Letter 264e

264e. Friedrich Schlegel and Dorothea Veit to Schleiermacher in Berlin: Jena, 5–7 July 1800 [*]

[Jena, 5–7 July 1800]

[Friedrich:] Madam Veit, whom the Pyrmont spring water has greatly benefited while nonetheless occasionally being rather hard on her constitution, [1] asks that you send us the bed and the other things she already enumerated to you by way of a carter, whom you can engage there; such can be found by inquiring at the White Swan on Jüdenstrasse. [2]

From among her books, she would like you to send along Goethe [3] and the English version of Shakespeare that Bernhardi has. Let me also add the volumes of Die Horen that were left behind, so that the overall book remains intact, and the first four volumes of the German edition of Shakespeare, and should Mademoiselle Levi perhaps not come, or brings nothing along with her, then also the books I recently mentioned to you. [4]

Could you also send along a list of all the books of mine that are still in Berlin so that I will know what perhaps I may still need?

I am very eager to hear from you that you have accepted our invitation.

(Veit has written, and it is now only too certain that absolutely nothing can be arranged with him and that we will thus simply have to help ourselves.) [5] . . .

There was an announcement in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung today about some letters on Lucinde that will allegedly be out in a few weeks, probably by a certain Vermehren here and quite contra me, as Angebrentano has told me. [6] In the meantime, however, that is a rather good development from a mercantile perspective.

[Dorothea:] My good friend, only this moment a carter showed up here who wants to bring along my things from Berlin; he will be leaving here a week from today, on the 14th, and will immediately report to you. I have made arrangements with him. Have a barrel purchased at some materials dealer, e.g., from Löhder, and pack the following in it:

The beds from the Mendelssohns. [7]
The linens from Madam Bernhardi.
Everything stored in the various shelves in the desk, and in the drawers underneath.
My green bed curtains, which are either at the Mendelssohns or stored in a chest of drawers. [8]
Whatever linens or small things you find in the brown chest of drawers at the Mendelssohns.
My teaspoons from Madam Bernhardi, and knives and forks.
And if any space remains for smaller items, then please fetch those from the box with the kitchen utensils; but that box also needs to be sent along.
I would like to have any non-breakable kitchen and house utensils. [9]

Both the box and the container need to be weighed on the council scales, and the receipt sent to me. [10]

Mille pardon. adieu. [11]


[*] Sources: Aus Schleiermacher’s Leben 3:200–01 (frag.); KGA V/4 131–33; KFSA 25:136–37. Dating according to KFSA 25:478. Back.

[1] Friedrich had written Clemens Brentano on the same day (“Briefe Friedrich Schlegels an Clemens Brentano und an Sophie Mereau,” ed. Heinz Amelung, Zeitschrift für Bücherfreunde, 5/6 [1913/1914], 183–92, here: 5:185; KFSA 25:135):

We were so delighted that you thought of us there in your summer logis [in Altenburg]. This goes for Madam Veit as well, who is prevented from writing today by the Pyrmont water.

Dorothea had been drinking Pyrmont spring water, which was bottled for use outside Pyrmont as well; see her and Friedrich’s letter to Schleiermacher on ca. 1 July 1800 (letter 264c), note 3. One disadvantage was that it allegedly had to be drunk in considerable quantities; Clemens Brentano later recalled the regimen in a letter to Achim von Arnim on 1 January 1806 (Achim von Arnim und Clemens Brentano. Freundschaftsbriefe, 2 vols., ed. Hartwig Schultz [Frankfurt/Main 1998], 1:330; abridged in Achim von Arnim und die ihm nahe standen, ed. Reinhold Steig and Herman Grimm, 3 vols. [Stuttgart 1894–1904], vol. 1, Achim von Arnim und Clemens Brentano, ed. Reinhold Steig, 1:158):

Your description of Jena is vividly accurate, and now picture for yourself Clemens, in despair, taking walk in Paradies alongside Madam Veit, the latter constantly drinking and pissing out Pyrmont water. Back.

