelm, however, his comparison between Schiller and Goethe, and certainly his concluding assessment, was not flattering to Schiller:
A comparison between Schiller and Goethe can be equally instructive and entertaining if one can avoid merely seeking out antitheses and instead assesses a great man by placing a mighty weight on the other side of the scale. It would be unfair to compare the former with the latter as a poet, the latter, after all, being someone who can hardly keep from perfecting in his own fashion even the most modest of materials, and who with admirable self-restraint remains true to his original goal even at the risk of being uninteresting and trivial. . . .
Schiller’s poesy not infrequently eclipses the philosophical content even of quite highly respected scholarly works, and his historical and philosophical essays elicit admiration not only for their poetic flight and the diction of an experienced rhetorician, but also for the acumen of a profound thinker and for their human power and dignity. Although a healthy imagination, once decimated, cannot be revived, the overall scope of Schiller’s essence can only ascend and is secure against the kind of flaccidity into which even the greatest of artists, ones who are only such, can sink in foreign territory during moments of careless relaxation or cheeky neglect, during the period between youthful floresclence and manly maturity, or in the autumn of one’s intellectual life. 
Friedrich was essentially assessing Goethe and Schiller according to the conceptions of the objective and interesting (in Schiller’s terminology: of the naive and sentimental) he had already posited in his piece “Ueber das Studium.” Before arriving in Jena, Friedrich did in any case alert Wilhelm that he did not want Schiller to suspect him of being in too close an alliance with Reichardt, whose journal Deutschland was so transparently hostile to Schiller and Goethe. Friedrich was also still hoping Schiller might yet publish his essay on “Cäsar und Alexander” at the time. Schiller, however, kept putting him off, though Körner had tried to assure Schiller that Friedrich was yet to be counted as an admirer despite the review of the Musen-Almanach.
In a kind of literary tit-for-tat, however, Schiller then used the occasion of the Xenien to fire his own volley at Friedrich, since the same issue of Deutschland that contained Friedrich’s review of the Musen-Almanach also contained excerpts of “Ueber das Studium,” excerpts from which Schiller drew (they were published there out of context in any case) in castigating not only Friedrich’s “grecomania,” but also the more severe parts of his review of Schiller’s own Musen-Almanach. 
Friedrich had already published a review of Schiller’s Die Horen (1796) issues 2–5 in Deutschland 3 (1796) 7, no. 6, 74–97 (the issue appeared in September 1796), also understanding Schiller’s default rejection of his essay “Cäsar and Alexander” as further chastisement. Körner made one last effort at reconciling the two on 5 October 1796: 
Your castigation of Frederick Schlegel will do him no harm; but do not give him up altogether. There is power in his very faults, though not yet brought into the proper direction. He is not wanting in brains, and in such a case I can pardon indiscretion. He may still attain perspicuity, order, and taste.
It was, however, too late for reconciliation, notwithstanding Friedrich’s sequential reviews of Schiller’s Die Horen were not as vitriolic even as one might have anticipated, and, moreover, lacked the severity of his earlier review of Schiller’s Musen-Almanach für das Jahr 1796 mentioned above. He reviewed the various issues of Die Horen in three issues of Deutschland over the course of the autumn and early winter of 1796:
- review of Die Horen, 2–5, in Deutschland 3 (1796) 7, no. 6, 74–97 (Jugendschriften 2:7–17; KFSA 2:9–20);
- review of Die Horen 6, in Deutschland 3 (1796) 8, no. 10, 217–21 (Jugendschriften 2:17–20; KFSA 21–23);
- review of Die Horen 7, in Deutschland 4 (1796) 10, no. 6, 67–70 (appeared in December 1796) (Jugendschriften 2:20–21; KFSA 2:24–25).
Although he essentially reserves his praise for Wilhelm’s contributions to these issues of Die Horen, his remarks on the Xenien  were surprisingly reserved and almost good-natured, and that despite he himself having been the target of so many (he did in any case manage to misattribute one allegedly “naive” epigram to Schiller  ). Friedrich nonetheless did recognize the implications of those xenia, writing to Körner on 30 January 1797: 
With respect to Schiller, I did indeed follow the spirit of your extremely valuable advice. Shortly after the appearance of the Xenien [early October 1796], I was together with him once and was actually satisfied enough with his behavior. My own purpose at the time was simply to demonstrate to him vividly that I took them the way I had to, and the way as a matter of fact I did indeed take them quite without affectation. For I have fairly thick skin, though also a perhaps sincere but frivolous heart. I myself have a rather strong polemical side and like to see a person say both publicly and resolutely what that person both wants and believes. But I did not think it advisable to revivify a relationship that, given the utter differences between us, simply could not endure. . . .
It is no longer really that much of an honor for a young writer to contribute to Die Horen . . . But I will not retort to anything, for I hope you will take a review of the [Musen-]Almanach in Deutschland  as a retort. . . . Nor will I retort any more than necessity requires. That said, however, once one has engaged an adversary such as Schiller, it must be done with cartouches, something that, moreover, cannot but take place at the next, even slightest utterance.
