Letter 271e

271e. Fichte to Ludwig Tieck in Berlin: Berlin, late October 1800 [*]

[Berlin, late October 1800]

My dear friend, I hasten today to carry out some instructions that I hope might provide you with undisturbed pleasure.

Schelling writes the following to me:

[citation from letter 271c]

Our friend’s disappointment came about as follows. You are doubtless aware that Wilhelm Schlegel has taken all the necessary steps to carry out a plan, behind my back and while explicitly forbidding anyone to inform me of such, whose real initiator I myself was and which he in part copied out word for word from the written plan I had left with him. [1] I happened to find out about all this quite by chance, and amid the disputes that have since arisen it has emerged that Friedrich Schlegel has acted in the following way with respect to Schelling and me.

On my arrival in Jena, someone remarked to Schelling the [suggestion?] . . . that he try to establish a better relationship with me, since I was, as someone alleged to know, quite angry with him. Such was quite suited to destroying our relationship.

You are aware of how infrequently I went out in Jena last winter; [2] you are also aware that Schelling was never at home. That notwithstanding, I did quite often seek him out at his residence until finally I simply abandoned such, having grown weary of the futile search. —

In the meantime, the Schlegels remarked that in fact I never came to visit Schelling, that the whole town had become aware of such, and that everyone was saying we had had a falling out; — all while he alone, our good, guileless Schelling, did not notice what my true disposition toward him was.

Finally, after my departure from Jena, someone told Schelling that I had spoken to Friedrich Schlegel about him in a way that had even outraged the latter (Fr. Schl.).

It pains me greatly to become acquainted with this particular side of Friedrich Schlegel, whom I was quite inclined to love; and I am similarly quite sorry to cause what is likely similar pain for you. But a friend is nonetheless obliged to warn another against false friends.

Yours truly,


[*] Sources: Fichte Briefwechsel (1930), vol. 2, Nachträge, pp. 37–38.

The citation from Schelling’s letter that Fichte here copies out for Tieck is now letter 271c, quod vide concerning the background to this letter and the larger dispute as well. Back.

[1] Fichte had arrived in Jena in December 1799 to tie up loose ends, close down his household, and move his family to Berlin, which he did in March 1800. Back.

[2] The Tiecks had arrived in Jena in mid-October 1799 but left in late June 1800; concerning their reasons for leaving, see Wilhelm Schlegel’s letter to Johann Diederich Gries on 22 June 1800 (letter 264a), note 6. After several stops (including Weissenfels and Hamburg), the Tiecks settled in Berlin. Back.

Translation © 2014 Doug Stott