Letter 185b

• 185b. Friedrich Schlegel to Auguste Böhmer in Jena: Berlin, late September 1797 [*]

[late September 1797?]

|620| Augustchen is requested to send the following books to me in Leipzig. . . .

If you like owning Greek books, my dear Auguste, then you might also want to appropriate Euripidis Tragoediae |621| in a red octavo volume. Nor is there any need for you to thank me for it, since I have an entire edition of Euripides here. [1]

Write me very soon and write me a lot, my dear little friend; I think of you every day. Although you do write me quite often, it is always so brief. Today it is I who will imitate you in that respect, though very soon I will again write you quite a long letter. Stay diligent, write and tell me what you are reading and doing, and keep your fondness for me.

Your Fritz

You have written me absolutely nothing about Hardenberg. And I know very well you have not been as imbecilic toward him this time as you were last winter. [2]


[*] Source: Schmidt (1913), 1:620–21 (letter no. 7); Waitz (1871), 1:359–60; KFSA 24:23. — Concerning the textual history of Friedrich Schlegel’s letters to Auguste Böhmer, see supplementary appendix 181d.1.

KFSA 24:351n1 cogently argues for dating this letter to the end of September 1797, pointing out also that the dating for all of Friedrich’s letters to Auguste (as well as to Caroline and Wilhelm) till the end of November 1797 remains uncertain (Erich Schmidt includes no dating).

Friedrich’s request that Auguste dispatch various books to Leipzig suggests that he was expecting someone to bring them from Leipzig to him in Berlin, which was certainly possible if a publisher such as Johann Friedrich Unger or Johann Friedrich Vieweg were in Leipzig for the Michaelmas book fair (Friedrich writes to Wilhelm Schlegel on 31 October 1797: “twice I have received packages from Unger and Vieweg from you without any letter”).

The reference to Friedrich von Hardenberg suggests, moreover, that this letter may have been written at the same time as Friedrich’s letter to the latter of 26 September 1797, in which Friedrich mentions Hardenberg’s visit with Wilhelm Schlegel and Caroline in Jena.

In any event, Friedrich mentions his concern for Auguste’s “cough” in a letter to Wilhelm on 31 October 1797 (Walzel, 298; KFSA 24:29): “Because Auguste had recently written about a cough that would not subside, I was almost convinced she was sick, and so I spent an entire week amid the most terrible anxiety and grief,” presumably out of fear of incipient consumption or tuberculosis (concerning Caroline’s “catarrh” at about the same time, see the editorial note to her letter to Luise Gotter on 7 September 1797 [letter 185]); that he does not mention the cough in this present letter suggests it predates that concern. Back.

[1] Friedrich has over the past several letters made increasingly impressive suggestions for Auguste’s reading material in Greek; a comparable and contemporaneous edition of Euripides with the title he mentions was Euripidis Tragoediae Drama Satyricum Et Fragmenta Graece Ad Optimos Libros, ed. Christian Daniel Beck (Lipsiae [Leipzig] 1792), here the title page and first page of the text of the play Orestes:



[2] Concerning Hardenberg’s earlier visits to Jena to see his ill fiancée, Sophie von Kühn, see Friedrich’s letter to Hardenberg on 23 July 1796 (letter 167a), note 1.

Hardenberg visited Wilhelm and Caroline Schlegel in Jena between 10 and 22 August 1797 (Friedrich had left Weissenfels for Berlin by way of Leipzig on ca. 15 July 1797), and between 24 August and 5 September 1797. Hardenberg was staying in Kösen, ca. 25 km north of Jena, between the visits and afterward.

In 1806, parts of the battles of Jena and Auerstedt took place just outside Kösen; the famous secondary school Schulpforte is also located there (dating: Novalis Schriften 4:825; map: Karte des deutschen Reichs, ed. C. Vogel [Gotha 1907], no. 19; illustration of [now] Bad Kösen in 1859: frontispiece to Hugo Hagendorff, Das Soolbad Kösen nebst den Saalufern und den nächsten Städten: Ein Wegweiser für Badereisende [Berlin 1859]):



For his impressions of Wilhelm and Caroline, see Wilhelm’s letter to Goethe on 24 September 1797 (letter 185c), note 4. Back.

Translation © 2012 Doug Stott