Supplementary Appendix 252g.1

Daniel Jenisch’s Diogenes Laterne
and Friedrich Schlegel



In his letter to Fichte on 3 November 1799 (letter 252g), Friedrich Schlegel mentions objectionable passages in Daniel Jenisch’s Diogenes Laterne in connection with Dorothea Veit and Schleiermacher. [1]

(1) One piece was a fictional “billet-doux”(love letter) from Dorothea to Friedrich: [2]

Billet-doux from the divorced Madam Veit, of the Jewish nation,
currently half-married to Friedrich Schlegel, [3]
to Herr Friedrich Schlegel concerning his novel Lucinde

Dearest, you who even amid vexation are the most beloved Hellene of my heart! It is no light cloud of mist that the appearance of your novel has spread over my countenance; like Juno would I smolder in anger, like Ajax rage, when I consider how shamelessly in this work of your divine genius you exposed both of us naked before the gazing eyes of the respectable German reading public! And truly! no critic will fashion, as did the Lord God for Adam and Eve, garments of fur to cover our nakedness. It is as if you wanted to paint for the eyes of all the world a picture of the two of us celebrating the most beautiful moments of divine sexual intercourse, and in the Holy of Holies of the religion of love, and to do so with Rubenesque garishness served by the truth of the artist’s brush.

For true it surely is! You know the most secret folds of my chaste garment, “blouse” in German; in so many enchanting hours have I been your loin-naked Spartan lady. So why now tell and paint all this for the public? Why expose me to the mockery and finger-pointing of the ladies and gentlemen of Berlin?

I recently visited a lady friend, and what do I find on her reading table, alongside your Lucinde, but my father’s Phädon. [4] What vexing hurtfulness! how that pierced right through me! Alas, beloved! Take delight in my most secret secrets, but do not write about them in public etc.

Editor’s note: As the reader can easily see from the italicized passages, this billet is written wholly in the Grecizing artistic style of the Messieurs Schlegel. Hence, e.g., here, too, “Hellene” essentially means Greek etc. Our readers would find the authenticity of this billet even less subject to doubt were we permitted to name the hand from whom we received it. But de occultis etc.

(2) Another passage was simply the publication announcement of “Briefe eines Berlinischen Lustmädchens über Herrn Friedrich Schlegels Roman Lucinde, ein fortlaufender physischer Commentar zu dieser Metaphysik des Beyschlafs (Letters of a Berlin woman of pleasure concerning Friedrich Schlegel’s novel Lucinde, a continuous physical commentary on this metaphysics of sexual intercourse), [5] for which the editors were accepting pre-subscriptions, hoping also thereby to “earn considerable merit on behalf of German morals and German taste.”

(3) A third passage involves both Schleiermacher and Henriette Herz: [6]

A sample of Berlin wit.

Last year during her stay in the Tiergarten district, Madam Herz, a universally admired, intellectually and physically grand and beautiful woman, was seen quite often at the side of a certain Charité preacher, Schleiermacher. The cleric’s diminutive and unattractive figure, sadly distorted by a humpback, contrasted so violently with the grand and beautiful woman that the Berliners, who mock all that is both sacred and non-sacred, began referring to the poor cleric as Madam Herz’s folded green parasol (for one always saw the good man clothed in the color of hope).

Johann Daniel Falk picks up on this motif in part of the the frontispiece illustration “Jahrmarkt zu Plundersweilern” to his own Taschenbuch für Freunde des Scherzes und der Satire 5 (1801) (Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung; Schleiermacher, a copy of his Über die Religion: Reden an die Gebildeten unter ihren Verächtern in his coat pocket, and Henriette Herz, bottom left corner): [7]


Here a closeup of the excerpt with Schleiermacher and Henriette Herz; to the right: Ludwig Tieck astride his “puss ‘n boots”, trampling Wieland, Klopstock, Lessing, and Ramler, and shouting, “This whole market, nothing but rags and baloney!”:


