Letter 252c

252c. Johanne Fichte to Fichte in Berlin: Jena, 1 November 1799 [*]

Jena, 1 November 1799

. . . today I happened to meet Madam Schlegel, with Schelling (they walk together every day). They asked me whether you would not be coming soon, and said it was really urgent that you come soon. Schelling said he wanted to write you again immediately; I did not learn why. I could tell that both of them were in an extremely ill mood. [1]

It would frankly be a very good thing if you could take the opportunity to speak with Schelling directly from the heart, since all the gossip is also damaging him, and damaging the good cause as well. [2] I am being very cautious with them, and indeed with everyone here, of that you can be assured, my dear Fichte . . .

You asked me whether Schlegel, the husband, will not put an end to this whole intrigue. It does not seem so. His wife seems now to be flattering her husband, and he seems to be putting up with it all and to take things like a man qui connoit le grand ton; [3]
but in the meantime, you can see from his face how extremely dissatisfied he is. But he always gets hold of himself again. [4]

. . . Stahl told me that Schelling had quarreled with Hufeland and assured him, in writing, that he was dissociating himself from the Literatur-Zeitung once and for all, something I simply cannot understand; and that is probably the reason why it is so urgent that you come here for him. There is just no end to all the quarreling here. [5]


[*] Sources: Xavier Tilliette, ed., Schelling im Spiegel seiner Zeitgenossen: Ergänzungsband (Torino 1981), 22; Fichte, Gesamtausgabe, III/4:135–36. — This letter is the response to Fichte’s letter to Johanne Fichte on 23 October 1799 (letter 250c). Back.

[1] Goettinger Taschen Kalender vom Jahr 1790; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung:


Fichte returned to Jena from Berlin in December 1799 to close up his household, then returned to Berlin in March 1800 with his family. Back.

[2] “A bad-mouthing tea-circle” (“Ein Thé — medisant,” Taschenbuch auf das Jahr 1803: Dem Edeln und Schönen der frohen Laune und der Philosophie des Lebens gewidmet [1804], plate 5; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):



[3] Fr., here: “who is familiar with what is fashionable in grand society.” Back.

[4] Taschenbuch zum geselligen Vergnügen 1803 (Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):



[5] Schelling’s and Wilhelm’s quarrels with the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung were running concurrently. See Wilhelm’s exchange with Gottlieb Hufeland during late April and early May 1799 (letters 235a, 236a), and on 3–4 November 1799 (letter 252e, 252f).

See their public declarations in Schelling’s missive to the Intelligenzblatt of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, written on 6 October and published on 2 November 1799 (letter 252d), and in Wilhelm’s, written on 30 October and published on 13 November 1799 (letter 255a). Back.

Translation © 2013 Doug Stott