Letter 162a

162a. Friedrich Schlegel to Wilhelm Schlegel in Braunschweig: Dresden, February 1796 [*]

[Dresden, February 1796]

. . . I would like to see you review a classical work more often. After the beginning you have already made, it would surely be easy for you to acquire considerable expertise in such judgment. If I were in your place, I would review Meister for the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, [1] and would at the very least reserve the right to send back what I did not like; [2] for the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung is indeed like the sheepfold of Christ insofar as it accepts both the good and the bad.

I cannot tell you more than that today, for I do not really feel so well and am in a rather cheerless mood. This is also the reason I am not writing to Karoline today. Give her my warm regards and thank her for her last letter. I always look forward to a letter from you two. And I in my own turn will also write again soon. . . .

Tell Karoline that Theremin sur les intérêts politiques de l’Angleterre relativement aux pouvoirs continentals is not a cookbook, but an extremely original and imaginative characterization of the English that provides an extremely witty exposition of their difference from the Europeans and similarity with the Japanese, Chinese, and Jews. [3] . . .

Stay well, you happy people, and write soon.



[*] Sources: Walzel, 263–64; KFSA 23:282. Back.

[1] As it turned out, Friedrich himself would publish a characterization of Goethe’s novel as “Über Goethes Meister,” in Athenaeum (1798), 147–78 (KFSA 2:126–46). Back.

[2] That is, to decline to review materials he, Wilhelm, thought unworthy. Back.

[3] Charles Theremin, Des intérêts des puissances continentales relativement a l’Angleterre (Paris l’an III [1794/95]). Back.

Translation © 2011 Doug Stott