Letter 274

• 274. Schelling to Wilhelm Schlegel in Braunschweig: Jena, 10 November 1800 [*]

Jena, 10 November 1800

|15| My sincere thanks for the confirmation you were kind enough to send along to me concerning Caroline’s recovery. I suspected as much, since I was quite certain I could expect a letter from her. —

No doubt she is not always cautious in Braunschweig either; I am particularly disinclined toward the French theater, where the breeze and drafts are always so strong and where one can so easily catch a head cold. [1] I hope she has completely recovered now; should such not be the case, let me entreat |16| you most earnestly to be so kind as not to leave me without news for even a single postal day if possible, since the uncertainty in which I otherwise must hover is by far the most terrible part for me. [2]

Did you know that Schiller’s Musenalmanach will not be appearing at all? [3] In its place, that young man Seckendorf will allegedly be publishing a poetic magazine or whatever it is, to which Schiller, Mlle Imhoff etc. will be contributing their work.

The poetic Taschenbuch will no doubt soon been wholly settled. How pleased I would be could I join you with worthy contributions. Unfortunately, my personal circumstances just now make it highly unlikely that I will be able to produce anything new anytime soon. That said, I can, however, offer a certain Lied to you. [4]

Stay well. I hope to have the pleasure soon of reading something by you. At the very least, Caroline writes me that you are being very diligent indeed.

Your most devoted,

P.S. Since you have taken notice of Bardili’s Logik after all, when you have a chance read the review in the most recent pages of the Erlanger Literatur-Zeitung, [5] one that besides providing an extremely accurate presentation of this nonsense has also given Jacobi and Reinhold what they deserve, and that given its spirit and manner of expression can almost only have been authored by Fichte. [6]


[*] Sources: partial publication (up to “Did you know that Schiller’s”) in Schmidt (1913) (present edition) as letter 274; full publication in Fuhrmans 1:237–38; not included in Plitt . Back.

[1] Caroline had mentioned attending the French theater in Braunschweig in her undated letter to Schelling in October 1800 (letter 273). Concerning the French theater company in Braunschweig at this time, see Wilhelm’s letter to Goethe in early February 1801 (letter 285a), note 5. See also the section on the Braunschweig theater in Caroline’s letter to Luise Gotter on 20 May 1795.

That said, one wonders how Schelling knew about the drafts, since he himself had never been to Braunschweig. Presumably Caroline herself related such to him in a lost letter. Back.

[2] Wilhelm Schlegel writes to Ludwig Tieck from Braunschweig on 23 November 1800 (Briefe an Ludwig Tieck 3:255) that

Caroline continues to be sickly; even the slightest chance circumstance prompts her weakness to reemerge in its entire scope. She and I both send our warmest regards to you and your dear wife. Give little Dorothea a kiss in my name.

In his own turn, however, Wilhelm’s health seems to have been quite good in Braunschweig; in the same letter, and just preceding the lines about Caroline, he writes to Tieck:

I hope you are completely healthy this winter and are noticing no effects of the cursed gout. I myself am quite healthy by virtue of a good diet, which includes strong beer, wine, and liqueur, something I also heartily recommend to you.

Friedrich Schlegel writes to Wilhelm from Jena on 24 November 1800, apparently responding to a letter from Wilhelm with news of Caroline’s health (Walzel, 448; KFSA 25:202): “I am quite glad to hear that Karoline has recovered again.” Back.

[3] Schiller abandoned his project in the autumn of 1800, and Wilhelm Schlegel convinced Schiller’s publisher, Johann Friedrich Cotta, to publish a similar piece, what Schelling here calls the “poetic Taschenbuch” in the next paragraph and what ultimately became the Musen-Almanach für das Jahr 1802, ed. Wilhelm Schlegel and Ludwig Tieck (Tübingen 1802). It was originally envisioned as a collection of poems from, essentially, the earlier Jena circle (Wilhelm and Friedrich Schlegel, Ludwig Tieck, Friedrich von Hardenberg, and Schelling). It appeared in the autumn of 1801. Though Wilhelm was hoping to get Goethe and Schiller to contribute as well, such never happened. Back.

[4] “Lied” (“Lied”), Musen-Almanach für das Jahr 1802, 245 (Sämmtliche Werke 10:437–38); Schelling also contributed “Thier und Pflanze,” 158–59 (Sämmtliche Werke 10:439), “Loos der Erde,” 273 (see the translations in Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 15 May 1801 [letter 316]); and “Die letzten Worte des Pfarrers zu Drottning in Seeland. Eine wahre Geschichte,” 118–27 (Sämmtliche Werke 10:431–37; Eng. trans. “The Last Words of the Pastor of Drottning”). Back.

[5] Christoph Gottlieb Bardili, Grundriss der ersten Logik (Stuttgart 1800); see also Caroline’s letters to Wilhelm on 1–2 March 1801 (letter 293) and on 19–20 July 1801 (letter 326); reviews appeared in the Erlanger Literatur-Zeitung (1800) nos. 120–22 (a negative review by Johann Baptist Schad) and 214–15 (30, 31 October 1800) (by Fichte). Back.

[6] Schelling noticeably says not a word in this letter about his own plans for a journal, namely, his Neue Zeitschrift für speculative Physik; see Rudolf Haym’s discussion of the Romantics’ Jahrbücher project. Back.

Translation © 2014 Doug Stott