That this satire was not intended as good-natured fun emerges from a comparison between its portrayal of Henriette Herz and that of a “young Jewess of the latest fashion” in the Taschenbuch für die Kinder Israels oder Almanach für unsre Leute (Berlin 1804), the latter a Berlin publication allegedly intended for the “children of Israel or: almanach for our people” but in reality a transparent and crude but not uncommon anti-Semitic statement (illustration: Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):


One might also note in the on the final two arched shelves on the right the “bundles”: Schellings Erläuterungen, “Schelling’s explications,” Anweisung zum Beyschlaf, “instructions for sexual intercourse,” and Biographien Berliner Freudenmädchen, “biographies of Berlin’s ladies of the night”:


(4) And finally, Jenisch engages wordplay with reference to the name Schlegel itself: [7a]

Refutation of the blasphemous confusion between the great name “Schlegel” and the coarse word “Flegel” [lout, boor, churl, clown]

We simply cannot comprehend how given even a slight acquaintance with German literature and with even halfway healthy eyesight a person can fall into such confusion regarding a name of the sort we have nonetheless found in one of the most widely read journals. Was it perhaps the delicate font of the literary “Notizen” in the latest issue of Athenaeum of the Schlegel brothers* [*Editor’s footnote: The Schlegelianisms of the great fraternal pair are printed with extremely delicate font in this particular issue of Athenaeum] that deluded some feeble eye into falling into such strange misperception?

In a letter to Schleiermacher on 16 January 1800, Friedrich complained about the passage referring to Dorothea that was cited in an announcement in the Allgemeine Zeitung in Stuttgart: [8]

The Allgemeine Zeitung recently carried a publication announcement of Diogenes Laterne, where in an excerpt from no. XI Madam Veit is referred and the strongest passages excerpted. I attacked the editor because of it, and finally gave in and pressed charges. But I still have not yet received any response from Leipzig. Dorothea knows I have pressed charges but does not know anything about the specific reason, which would only have irritated her anew.

Friedrich is referring to a supplement to the Allgemeine Zeitung (Tübingen, Stuttgart, Augsburg) (1799) 349 (15 December 1799) 1543, which provides a look at the table of contents for Diogenes Laterne, remarking among other things: [9]

11. Allgemeiner Reichsanzeiger, an emergency and assistance guide for all sorts of the most recent transgressions attested in the century. Here, among other sights, one has a billet doux from the real Lucinde to the famous author of the crude epicurean novel by this name, Herr Friedrich Schlegel; in which billet from the refined Berlin Jewess one reads, among other things, in the mystic Greek Jargon of the great creator of Lucinde : “Dearest Schlegel–Hellene of my heart! You know, alas, you know — every fold of my Chaste garment, blouse in German. So why tell all this to the public?” — From this simple announcement the reader can at least discern that what Diogenes Laterne has to offer is not quite of the quotidian sort; indeed, in most of the essays in this diminutive work one will hardly fail to recognize one of our most popular authors of novels and travelogues. [10]

Friedrich’s “attack” is referring to his missive to the Intelligenzblatt of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (1800) 3 (Saturday, 4 January 1800) 23–24 under “Vermischte Anzeigen” and dated 30 December 1799, in which he wrote:

The supplement to the Allgemeine Zeitung on 15 December 1799 contains an announcement of Diogenes Laterne and an excerpt from no. XI of the same containing a crude pasquinade against me. Since no upright man could possibly knowingly offer his hand in disseminating such vileness, the editor of the Allgemeine Zeitung presumably did not read this insertion before its publication. I herewith demand that he declare such and to apologize for the insult to me he unknowingly published; otherwise he will himself become culpable of participation in this pathetic and dishonorable pasquinade, whose author, whom I do indeed know, is by no means, as insinuated, a popular author of novels and travelogues, but rather a scholar who has already once been publicly reprimanded as a falsarius, [11] and one who this time will not escape the punishment of the court.

