Letter 201g

201g. Schelling to Goethe in Weimar: Leipzig, 8 July 1798 [*]

Most honorable Sir,
Most esteemed Herr Privy Councilor,

Though it be good fortune indeed to receive an appointment in Jena, it is a far greater one to owe the former to Your Excellency; for why should I not dare believe that you yourself, who related to me the first news of such, were also the first cause of such? [1] Was it not enough that I have already long been filled with admiration for you, or was the notion of being a teacher in Jena not itself sufficient motivation? Did all this have also to be joined by the even more individual feeling of obligation and gratitude toward you? —

I will not try to thank you in words; it will be far better if in the future I can succeed in expressing through actions that particular feeling of obligation toward you together with the profound admiration with which I am honored to remain

Your Excellency’s
wholly devoted Servant

Leipzig, 8 July 1798


[*] Sources: Goethe und die Romantik 205; Fuhrmans 2:149. — Response to Goethe’s letter to Schelling on 5 July 1798 (letter 201f).

Schelling’s appointment in Jena, of course, was of pivotal, monumental importance for the course of Caroline’s life, marking the beginning of her turn away from Wilhelm Schlegel and toward Schelling. It may also be noted that Schelling was but twenty-three-years-old at the time (Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, Die sonderbare Art Schwiegermutter zu gewinnen [1780; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Chodowiecki Sammlung 4-255):



[1] Schelling obviously had received word that Goethe had been instrumental in securing his appointment in Jena. Back.

Translation © 2012 Doug Stott