Letter 260d

260d. Wilhelm Schlegel to Schelling in Bamberg: Jena, 31 May 1800 [*]

Jena, 31 May 1800

There still has been no decision in your case. [1] Although I myself have not spoken with Salzmann, [2] Paulus did see him yesterday and assured me that he would have passed it on had he had it. But it cannot be too much longer. [3]

The letter to Gabler has been taken care of, he will have an avertissement published right after the holidays, one I will see beforehand or will myself will draw up. The addendum you suggest is indeed a good idea in order to provide a preliminary note. [4]

For the rest, only have patience; Schütz cannot escape being humbled. I have now sent all the documentation for my own libel suit on to Goethe at his request. [5] He had not yet read the defense against your piece at all. [6]

Either I will be justified, and the reprimand to Schütz will be immediately made public in all the journals, or he will secure protection, in which case I will presumably not move forward with any personal injury complaint, and will instead publish my own brochure, in which I can, however, then disclose all the chicanery he employed against you and in so doing expose and ridicule him in a way hitherto unprecedented. So allow him the pleasure of having the Leipzig magister find his responses, as Frommann relates to me, full of Attic wit.

If I win my libel suit, you can always go after him anew, though you will probably have to wait until you have won own your personal injury suit. But enough, Schütz is in any event trapped in a very tight spot indeed between the two of us.

I am not enclosing the second part of the defense, since you probably already have the issue in which that appeared. [7]

It seems the reasons your piece was hindered or restricted from being more widely disseminated were primarily the following: its appearance just prior to the book fair; the double printing [8] (which provided at least the booksellers themselves with an excuse, if they already were receiving the Zeitschrift für spekulative Physik, not to take on the brochure as an extra piece), and finally the fact that Gabler’s finances and business circumstances are not such that he might push something through by force or, as it were, force the hand of other booksellers.

Its appearance so close to the book fair was the reason it was not delivered everywhere, e.g., it was variously ordered in Halle and yet not available. Fröhlich in Berlin assured me that in the initial period, two hundred copies could have been sold there had they but been accessible. Within a couple of hours, nearly twenty people came and queried him about it even though he does not really have an extensive retail service. Indeed, only 20 copies where sent there. —

Although Fröhlich’s numbers may be somewhat exaggerated, it is no doubt true that much depends on the initial curiosity; once that has passed, what generally happens is that one person then merely loans it to the next; that is the way every new issue of Athenaeum makes its way around the entirety of Berlin in only a few copies.

I have trouble believing that Gabler would have had such a small print run published, as honest as I otherwise consider him to be. You could not be entirely displeased had he had a larger print run, since he would then go to all the more trouble trying to improve sales.

His own sales, by the way, do not really decide anything concerning how widely read the book in fact is, especially among the better reading public. How can you profit from readers who, after reading the responses, believe it unnecessary to read your piece at all?

Goethe only spoke rather lightly and merrily about the whole affair in Leipzig, [9] generously praising your piece on the whole but also remarking that some of the things in it persuade readers who already understand the real point, and that the material was not really persuasively enough presented with respect to its external effect. Among other things, he wishes that the reference to “aversion” had been used only once.

Tieck will also not spare the A.L.Z. in his poetic journal. [10] He delivered a couple of cordially earthy truths to Hufeland to that effect. —

As soon as anything happens, I will let you know. [11]

A. W. Schlegel


[*] Sources: Plitt 1:299–301; Fuhrmans 2:224–26. — This letter seems to be a response to a letter to Wilhelm from Schelling in Bamberg that seems to be missing.

Concerning the background to Schelling’s dispute with the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, see his “declaration” in the Intelligenzblatt of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung on Saturday, 2 November 1799, and the editorial response (letter/document 252d), esp. with note 4.

In their editorial “Vertheidigung gegen Hn. Prof Schellings sehr unlautere Erläuterungen über die A.L.Z.,” Intelligenzblatt of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (1800) 57 (Wednesday, 30 April 1800) 465–80, the editors of the A.L.Z. published a defense against esp. Schelling’s Ueber die Jenaische Allgemeine Literaturzeitung. Erläuterungen, vom Professor Schelling zu Jena. (Aus dem ersten Heft der Zeitschrift für spekulative Physik besonders abgedruckt) (Jena, Leipzig 1800), a special printing of the article “Anhang zu dem voranstehendem Aufsatz, betreffend zwei naturphilosophische Recensionen und die Jenaische Allgemeine Literaturzeitung,” in Schelling’s own Zeitschrift für spekulative Physik (1800) I, 1, 49–99. It is to the publication and dissemination of this special printing that Wilhelm refers in this letter. Back.

[1] See Wilhelm’s letter to Goethe on 30 May 1800 (letter 260c) concerning the mutual personal injury lawsuits Schelling and Christian Gottfried Schütz filed against each other. Back.

[2] Presumably Johann Friedemann Gottfried Salzmann. Back.

