Letter 200

• 200. Caroline to Luise Gotter in Gotha: Weimar, 2 May 1798

Weimar, 2 May 1798

|450| The enclosure from Gustel has been lying here since Sunday, when the young Blumenbach was supposed to take it along, but she did not manage to meet with him. [1] One can, by the way, get nothing done here in any event; there is a constant coming and going, and on top of that, the weather has been quite favorable for us non-residents. A considerable number of people have assembled here, and the theater is filled almost to capacity with people from out of town [2] . . . I have already been away for over a week. . . . [Business matters. Cäcilie.] [3]

I spoke at length, indeed at considerable length with Iffland about Gotter and you. [4] He endlessly reproached himself for having done really nothing at all yet for Marianne. Now, however, I am supposed to send him Der schöne Geist, and then he intends to perform both together. I did not give him your copy, since it was the only one, but please have a copy made within 14 days and then send it to Schlegel, who will be leaving for Berlin on about May 20 and will deliver it to Iffland himself. He would also like to have a second copy of Der schöne Geist if possible so he can send it to Kotzebue in Vienna, something I would also advise you to do. [5]

Once Iffland puts his mind to something, you can count on his most enthusiastic participation, though he may, to be sure, be overburdened with business matters. But just send the two copies if possible, otherwise just the one, and then Schlegel will remind him anew.

Things are still taking somewhat peculiar turns with Die Geisterinsel. Iffland told me that he had Fleischmann’s composition sent to him (do you know anything about that? I cannot doubt that it is true; if I remember correctly, he spoke |451| about the 22 ducats he had paid for it), but the music was allegedly not very good, and he would be having it [composed?] . . . completely anew [6] . . .

[Conclusion is missing.]


[1] Uncertain reference. Johann Friedrich Blumenbach had two sons, Georg Heinrich Wilhelm Blumenbach and the younger Carl Ludwig Edmund (1788–1814), the latter of whom was close to Auguste in age, and possibly also an aunt in Weimar, whom one of the sons may have been visiting (Therese Heyne mentions an afternoon visit to “an elderly aunt of Blumenbach” in a letter home from Weimar on 30 April 1783; Therese Huber Briefe 1:101). Blumenbach himself was a native of Gotha, and the son seems to have been scheduled to take the enclosure from Auguste there. Back.

[2] Concerning Caroline and Wilhelm’s trip to Weimar to see August Wilhelm Iffland perform, see Caroline’s undated letter to Luise Gotter in April 1798 (letter 199) with note 5; concerning other performances during their visit, see also Goethe’s letter to Wilhelm Schlegel on 1 May 1798 (letter 199c). Goethe makes similar remarks to Schiller about the town being filled with non-residents (see supplementary appendix 199.1.). Back.

[3] Concerning Luise and Cäcilie Gotter’s stay in Jena with the Schlegels beginning at Christmas 1797 — Luise returning to Gotha in February, Cäcilie in April — see Caroline’s letters to Luise Gotter during that period. Back.

[4] At issue are Gotter’s posthumous theater pieces. Concerning the specific plays under discussion here and the disposition and fate of these pieces, see Caroline’s letter to Luise Gotter in March 1797 (letter 181) with note 2 and esp. also supplementary appendix 181.1 and supplementary appendix 107a.1. Back.

[5] Kotzebue, who had succeeded Johann Baptist Alxinger as secretary of the Viennese Imperial Court Theater and soon became its director, declined. In any event, he resigned his position at the end of the year (with a pension of 1000 florins for life) because of differences of opinion with the actors and left Vienna soon thereafter, returning to his hometown of Weimar, where he soon became involved in conflicts with the Jena Romantics, more on which later in this edition. Back.

[6] Concerning the musical fate of Die Geisterinsel, see the cross references in note 4 above. Back.

Translation © 2012 Doug Stott