Letter 243c

243c. Ludwig Ferdinand Huber to Wilhelm Schlegel: Stuttgart, 17 August 1799 [*]

Stuttgart, 17 August 1799 [1]

When I received your letter, I decided to go to Tübingen in a few days and spend a few hours, thinking I could best assist you in your intentions by waiting to deliver your enclosure until I could speak with Cotta personally about its content. That has now happened, and the enclosed response, which he just sent me, will, I hope, be agreeable to you and now initiate an effective course to the negotiations. [2]

Your kind wish that I might leave the furies of contemporary politics and return to the muses is certainly my own as well. Although political literature is lucrative enough, and the battle with its various dangers not without some interest, nonetheless as a father I cannot be entirely indifferent to the possibility that I might perhaps come up with the shorter end someday in that struggle after all, and in any event, over the long run it does spoil many things for a person that are better and more beautiful. But I cannot allow any such considerations to prompt me to leave my present occupation merely on the chance that things might work out, which is why at least for the moment I must yet bide my time.

I do well comprehend what kept you from writing against B[öttiger] the way you might have had you not known him as well as you in fact do. [3] As far as the Allgemeine Zeitung is concerned, his polyhistory is indeed useful — albeit least so in articles concerning the situation of German literature, and which in the future I will examine more carefully; but he addresses other topics, e.g., English miscellany, the announcements of inventions, and that sort of thing such that C[otta] would have trouble finding someone who covered these things as well, and then I would end up having to burden myself with more work.

I have not yet seen Lucinde. But it and Prinz Zerbino will not escape me long. My daily tasks with the Allgemeine Zeitung severely cut into even the time I have for reading. I am familiar with Tieck’s Volksmährchen, and greatly enjoyed Der gestiefelte Kater as well as Der blonde Eckbert — in general everything by him to the extent it attests his original simplicity and purity. I also recently encountered him in Die verkehrte Welt and in the Bambocciaden. [4] . . .

May both of you continue to be well and content. My wife sends her warm regards. The early child, Adele, is flourishing nicely, Luise is attending embroidery school and is honesty itself.



[*] Source: Ludwig Geiger, Dichter und Frauen: Abhandlungen und Mittheilungen, Neue Sammlung (Berlin 1899), 111–12. — Huber was at this point still on good terms with Wilhelm and Caroline and — a passage Geiger mentions but does not include in this letter, Geiger, Dichter und Frauen, 111 — even provides Wilhelm and Caroline with family news of Marianne Heyne’s engagaement to Jeremias David Reuss in Göttingen.

In this present letter, he mentions having not seen Friedrich Schlegel‘s novel Lucinde; in the meantime, the editors of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung were still looking for someone to review the novel (see Gottlieb Hufeland’s letter to Wilhelm on 2 May 1799); as it turned out, Huber himself ultimately delivered that review, prompting Caroline’s severe response (in her letters to him on 22 and 24–27 November 1799 [letter 256, 257]), as well as a testy exchange between Wilhelm and Huber (Wilhelm to Huber on 28 December 1799 [letter 258a] and Huber to Wilhelm on 9/11 January 1800 [letter 258d]).

What was now a frosty relationship between the couples is reflected later in Stuttgart when Caroline — then married to Schelling — finds herself sitting behind Huber in a theater performance. Therese Huber, née Heyne, ever sensing a rival in Caroline and never able to establish a completely honest relationship with Caroline in any case, similarly plays a role in the Stuttgart encounter between Caroline and Friederike Unzelmann. Back.

[1] Ludwig Ferdinand and Therese Huber had moved to Tübingen from French-speaking Switzerland in May 1798, then in September 1798 to Stuttgart, where Huber took over as senior editor of Johann Friedrich Cotta’s Allgemeine Zeitung there. Back.

[2] Wilhelm had written Cotta on 2 August 1799 proposing an edition of his poems (Briefe an Cotta, vol. 1, Das Zeitalter Goethes und Napoleons 1794–1815, ed. Maria Fehling [Stuttgart, Berlin 1925], 256) after Georg Joachim Göschen had declined to publish them (see Wilhelm’s letters to Göschen on 31 October 1798 and 7 February 1799 [letters 207a, 219b]).

Huber delivered the letter personally and also promoted the idea. Cotta accepted, and the poems were published in 1800: Gedichte (Tübingen 1800).


Wilhelm’s extremely detailed contract for the project is preserved in Ludwig Tieck’s literary estate in the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin and included in Körner (1930), 2:42–43. Back.

[3] Karl August Böttiger was a regular contributor to the newspaper. Back.

[4] In order: Ludwig Tieck,

  • Prinz Zerbino, oder, Die Reise nach dem guten Geschmack, in Romantische Dichtungen (Jena 1799), 1–422;
  • Volksmährchen, “ed. P. Leberecht,” 3 vols. (Berlin 1797); here the frontispiece and title page to vol. 1 (also to its edition in Tieck’s Sämmtliche Werke, vol. 6 [Berlin, Leipzig 1799]):


  • Der gestiefelte Kater, ein Kindermärchen in drey Akten mit Zwischenspielen, einem Prologe und Epiloge von Peter Leberecht, in Volksmährchen, vol. 2 (Berlin 1797), 1–139; here the title vignette from the single edition of 1797:


  • “Der blonde Eckbert,” in Volksmährchen, vol. 1 (1797), 191–242 (Moritz von Schwind, “Bertha nursing the bird, from ‘Der blonde Eckbert,'” Moritz von Schwind, Klassiker der Kunst in Gesamtausgaben 9 [Stuttgart, Leipzig 1906], 94):


  • Die verkehrte Welt: ein historisches Schauspiel in fünft Aufzügen, in Bambocciaden 2 (Berlin 1799), 103–274; here the frontispiece to that volume:



Translation © 2013 Doug Stott