Letter 194b

194b. Christian Gottfried Schütz to Wilhelm Schlegel in Jena: Jena, 25 December 1797 [*]

Jena, 25 December 1797

I can see that our dispute is taking the same course as that taken by most academic disputations and frequent theological colloquiis. To wit, the disputants part, and each is right. Just as you counter my 2 pages with your 4, so also could I easily oppose these 4 with 8, nor do I doubt that you in your own turn would then have another 16 ready to engage against these 8. And all this over the question of a couple of turns of phrase at the beginning of your review. But I will spare you your time, notwithstanding I am not permitted to spare my own. . . .

Just a couple of words to help avoid any misunderstanding and address one incorrect presumption.

1. Concerning the misunderstanding. It is not at all unpleasant for me that you send Herr Herder your introductory remarks to the review in their original form, relate to him the liberties I took in implementing corrections, or tell him what issues you and I debated in this connection; I wish merely to avoid the appearance to Herr Herder that I intended to withdraw even 1/100,000 of a gram of the pound of incense you offered him; for you seemed to understand the issue thus.

2. The incorrect presumption. The reviewer who refused all corrections — which he did, in any case, quite need — was by no means Herr Körner, but rather Herr Rehberg in Hannover, something Herr Justizrath Hufeland can attest. I did write you immediately that I had answered him. I am still to write the first letter to Herr Körner meo quidem nomine. [1] You are quite right that he was also rather touchy when he found several trifles changed in his first and, to my knowledge, only review. [2] But rather than entering into even a short discussion, he instead immediately sent the contract back to us. So we cannot really say that we lost an excellent art critic in him, but rather that we never really secured him in the first place. Although his essay in Die Horen is indeed quite excellently conceived and well written, the review he sent us was not. Admittedly, the book he reviewed was certainly no Wilhelm Meister either. [3]

We must view as deceased or as having never had any relationship with us those contributors who are unable and unwilling to accommodate themselves to the concept and constitution of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung and who for that reason depart. Hence, if you examine the matter with a cool head, you will see that the issue is simply whether in the future you are willing, since you do, after all, live in the same house as one of the editors, [4] (1) to take over and implement yourself the abbreviations we consider necessary, and (2) to discuss with Herr Hufeland possible changes I might suggest . . .

Naturally, those who improve are themselves similarly not beyond improvement, it is simply that there are some enterprises in which the improvements of the improvement cannot be allowed to proceed in infinitum and one must quo ad hoc [5] eventually abide with a single one.

I will be very pleased if you continue to contribute to the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, very displeased were we to lose you over this petty difference of opinions; we will, however, doubtless not be required to changed our dispositions toward each other; I at least will in any case remain devoted to you with the most sincere admiration, respect, and readiness to serve. [6]


Jena, 25 December 1797

My kindest regards to you wife and brother.


[*] Source: Körner (1930) 70–72. — Response to Wilhelm Schlegel’s letter to Schütz on 10 December 1797 (letter 192b). Back.

[1] Latin, “certainly, indeed in my own name.” Back.

[2] Christian Gottfried Körner does not seem to have published any reviews in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, which would concur with Schütz’s next statement that Körner sent the contract back, presumably also then withdrawing the manuscript before publication. Back.

[3] Körner had reviewed Goethe’s novel Wilhelm Meister in Die Horen (1796) 8, no. 12, 105–16. Back.

[4] The Hufeland family lived across the rear courtyard in the wing opposite the Schlegels in the house at Leutragasse 5; see Adolf Stoll, Der Maler Joh. Friedrich August Tischbein und seine Familie (Stuttgart 1923) 111, citing Caroline Tischbein:

The Schlegels lived quite withdrawn in Jena. Justizrath Hufeland lived directly opposite them — I believe their houses, separated only by a courtyard, belonged together [viz. as separate wings of the same house]. Hufeland’s wife was an extremely elegant, vivacious woman and, like her husband as well, on quite cordial terms with the Schlegels.

See also Caroline’s letter to Johann Diederich Gries on 27 December 1799 (letter 258): “Since Schlegel’s break with the Allgemeine Literatur Zeitung, we do not even see our closest neighbors anymore.”

Here a later photograph through the courtyard entrance to the building, with Caroline’s apartment on the left, the Hufelands’ on the right (photo: Stadtmuseum Jena):


Here a view from the opposite direction, viz., from behind the house; the tunnel entrance in the above photograph is visible leading from the street to the back courtyard between the two apartments (Eduard Helmke, Bericht über die Orthopaedisch-gymnastische Heilanstalt in Jena [Leipzig 1863], title vignette):



[5] Latin, here: “in that regard, to that extent.” Back.

[6] Concerning this dispute, see the supplementary appendix Garlieb Merkel on Christian Gottfried Schütz and the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, esp. 83–86, which according to Josef Körner, in his annotations to this letter (Körner [1930], 28n56), provides an example of the kinds of “exaggerated and false rumors this otherwise petty dispute generated at the time.” See also Wilhelm Dilthey on the break between the Romantics and the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (supplementary appendix 258a.1) Back.

Translation © 2012 Doug Stott