Letter 265g

265g. Friedrich Schlegel to Wilhelm Schlegel in Bamberg: Jena, 26 July 1800 [*]

[Jena] Saturday, 26 July 1800

The parcel to Unger was taken care of yesterday. [1] I will enclose for you the mail that has arrived in the meantime. . . . The issue of the Intelligenzblatt will not particularly edify any of you; but since it constitutes yet another bit of evidence, I thought I needed to send it along to you all. [2] . . .

The two Melisches wanted me to send their regards to you and Caroline. [3] Doctor Hufeland also paid a visit to Madam Veit, where he earnestly and cordially inquired concerning Karoline’s health and about the course of Auguste’s illness. [4]

We are hoping that the box we sent the last postal day has arrived safely; Madam Veit especially also hopes that nothing was forgotten and everything was properly packed. . . .

We would very much like to receive letters from you. The messenger can still come once more today; heaven grant that he bring good news.

Goethe is here and will be staying at least a bit longer. [5] I had a long conversation with him yesterday, carefully avoiding any discussion of governmental matters. It seems he has not worked much recently; at least when I asked him about his optical studies, he complained considerably about various hindrances. He still speaks with particular fondness about Schelling’s philosophy of nature. [6]

Madam Veit sends her warm regards. We are mightily at work. Thank God that at least the sun is shining again here so that one can occasionally get out of this desolate house for some refreshment outside. [7]

Stay well.


[*] Sources: Walzel, 430–31; KFSA 25:145–46. Back.

[1] Dorothea was copying out one of Wilhelm’s translations of Shakespeare to send to the Berlin publisher of the edition, Friedrich Unger (also mentioned in Friedrich’s previous letter to Wilhelm [letter 265e]). Back.

[2] Presumably the “Declaration,” dated 2 July 1800, that Henrik Steffens published just before Wilhelm’s departure in the Intelligenzblatt of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (1800) 104 (Saturday, 19 July 1800) 891–94, in response to Gottlieb Hufeland’s own “Declaration” in the Intelligenzblatt (1800) 77 (Wednesday, 11 June 1800) 639–40.

Hufeland in his own turn published a “Response” to Steffens in the same issue (104) 894–96. At issue was Hufeland’s rejection of Steffens as a reviewer for Schelling’s works on the philosophy of nature because of Steffens’s status as a student of Schelling. Steffens naturally objected that he was objective enough to do such reviews and that, as a matter of fact, he was not a student at the university and indeed had himself already been a university lecturer in Denmark.

See Wilhelm’s letter to Goethe on 13 June 1800 (letter 262b), note 1, and Schelling’s letter to Wilhelm on 6 July 1800 (letter 265), note 5. Back.

[3] Joseph Charles and Caroline Mellish, who were living in Weimar (Schiller would later purchase their house). See Goethe’s letter to Wilhelm from Weimar on 1 May 1798 (letter 199c) concerning his desire to introduce the two men to each other. Back.

[4] Hufeland had treated Caroline during the spring of 1800 in Jena during her bout with nervous fever and had recommended the journey to a mineral-springs spa as part of her rehabilitation. It may be recalled that Hufeland was an adamant opponent of the Brunonian method. See Wilhelm’s letter to Johann Diederich Gries on 16 March 1800 (letter 258r), note 5.

Diverging opinions and innuendo concerning the course of Auguste’s illness eventually generated a public scandal involving Schelling. Back.

[5] Goethe was in Jena between 22 July and 4 August 1800; Friedrich had already visited him the previous day, 25 July and would do so again on 28 July, apparently delivering the latest (and overall final) issue of Athenaeum (1800), which Goethe notes reading on 29 July 1800 (Weimarer Ausgabe 3:2:303).

Concerning Goethe’s stay in Jena during the next three months and Friedrich’s other visits with him, see Goethe’s letter to Wilhelm on 12 July 1800 (letter 265c), note 3. Back.

[6] Concerning Goethe’s growing interest in Schelling’s philosophy of nature, see his letter to Wilhelm on 12 July 1800 (letter 265c), note 3, second paragraph. Back.

[7] Possibly in the in the extensive and quite pleasant and restful garden behind Leutragasse 5 (frontispiece to Eduard Helmke, Bericht über die Orthopaedisch-gymnastische Heilanstalt in Jena [Leipzig 1863]; 2nd, representative illustration: Taschenbuch für das Jahr 1813: Der Liebe und Freundschaft gewidmet [Frankfurt]):




Translation © 2014 Doug Stott