Letter 207d

207d. Schelling to His Parents in Schorndorf: Jena, 12 November 1798 [*]

Jena, 12 November 1798

Herr Dr. Paulus arrived here safely and delivered your good news to me as well as the letter. [1] Though I would like to thank you for the news about your journey to Tübingen, I confess I was not that happy to hear about it. [2] It seems you still harbor hopes of seeing me as a professor in Tübingen. Because I have no intention of deceiving you, let me tell you now that my life plan is pointed in a completely opposite direction. For now, I am living quite happily here, [3] nor need I have any concerns about supporting myself.

My first private lecture course, [4] which, moreover, I give in but a single hour (from 4 to 5), an hour that has caused considerable scheduling conflicts especially with courses in the traditional disciplines, has attracted 40 attendees; this one lecture course earns me 40 Carolins, which could, if I so desired, support me here the entire winter. In the future I am hoping to make even more, and indeed am even quite certain I can do so.

In the meantime, I enjoy the most wonderful leisure time, am still young, energetic, and courageous, and can yet cultivate myself quietly till I suddenly appear metamorphosed before your and the world’s eyes, after which you yourself will have to admit that the chair for logic and metaphysics in Tübingen would simply be too small an existence for me. This life plan has already been outlined, indeed even under higher auspices such that it cannot fail. I will very soon have the opportunity to present it to the Duke of Weimar himself. [5] . . .

Might I also ask that, as soon as possible, you look around for a fine, handsome young manservant for me. I would prefer not to engage one from the populace here, and yet I do need one. [6] Apart from the usual characteristics of a servant, I would also require that he be able to both read and write well. If such not be the case, then he must at least be eager to learn, in which case I will engage a writing instructor for him. He must do what a servant has to do, including light the stove, polish boots, make coffee, and, if possible, copy things out.

In return he will receive (1) free logis, (2) 16 gr., i.e., 18 Batzen board, from which he can live well, I myself pay one Thaler, i.e., 9 Batzen more per week for my own board. If such becomes more expensive, he will receive an appropriate raise, (3) livery twice annually, in the winter an overcoat, boots, and 1 pair of leather trousers; in the summer a riding collet [7] along with the attendant accoutrements, 1 hat, and a pair of small boots, (4) 30–50 Gulden annual salary, (5) if he comports himself well, he will remain in my service and will receive more over time or will receive recommendations for further employment. He can count on accompanying me on trips.

I would like for it to be a youth 15–16 years old, and that he come here as soon as possible, I will pay travel costs. Herr Alle, [8] to whom I also send my regards, will probably be able to help you in this matter. But just that it be a resolute and lively fellow. If you can get one less expensively, such would certainly be fine with me as well. I would be very happy indeed if he were already here by the Christmas holidays so that I may avoid having to take someone from the local pack of philistines here.

I almost forgot the bed. It arrived safely. My most respectful thanks! I certainly will not be in any danger of freezing in it, since it is so heavy, heavy as lead, that one might sooner suffocate in it.

And now, stay well, my dear parents. As always,

Your Fritz.

Jena, 12 Nov. 98

p.s. Please allow me to entreat you earnestly in the matter of the servant.

I forgot to remark above that the 16 gr. are only for the midday meal. He will receive an extra 8 gr. for the evening meal, altogether 1 Thlr., with which he will be able to eat both at midday and in the evening about as well as anyone could expect.


[*] Sources: Plitt 1:257–58; Fuhrmans 2:164–66. Back.

[1] H. E. G. Paulus — now one of Schelling’s colleagues in Jena — had traveled to Swabia to accompany his wife back to Jena; see Schelling’s earlier letter to his father on 20 September 1798 (letter 203b). Back.

[2] Schelling’s father, now working in Schorndorf, was involved in negotiations designed to secure a professorship for Schelling in Tübingen. Back.

[3] Although Schelling had been appointed extraordinarius professor on 30 June 1798, he did not arrive in Jena until later, and it is difficult to determine where he initially resided.

As Peer Kösling, Die Frühromantiker in Jena, 40–43, esp. with note 86, points out, Schelling seems to have declined Friedrich Immanuel Niethammer’s initial offer to occupy a room in the house at Leutragasse 5 because Rosine Niethammer was expecting a child at the time.

Schelling possibly resided in Niethammer’s other house — that is, the one Niethammer himself resided in before his marriage — though this information is itself ambiguous, since the exact identify and location of that house conflicts with other information.

Schelling’s lecture announcements in October 1798 indicate he could be reached at the “Oppermann house along the Graben [earlier town wall]” in Jena, which traditionally was the professor’s residence rather than the location of the auditorium (which Schelling in any case indicated would be the house of Johann Jakob Griesbach).

Conflicts arise trying to reconcile municipal information (from 1810) about the alleged Oppermann house, Niethammer’s possible ownership (or part ownership) of that same house, and the location of either house at Heinrichsberg 2 (earlier Johannisplatz 22) or possibly Fürstengraben 16, and, moreover, trying to determine whether the reference is to one single or two separate early residences where Schelling lived, that is: whether Schelling perhaps initially resided in the Oppermann house, then very soon moved into Niethammer’s earlier residence. See Kösling for details and documentation. Back.

[4] On the philosophy of nature. Back.

[5] Uncertain reference. Back.

[6] The following illlustrations by Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki portray manservants attending their master at bedside (note the chamber pot on the shelf of the bedside table) and in similar situations ([1] Gil Blas ist Diener bei der Don Gonzales Pachecco [1778]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Chodowiecki Sammlung [2-118]; [2] and [3] Bediente in Gegenwart ihrer Herren [1780]; Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum; Museums./Signatur DChodowiecki AB 3.360):




See also the note on maidservants. Back.

[7] Here: cape. Back.

[8] Unidentified. Back.

Translation © 2013 Doug Stott