Friedrich’s escalation took place in his
- review of Die Horen 8–12 in Deutschland 4 (1796) 12, no. 8, 350–61 (Jugendschriften 2:33–40; KFSA 2:38–47),
which appeared in late May 1797. Here he not only exposed an essay by Karl Ludwig Woltmann as a case of blatant plagiarism (Woltmann resigned his appointment and left Jena in late May 1797), but also derisively quipped that
Die Horen, which are constantly changing and so often deviate from their original course, now seem to be entering a period of translations. . . . How confident must the editor [i.e., Schiller] be that the public will simply accept anything if he believes he may fragment a translation of such length [a biography of Benvenuto Cellini] in a monthly periodical of the sort Die Horen claim to be? — The more recent issues of Die Horen, by accepting so many extraordinarily insignificant or even outright inferior contributions, contain numerous examples of such neglect, neglect of the sort in which many such otherwise brilliantly conceived undertakings so often end when the author is simply not up to the task. 
After unflattering comments about several contributions, e.g., the description of one poem as “positively frosty, indeed, below the freezing point,” and a contemptuous dismissal of the continuation of Caroline von Wolzogen’s (intially serialized) noval Agnes von Lilien as having “approached not only mediocrity, but the quite ordinary,”  Friedrich enumerates the new contributors to Die Horen, largely what in his opinion are clearly second-rate talents, the message to Schiller being that publishing in Die Horen was no longer, as he put it earlier, an honor. He concludes:
Counting “Theoderich” [Woltmann’s essay] — half of which, to be fair, must probably be counted as a poorly masked [viz. plagiarized] translation that employs the usual device of denigrating in annotations the author whose text is being plundered — the translations in this volume account for about thirty-seven printing sheets, that is, about half of the entirety. The volume contains excellent, mediocre, and inferior translations of excellent, mediocre, and inferior originals from the French, English, Italian, Latin, and Greek. 
It might be pointed out that at the same time Friedrich published this critique, Wilhelm was drawing part of his own income from translations in Die Horen. That considered, Schiller, having not granted Friedrich access to publishing in Die Horen (or the Musen-Almanach) in any case and thus being unable to chastise him by exclusion, not surprisingly vented his pique on Wilhelm in his letters to the latter on 31 May 1797 and 1 June 1797 (letters 181g, 182a).
Wilhlem, though culpable of having goaded Friedrich behind the scenes on (e.g., in the assessment of the poem “Würde der Frauen”), likely had not anticipated the radical nature of Schiller’s reaction in these letters and in any event could not really comfortably forfeit that source of income. His (and Caroline’s) response on 1 June 1797 (letter 182) makes a concerted, almost cloying effort to deny culpability, but to no avail, as Schiller’s indignant (and, to Caroline, rather insulting) reply demonstrates (letter 182a).
That said, however, given not only the considerable trouble Schiller was having filling up his issues of Die Horen and its disappointing sales,  but also his friendship with Goethe, who, it might be remembered, Friedrich and Wilhelm regularly praised in their reviews, Schiller was hardly in a position to adhere too rigidly to his exclusion of Wilhelm from Die Horen, nor, in fact, did he do so. It is in this light that Wilhelm’s later remarks are to be understood that he prepared as an editorial accompaniment to his own (unrealized) edition of Schiller and Goethe’s letters to him: 
These letters [Schiller to Wilhelm Schlegel on 31 May 1797 and 1 June 1797 (letter 181g, 182a)], both of which Schiller wrote in an extremely annoyed mood, were prompted by essays my brother published in a periodical [Deutschland] edited by the orchestra conductor Reichardt. But Schiller was wholly in the wrong, since it was he who in fact was the attacking party.
On my arrival in Jena, I had passed along to him the initial proofs of the piece “Ueber das Studium der Griechischen Poesie” to read. Schiller exploited this confidential gesture to include a series of mocking epigrams in the Xenien against a piece that, delayed quite by chance, had not yet even been published. In so doing, he was acting utterly contrary to all the principles of literary propriety.  Friedrich Schlegel had arrows enough in his quiver, and I could not and indeed did not want to keep him from shooting off some of them in this situation. Schiller’s letters mentioned above demonstrate how well aimed those arrows were.
In the meantime, my brother and I agreed that out of consideration of our earlier relationship with Schiller, neither of us would publish even a single line against him. My brother observed this resolution so conscientiously that he excluded from his collected works an extremely witty letter on the Xenien, and shared several epigrams and parodies solely among his friends and most intimate acquaintances. I observed the same silence.
Only after Schiller’s correspondence with Goethe  brought to light his personal hatred toward the two brothers [i.e., Friedrich and Wilhelm] did I consider myself relieved of any further considerations, and I am also using my right to speak thus publicly concerning Schiller’s works the way I have always judged them.
