Letter 245b

245b. Moritz Schlegel to Wilhelm Schlegel in Jena: Göttingen, 2 October 1799 [*]

Göttingen, 2 October 1799

Dearest Brother,

How ashamed I was after receiving your brotherly missive, which gave me such joy. [1] I had already been in considerable debt for several months to your dear Caroline, who through Herr Dr. Hornemann had sent me Shakespeare along with an extraordinarily kind letter. [2] — —

I have thought of that debt to your dear wife almost every postal day, and indeed often spoken about it with my own wife; but amid the arid work tasks in which I have had to engage over the course of this winter in order finally to work through my inspection and regain some leisure for my own studies, — that work has simply taken away all the courage I might have had to write to a lady. — —

The hope you gave me of perhaps having you pay a visit provoked considerable longing indeed to see you here soon. It would also be an enormous delight to my wife, who sends her warmest regards. Should such be the case, would your spouse not overcome her disinclination toward Göttingen and accompany you? How I wish she would. [3] — —

You can imagine how people are talking back and forth about the matter with Fichte. But he seems quite to have spoiled things too much with his colleagues for them to have taken any active interest in him. Hannover issued a rescript to the academy here similar to that which Dresden sent to the university in Leipzig. [4]

In general the Hannoverian administration seems not at all willing to grant the professors here unrestricted freedom of the press. Indeed, a professor of theology here has already had problems because of certain statements he made. [5] — —


[*] Source: Georg Waitz (1882), 73–74. Double em-dashes (— —) indicate material Waitz did not include. Back.

[1] Wilhelm’s letter does not seem to be extant. Back.

[2] Dr. Hornemann, otherwise unidentified, was in any case not Friedrich Hornemann (born 1772), who had studied both theology and the natural sciences in Göttingen and who at the time (autumn 1799) was on an expedition in Africa, where he would die in 1801. — Caroline’s letter to Moritz does not seem to be extant, nor is it known which volume of the edition of Shakespeare she sent along to him. Back.

[3] Strictly speaking, Caroline was not allowed to visit Göttingen for any length of time; see letter/document 146. Back.

[4] That is, to prohibit either Göttingen or Leipzig from hiring Fichte as a faculty member. Fichte had been in Berlin since early July, where he would remain the rest of his life. Back.

[5] Unknown allusion, but interesting insofar as Göttingen was traditionally known as a liberal university shaped by Enlightenment thinking. Back.

Translation © 2013 Doug Stott