Letter 184

• 184. Caroline to Luise Gotter in Gotha: Jena, 14 July 1797

[Jena] 14 July [17]97

|422| I must write you today in more haste than I would prefer, my dear Louise, that I might ask you about something. Your decision to give the Geisterinsel to Schiller pleased me greatly, and he himself wants me to tell you that he would always view it as an excellent contribution, and that Cotta will soon be receiving instructions to pay out the honorarium immediately after publication. [1]

To expedite the matter, and because I am familiar with your disinclination toward writing, I took the liberty of dispatching a few lines to Einsiedel myself with regard to his consent and requested that he send his answer to you or me. I did this a week ago and still have not received an answer. He either is not in Weimar or has already sent it to you.

If you have indeed received it, and if it is not negative (and I hope it is not), please go ahead and send me the manuscript immediately. If it is not to be published in its entirety, as seems the best thing to me, Schlegel can certainly search out the most appropriate passages. – It would be quite disobliging were Einsiedel to resist. [2]

Enough of that, my dear, precious friend. Let me warmly thank you for finally having written me. According to the latest news I have from Gotha, I must apparently imagine you as now living in |423| your patriarchal home. May you enjoy an ever greater sense of peace there after the harsher matters of the present have been settled. I am yearning unspeakably for the moment when I will see you here with me again. They are prophesying a beautiful autumn for us here. Every salutary hour you experience here will be my gain . . .


[1] Friedrich Wilhelm Gotter had succumbed to consumption on 18 March 1797; the family afterward remained in limited financial circumstances, whence these immediate concerns about publishing Gotter’s posthumous writings if possible.

Concerning the Geisterinsel and several other pieces under discussion at the time, see Caroline’s letter to Luise Gotter in March 1797 (letter 181) with note 2. Concerning the general disposition and posthumous publication of Gotter’s plays, including Schiller’s duplicitous statements and the involvement of Friedrich Hildebrand von Einsiedel, see supplementary appendix 181.1.

Despite what on the surface seemed a complete professional and social break with Schiller (see Schiller’s letters to Wilhelm Schlegel on 31 May and 1 June 1797 [letters 181g, 182a], and Wilhelm and Caroline’s response on 1 June 1797 [letter 182]; see esp. also supplementary appendix 181g.1), Caroline and Wilhelm were obviously still on speaking terms with him and even discussing business matters, not least because Schiller’s periodical Die Horen was not doing as well as anticipated. At issue here is the publication of Gotter’s play Die Geisterinsel in that periodical. Back.

[2] Erich Schmidt (1913), 1:422, notes that the honorarium was to be the same as stipulated in Caroline’s letter to Luise Gotter in March 1797 (letter 181), namely, 4 louis d’or per sheet. Back.

Translation © 2012 Doug Stott