In any event, exclusion from Die Horen was not as terrible a threat as it may seem. I myself had been a significant contributor to the first year-and-a-half of this periodical. Now, however, it was inexorably in demise. The issues had become weaker, the printing format more spacious, and the content increasingly thin.
Yet no effort to secure anything new or entertaining could revive Die Horen because the publisher himself had already declared that the incurred losses made it impossible for him to continue. Even after Schiller’s letter of separation, Goethe still requested my [and Caroline’s] essay on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet for Die Horen. 
Even in a larger sense, Goethe became an extremely charming mediator in this situation. His cautious consideration of Schiller, which quite resembled that of a tender husband for a wife with a case of weak nerves, did not prevent him for continuing his relationship with us on a wholly cordial basis.
As sensitive as I was at the time to this falling out, one I incurred through no fault of my own, it nonetheless proved advantageous to my literary career not to have to serve any longer under a foreign flag, so to speak. Moreover, I had my hands full in any case: with Shakespeare, the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, the collection of my poems,  and finally also Athenaeum, a periodical I published together with my brother, a periodical, incidentally, that did not simply pass by [German] literary history without leaving its mark.
Although social relations between the Schillers and Schlegels in Jena were never warm in any case, for better or worse the letters exchanged later between Charlotte Schiller and her Jena friends, united in their almost visceral antipathy toward Caroline — Dame Lucifer — later provides an important source of information about Caroline and her living circumstances especially in Würzburg.
[*] Several scholars have documented the break between Friedrich Schiller and Wilhelm and Friedrich Schlegel. The following takes as its general point of departure the still excellent study by Josef Körner, Klassiker und Romantiker. Die Brüder Schlegel in ihren Beziehungen zu Schiller und Goethe (Berlin 1924), esp. chapter 1, “Im Kampf um Schiller,” 11–56; I have omitted much material in order to keep a complicated story more easily accessible to those not already familiar with it, and added other material to document more vividly some of the factors contributing to the impatience and indignation inhering especially in the relationship (never a good one in any case) between Friedrich Schlegel and Schiller. Back.
 See broadly letters 150d, 158a, 158b, 159a, 168i. Back.
[3a] Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (1796) 4 (Monday 4 January 1796) 25–32; 5 (Tuesday, 5 January 1796) 33–38; 6 (Wednesday, 6 January 1796) 41–47. Back.
 Briefwechsel zwischen Schiller und Wilhelm von HumboldtDer Briefwechsel zwischen Friedrich Schiller und Wilhelm von Humboldt, 3rd ed., ed. Albert Leitzmann [Stuttgart 1900] 269. Back.
 “Scenen aus Romeo und Julie,” Die Horen (1796) 5, no. 3, 92–104; “Szenen aus Shakespeare. Der Sturm,” Die Horen 6, no. 6, 61–82; “Etwas über William Shakespeare bey Gelegenheit Wilhelm Meisters,” Die Horen (1796) 6, no. 4, 57–112. Back.
 Eventually published in Die Griechen und Römer. Historische und kritische Versuch über das Klassische Altherthum, vol. 1 (Neustrelitz 1797), 1–250; an excerpt was published in Reichardt’s Deutschland (1796) 6, no. 8, 393–415, appearing at the end of July 1796. Back.
[7a] Klaus Peter, Friedrich Schlegel, Sammlung Metzler 171 (Stuttgart 1978), 25–26. Back.
 Josef Körner, Romantiker und Klassiker: Die Brüder Schlegel in ihren Beziehungen zu Schiller und Goethe (Berlin 1924), 33. Back.
 “Ueber das Studium,” despite its appearing a year after Schiller’s piece, was not really a piece of plagiarism on Friedrich’s part, as some later scholars maintained. Moreover, Friedrich clearly did not appropriate Schiller’s point of departure in the essence of poesy itself, developing instead a decidedly historical understanding of the same problem. Friedrich did, however, thank Schiller in letters in May and July 1796 for having profited so from the essays, pointing out that his own piece (“Ueber das Studium”) no longer really expressed his point of view, though he had nonetheless added the modest corrective of the preface. Back.
 Xenia 825–44, among others, are directed against Friedrich. Back.
 Correspondence of Schiller with Körner, trans. Leonard Simpson, 3 vols. (London 1849), 3:73. Back.
 Deutschland 4 (1796) 10. Back.
 See Caroline’s letter to Luise Gotter on 25 December 1796 (letter 175). Back.
 Cited in Körner, Romantiker und Klassiker, 201–2. Back.
 Such was not the case at all, since in the Xenien Schiller pilloried only passages from “Ueber das Studium der Griechischen Poesie” that had already been published in a preliminary fashion in Deutschland (1769) 6, 393–415. Back.
 Briefwechsel zwischen Schiller und Goethe in den Jahren 1794 bis 1805, 6 vols. (Tübingen 1828–29). Back.
 Gedichte (Tübingen 1800). Back.
Translation © 2012 Doug Stott