[3] Eventually, Schelling was fined 10 Thaler, Schütz 5 (Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, “Die Geldstrafe vor Gericht” [“Paying a fine in court”], Kupfersammlung zu J[ohann] B[ernhard] Basedows Elementarwerke für die Jugend und ihre Freunde: Erste Lieferung in 53 Tafeln. Zweyte Lieferung in 47 Tafeln von L bis XCVI [Leipzig, Dessau, Berlin 1774], plate XXXIV):



[4] Gabler published an announcement in the Intelligenzblatt of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (1800) 117 (Wednesday, 6 August 1800) 1007–8, concerning the lack of available copies of Schelling’s special printing Ueber die Jenaische Allgemeine Literaturzeitung. Erläuterungen, vom Professor Schelling zu Jena:

The extensive remarks in the Intelligenzblatt of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung 57 and 62 (1800) from Herr Hofrath Schütz in defense of this newspaper and against the most recent publication of Herr Prof. Schelling (Ueber die Jenaische Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung) have prompted this latter piece to be sought and read more frequently than all the previous publications contra said newspaper, and has unfortunately allegedly caused a complete lack of copies in various locales.

But such can likely, at least initially, have been the case only immediately after the appearance of this publication, insofar as because of the proximity of the Leipzig book fair I sent copies to only a few locales, postponing universal dissemination through normal booksellers until after the fair.

Hence it is quite without any culpability on the part of booksellers that this piece by Schelling was not as readily available in several locales, and I feel obligated to provide this explanation to my colleagues; just as also the fact that even after the fair the piece cannot be found at this or that locale derives simply from the fact that some booksellers, generally mistrustful of such flyers — which are frequently quickly forgotten (something that the name of the author alone in this case should have ensured would not have been the case) — do not order any copies in the first place and are thus quite unable to accommodate interested parties in their towns.

Hence the suspicion that several booksellers intentionally wanted to thwart the dissemination of this piece is refuted quite on its own; and even should the situation yet arise that, despite having specifically placed an order, an interested party should be unable to acquire this piece — many readers perhaps finding it indispensable to compare it directly with Herr Hofrath Schütz’s assertions — then I ardently request merely that I be notified of such, and I promise to dispatch a number of copies immediately to a bookseller in that locale or nearby so that such a comparison and the ensuing judgment of every individual reader not be hindered.

Herr Prof. Schelling will very soon (i.e., after the lawsuit has been decided) publish through my company the files of the personal-injury lawsuit of Herr Hofrath Schütz against Herr Prof. Schelling, concerning which the former has made several remarks in the Intelligenzblatt,.

Jena, 4 June 1800

Christian Ernst Gabler

Schütz responded in the same issue (1008):

As far as I know, it was hardly any lack of copies – copies sent unsolicited to booksellers — that made it impossible to satisfy any alleged “hunger” for Herr Prof. Schelling’s explications. Readers not entirely satisfied with my own excerpts of his piece would in any case be better advised to buy the first issue of Zeitschrift für spekulative Physik, in which these explications can be found in full, than the special printing, since in that case they would at least get something for their money.

In any case, I stated right from the beginning my own defense against the Schellingian explications that I myself would publish in these very pages the outcome of the personal-injury lawsuit I was forced to file by the accusations of libel, viz., that I derided Herr Fichte in them. And I will indeed publish those results.

If Herr Gabler intends to create a special publication out of these materials, I do wish him healthy sales, though I confess I doubt many readers will want to pay good money for files from a lawsuit that they in any case will already have read in this Intelligenzblatt without having to spend more than simply time. Back.

[5] See Wilhelm’s letter to Goethe on 30 May 1800 (letter 260c). Back.

[6] I.e., Schütz’s “Vertheidigung gegen Hn. Prof Schellings sehr unlautere Erläuterungen über die A.L.Z.,” Intelligenzblatt of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (1800) 57 (Wednesday, 30 April 1800) 465–80. Back.

[7] The second part — the “continuation” — of the editors’ “defense” in issue 57 appeared in the Intelligenzblatt of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (1800) 62 (Saturday, 10 May 1800), 513–20. that “continuation” includes communication of Schütz’s pertinent private correspondence with Schelling and Wilhelm (viz., Wilhelm to Schütz on 20 October 1799 [letter 249b]; Schütz to Wilhelm on 20 October 1799 [letter 249c]; Wilhelm to Schütz on 21 October 1799 [letter 249d]). Back.

[8] That is, (1) in Schelling’s journal Zeitschrift für spekulative Physik, I/1 ([spring] 1800) 49–99, and (2) as a separately published brochure, Ueber die Jenaische Allgemeine Literaturzeitung (Jena, Leipzig 1800). Christian Ernst Gabler published both pieces. Back.

[9] Goethe and Wilhelm had met in Leipzig on 12 May 1800 (Weimarer Ausgabe 3:2:295). Back.

[10] Poetisches Journal, ed. Ludwig Tieck (Jena 1801) (only two issues). Tieck did indeed deliver on his threat; see his piece Das jüngste Gericht, published first in his Poetisches Journal I/1 (1800) 221–46, here 240–44, then in Ludwig Tieck’s Schriften (Berlin 1828), 9:355–57. For the text of the section specifically satirizing the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, see the supplementary appendix Tieck’s Last Judgment. Back.

[11] Wilhelm apparently did write Schelling a letter that has not been preserved; Wilhelm wrote to Schleiermacher on 7 July 1800 (Aus Schleiermacher’s Leben3:197; KGA V/4:134): “I have now also written to Schelling.”

One might note the helpful and cordial, even collegial tone of this letter despite the fact that Schelling had, in effect, departed Jena with Wilhelm’s wife, Caroline. Back.

Translation © 2014 Doug Stott