Letter 237b

• 237b. Friedrich Schlegel to Auguste Böhmer in Jena: Berlin, May/early June 1799 [*]

[Berlin, May/early June 1799]

Dear Auguste,

Dorothea thinks your letters are much too witty to be written on normal paper, so she is sending you some of the daintiest sheets we have. —

Heaven forbid that your mother already owns the protocol; otherwise I have spent 8 Gr. for nothing. [1]

This thing with my eyes is dragging on. I am spreading pure opium in them, which hurts quite a bit but does not help much. [2]

I am writing something for Fichte and hope it will be published soon. Tell him that and also give him my warm regards. [3]

Your Steffens pleases us very well indeed and has told me quite a bit about how completely crazy you have become. [4]

Your Friedrich S.

Dorothea thinks I did not really write you very much this time. I think so as well.


[*] Source: Schmidt (1913), 1:643 (letter 30); Waitz (1871), 1:373; reprinted in KFSA 24:290. — No date in Schmidt (1913); approximate dating from KFSA 24:463n178.2 based on Friedrich’s references to (1) his eye troubles, and (2) the presence of Henrik Steffens in Berlin, both of which are similarly mentioned in Friedrich’s letter to Wilhelm Schlegel and Caroline in May 1799 (letter 237). — Concerning the textual history of Friedrich Schlegel’s letters to Auguste Böhmer, see supplementary appendix 181d.1. Back.

[1] Presumably the most recent volume of the Protocoll der Reichs-Friedens-Deputation zu Rastatt, ed. Heinrich Münch von Bellinghausen, 6 vols. (Rastatt 1798–1800) concerning the second Congress of Rastatt, which in April 1799 had just witnessed the assassinations of two French envoys; Wilhelm Schlegel mentions these events in his letter to Johann Diederich Gries on 10 May 1799 (letter 236c); see note 25 there. Back.

[2] See Johann Christian Stark, Handbuch zur Kenntniss und Heilung innerer Krankheiten des menschliche Körpers, 2 vols. (Jena 1799–1800), 2:376, who in cases of, e.g., excessive tearing or mucous excretions from the eyes recommends, among other possible remedies, “rubbing camphor with opium over the eyebrows and under the eyelids.” Back.

[3] See Dorothea’s letter to Caroline on 20 April 1799 (letter 234), note 2. Friedrich never published the piece. Concerning the course of events in Fichte’s atheism dispute, see supplementary appendix 215a.1. Back.

[4] Concerning Henrik Steffens in Berlin, see Friedrich’s letter to Wilhelm and Caroline in May 1799 (letter 237); Steffens arrived in Jena during the summer of 1798, that is, before the Schlegels had returned from Dresden and before Schelling had begun lecturing. Steffens became quite fond of Auguste and seems to have been romantically interested in her; see Caroline’s letter to Johann Diederich Gries on 27 December 1799 (letter 258) and Steffens’s letter to Schelling on 8 or 20 August 1800 (letter 265l), i.e., after Auguste’s death. Back.

Translation © 2013 Doug Stott