[2] The White Swan, at Jüdenstrasse 30 in Berlin, was one of the oldest taverns in Berlin (rated “second class” by Friedrich Nicolai, Beschreibung der Königlichen Residenzstädte Berlin und Potsdam, 2 vols., 3rd ed. [Berlin 1786], 967); freight carters and other conveyance operators often unhitched their teams and stayed overnight there; indeed, the inn was known primarily as such a locale. It was located on the east side of the Spree River near the royal residence (König. Schloß / Schloß Platz at the left on the first map excerpt below), but essentially on the other side of town from the Charité, where Schleiermacher was living D. G. Reymann, Neuester Grundriss von Berlin [1826]):



Dorothea writes to Schleiermacher similarly on 26 September 1800 (KFSA 25:186), requesting that he solicit Henriette Herz to

please pack up my tea machine and keep it there with her until I find the opportunity to have it sent here; or, if she can pack it up properly in a crate, it can simply be given to a carter of the sort that can always be found in the White Swan or the Roe Deer [another inn] in the Jüdenstrasse.

Friedrich and Dorothea had arranged to move out of the house at Leutragasse 5 they had shared with Wilhelm and Caroline; see their letter to Schleiermacher on ca. 1 July 1800 (letter 264c) (in which they invite Schleiermacher to visit them that autumn), esp. with note 2. Back.

[3] Because Friedrich refers literally to “the Goethe” (den Goethe), the reference is presumably to the edition Goethe’s Schriften, 8 vols. (Leipzig 1787–90). Back.

[4] Dorothea had been trying to persuade Rahel Levin to visit them in Jena (see her letters to Rahel Levin on 28 April, 2 June 1800 [letters 259l, 260f]). The visit never materialized. Back.

[5] Dorothea had been trying to work out certain arrangements with her ex-husband, Simon Veit, concerning financial assistance and the upbringing of her youngest son, Philipp, who had accompanied Dorothea to Jena; issues included a possible marriage to Friedrich, which according to her divorce settlement with Veit would have caused her problems in retaining custody of Philipp. See her letter to Schleiermacher on 16 June 1800 (letter 263a); see also esp. Dorothea’s letter to Auguste in June 1800 (letter 263), note 5. Back.

[6] Johann Bernhard Vermehren, Briefe über Friedrich Schlegel’s Lucinde zur richtigen Würdigung derselben (Jena 1800).


In fact, Vermehren was trying to mediate between the factions opposing and supporting the novel and was actually quite favorably disposed toward the novel. “Angebrentano” is Clemens Brentano; concerning the nickname, Auguste’s letter to Schelling on 4/5 June 1800 (letter 261), note 7.

The announcement had just appeared in the Intelligenzblatt of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung(1800) 95 (Saturday, 5 July 1800) 798:

In a few weeks, the Stahl booksellers in Jena will be publishing a book with the title Briefe über Schlegels Lucinde zur richtigen Würdigung derselben, which will undertake a precise and impartial analysis of this novel, also indicating the perspective from which it should be viewed, correct the various disputed points it has elicited, and carefully examine its aesthetic value according to universally valid rules of the fine arts. I would like to draw the attention of all objective, unprejudiced readers to this piece beforehand.

Friedrich later published poems in Vermehren’s Musenalmanach für das Jahr 1802 and 1803. Back.

[7] Either Abraham or Josef Mendelssohn in Berlin. Back.

[8] Most — though not all — of the illustrations of beds in this project depict bed curtains, which were essentially standard in bourgeois homes (Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, [1] Verschiedene Speisen und Utensilien aus dem Alltagsleben, Pflanzen und Tiere [late 18th-century]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Graph. C: 272; [2] 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 XXV):




[9] Concerning household items of the sort Dorothea mentions, and as in the previous letter, click on the image below to open a gallery of illustrations of a typical mid-18th-century bourgeois residence:



[10] Council scales were those overseen by the town- or city-council administration and thus less likely to be unjust, as is the suspicion in the following illustration (Kupfersammlung zu J[ohann] B[ernhard] Basedows Elementarwerke für die Jugend und ihre Freunde, plate XXXII):



[11] Fr. (mille pardons), literally, “a thousand pardons.” Back.

Translation © 2014 Doug Stott