Supplementary Appendix 319.1

Henrik Steffens’s reception in Bamberg, spring 1801 [*]

From Frankfurt I now continued on alone to Bamberg. . . . Röschlaub, Marcus, Professor Paulus with his wife, who were staying in Bamberg at the time, [1] were expecting me.

I arrived toward evening, and for some serendipitous reason set off without any companion, carrying my portmanteau myself. Thus did I then enter the Bamberger Hof, [2] at the time the town’s grandest inn.

A great throng of people was in the streets, an annual trade fair had drawn many from the surrounding areas, and they were just about to break down their tents and booths, load up their wagons, and depart. The innkeeper and tally-keepers were quite busy, and when I finally succeeded in getting the waiter’s attention, who was hurrying by, he looked at me from top to bottom and assured me derisively that there was certainly no space for me. When I rather forcefully held him fast and assured him in my own turn that I had no intention of leaving, he suggested I take a room in the attic, facing the back courtyard. I assured him yet again that I needed to have two of the best rooms on the second story, and that, indeed, the packed wagons outside sufficiently proved that such were available.

He gaped at me, I pulled my money bag out, which I had filled with gold pieces in Frankfurt, and jangled it before him, remarking that surely rooms of the sort I wished could be found. While I was standing there, a manservant approached and asked the waiter whether Doctor Steffens had arrived. The waiter, unable to get rid of me, answered with an annoyed no! — I then identified myself to the servant, whom Paulus had dispatched, and told him I would immediately pay my visit.

Although I was certain enough that this scene would make an impression of some sort on the waiter, I was astonished at the enormous transformation that took place in him. It was quite clear that they were expecting me in the inn, and he veritably assaulted me with apologies, and I quite received all that I wished.

When shortly thereafter I paid my visit to Paulus, I learned the reason.

They had, since they were certain I would arrive, rented the grand hall in that same inn. Those who were kindly disposed toward me, namely, Paulus, Marcus, and Röschlaub, had planned a grand midday meal for the following day to which several of the most respected families had been invited, as well as a large number of young physicians from the medical institute.


Those familiar with my own youth will understand the impression such a distinction could not but make on me. The two renowned physicians received me in a way that has remained unforgettable for me. Although I was dressed in a suit that was frankly inappropriate for such a ceremonious reception, such did not at all embarrass me as I sat down between Madam Paulus and a merry niece of Marcus. For the first time in my life, I was the object of general respect, indeed, homage. Two of Germany’s most renowned physicians spoke about me with an element of respect and acknowledgement that simultaneously elevated and shamed me.

While sitting in my room late on the evening following this day that had been so magnificent for me, I felt truly peculiar, as it there was something exaggerated and inappropriate about this entire scene. Indeed, I frankly found it rather difficult to be particular joyful about it. Then it suddenly dawned on me for whom this event would have been a grand, unadulterated, wonderful bit of news.

I recalled the confidence with which my poor father had prophesied a distinguished future for me, and how he had put all his hopes on me. He had borne my most oppressive misery along with me, and made it easier to bear. I lived wholly in the tiny room in Rendsburg, amid the most profound poverty, with my brother and my father, who suffered quietly but also consoled me. Had the news of this day every reached him, how joyous would he have felt. Why was he, of all people, no longer alive? And thus did I spend the night, after such a happy day, amid tears.

I spent several days in Bamberg in the most pleasant fashion, as one might well imagine. Röschlaub informed me that the reigning episcopal coadjutor was expecting a visit from me. I visited him, and although he invited me to dine, I had to decline because my wardrobe would not allow me to accept such an honor.

I openly revealed the reason, and that I was in the midst of a foot journey. The ecclesiastical gentleman did, however, send me a sizable number of bottles of various kinds of wine from his cellar, and as a foot traveler I would certainly have been in not inconsiderable straits had I not been visited the entire day by young physicians. It is not improbable that this generous hospitality considerably enhanced the number of visitors and the veneration I enjoyed.

I later told Schelling that these merry days in Bamberg doubtlessly quite nicely increased the literary enthusiasm for the philosophy of nature, attracting a whole throng of excellent followers for him. . . . I recall fondly the serene day I spent on the Altenburg, on the top of that beautiful mountain where the physician Marcus had arranged the old castle he owned there as a summer residence. [3] From its vantage, one can overlook the beautiful old town with its multiple towers as well as the broad area surrounding it. When I stood here again in 1837, the castle had a new owner, and many changes had taken place. The grounds had been enhanced, and a monument for the universally respected and greatly appreciated physician reminded me in a quite melancholy fashion of the days I had once spent here.


[*] Henrik Steffens, Was ich erlebte 4:348–54. Steffens had just accompanied Nikolaus Möller as far as Frankfurt on the latter’s trip to Paris (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):


Representative illustration of meal in Steffens’s honor: Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, Von Berlin nach Danzig. Eine Künstlerfahrt im Jahre 1773 von Daniel Chodowiecki. 108 Lichtdrucke nach den Originalen in der Akademie der Künste in Berlin. Mit erläuterndem Text und einer Einführung von Professor Dr. W[olfgang] von Oettingen [Berlin, Amsler & Ruthardt, Kunsthändler o.J. (1883), plates 94. Back.

[1] See Dorothea Veit’s letter to Schleiermacher on 28 July 1800 (letter 265i), note 2. Back.

[2] Concerning the location of the Bamberger Hof, where Wilhelm, Caroline, and Schelling stayed after Auguste’s death the previous summer and autumn, see Auguste’s letter to Cäcilie Gotter on 16 May 1800 (letter 260), note 12 (with illustration); and esp. Friedrich’s and Dorothea’s letter to Wilhelm after 21 July 1800 (letter 265e), note 1 (with illustrations). Back.

[3] Concerning the Altenburg castle, see Auguste’s letter to Cäcilie Gotter on 16 May 1801 (letter 260), note 10. Back.

Translation © 2015 Doug Stott