Jena, 30 December 1799

Friedrich Schlegel

The editor of the Allgemeine Zeitung, Ludwig Ferdinand Huber, did indeed issue a qualified response. To his credit, Christian Gottfried Schütz declined to publish the same announcement in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung in Jena. [12] Huber’s response appeared in the supplement to the Allgemeine Zeitung on 26 January 1800; it reads in part:

It is quite right that the editor of the Allgemeine Zeitung first became acquainted with the announcement of Diogenes Laterne in the supplement of 15 December, and he quite readily declares herewith that he judges the passage concerning which Herr Friedrich Schlegel is complaining no differently than any person insulted by this passage, just as he was when he read the passage in the announced piece itself with the same repugnance any upright person would feel. At the same time, however, the editor of the Allgemeine Zeitung must also declare that he owes no one even the least apology for the fact that this particular bookseller announcement was indeed printed in the supplement of 15 December, since insertions of this sort are quite independent of his editorial duties, are printed without his knowledge not in Stuttgart, but in Tübingen, and that he never sees them in any case, neither before nor during printing, and now as before foregoes any sort of criticism, since the supplements to the Allgemeine Zeitung with respect to such insertions are to be viewed merely as the usual, ordinary sort of Intelligenzblatt. . . .


[1] Jenisch’s book had 379 pages, 359–79 of which contained a satire modeled on the “Litterarischer Reichsanzeiger oder Archiv der Zeit und ihres Geschmacks” in Athenaeum (1799) 328–40 (in which Jenisch himself was pilloried; see Friedrich’s undated letter to Caroline in late April 1799 [letter 236], note 14), Jenisch calling his section “Allgemeiner satyrischer Reichsanzeiger,” with the descriptive subtitle “in which various political, literary, moral, and economic queries, rebukes, warnings, and announcements are published for the benefit of the public that is eager to learn; an emergency brochure to aid with all sorts of the most recent transgressions of the century.” The primary targets of satire were Fichte, the Schlegels, Dorothea Veit, and Schleiermacher. The book’s title alludes to the cynic philosopher Diogenes of Sinope (ca. 404–323 BCE), who according to one anecdote wandered about during daylight with a lantern saying he was looking for an honest person but could find only scoundrels. Back.

[2] Diogenes Laterne, 374–76; repr. in KFSA 25: 385; KGA V/3 241–42. Back.

[3] Falk’s footnote: “[The reference is to] Madame Veit, whose acquaintance Herr Friedrich Schlegel made in Berlin and who for his sake divorced her previous husband after eleven years of marriage. The novel Lucinde and this associated story were the object of general laughter in all of Berlin.” Back.

[4] Moses Mendelssohn, Phädon oder über die Unsterblichkeit der Seele (Amsterdam 1767); Eng. Phädon: or, On the Immortality of the Soul, trans. Patricia Noble and David Shavin (New York 2007). Back.

[5] Diogenes Laterne, 363–64. Back.

[6] Diogenes Laterne, 378–79; Jenisch had frequented social gatherings in the salon of Henriette Herz in Berlin. Back.

[7] The “caricature,” as it is described there, accompanied the play in this same issue with the title “Der Jahrmarkt zu Plundersweilern: Parodie des Göthischen,” 307–90. Back.

[7a] Diogenes Laterne, 376. Back.

[8] Aus Schleiermacher’s Leben 3:149; KGA V/3 350; KFSA 25:47–48. Back.

[9] Repr. in Fambach 510–11; KFSA 25:410–11fn29; KGA V/3 350fn. Back.

[10] Presumably Friedrich Nicolai; see project bibliography for works cited thus far in this edition, including a travelogue. Back.

[11] Latin, “forger.” see Friedrich Schlegel’s letter to Schleiermacher around 15 November 1799 (letter 255c) with note 13. Back.

[12] See his letter to Wilhelm Schlegel on 20 October 1799 (letter 249c). Back.

Translation © 2013 Doug Stott