Letter 274a

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

Jena, 10 November 1800

. . . I just arrived back home, quite fatigued, from my lecture, and must thus ask you to make do with these paltry lines, since the letter must get to the post immediately. [1] Dorothea has not been well for several days.

I have about 60 students [2] and am nonetheless being paid as poorly as with all my previous work. The presentation and exercise involved does give me a great deal of pleasure, but the students are inexpressibly stupid, and I must be mindful not to view the entire affair solely from the perspective of irony. [3]

The only bad thing is that it eats up so much time. —

The first part of Florentin has been printed. [4]

I am infinitely looking forward to the Kotzebuade. [5]

Stay very well and do not forget to return here. [6]

Have you been seeing Madam Nuys? [7]

Warm regards from Dorothea.



[*] Sources: Walzel, 445; KFSA 25:197. Back.

[1] Friedrich was lecturing 5–6:00 in the afternoons; the postal day was Tuesday (KFSA 25:537). Back.

[2] Since this number seemed to remain consistent, Schelling’s assertion to Fichte on 31 October 1800 (letter 273c) that Friedrich “has already been buried” was apparently not really accurate. Back.

[3] Wilhelm apparently passed along to Caroline Friedrich’s quip here about the “perspective of irony,” since she mentions it in her letter to Schelling on 18 November 1800, whence also the redating of that letter, which was originally letter 271, from October (so Schmidt [1913]) to November; that letter is now letter 274d. Back.

[4] Florentin. Ein Roman herausgegeben von Friedrich Schlegel, vol. 1 (Leipzig 1801) (vol. 2 never appeared); here Friedrich is talking about the page proofs for the first part of volume 1. Back.

[5] Concerning August von Kotzebue’s return to Germany from Siberian exile, see Friedrich’s letter to Wilhelm on 6 August 1800 (letter 265j), note 10.

The reference is to Wilhelm Schlegel, Ehrenpforte und Triumphbogen für den Theater-Präsidenten von Kotzebue bei seiner gehofften Rückkehr in’s Vaterland. Mit Musik. Gedruckt zu Anfange des neuen Jahrhunderts (Braunschweig 1801), reprinted in Sämmtliche Werke, 2:257–342 + 4 pages of musical score. The piece was published anonymously and with no indication either of the publisher (Johann Friedrich Vieweg) or of the place of publication. References to the play, known as Wilhelm’s Kotzebuade, recur in several subsequent letters. Back.

[6] Although both Friedrich and Dorothea had issued invitations to Wilhelm to reside with them in their new apartment in Jena, Wilhelm did not return to Jena until August 1801, and even then only for a temporary visit. He does, however, seem to have been planning a temporary visit to Jena toward the end of 1800 or possibly the first two weeks in January 1800; see his letters to Schleiermacher on 1 December 1800 (letters 276b) with note 1, and on 22 December 1800 (letter 277b). Back.

[7] Wilhelm had indeed been seeing Elisabeth Wilhelmine van Nuys, and intimately, who was living in Braunschweig at the time (Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, Rieckchen, Sieh mich an! Gott weiss, es ist kein falsch in mir [1786]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Uh 4° 47 [63]):


Though Minna van Nuys also had social contact with Caroline, Caroline understandably cut that contact off once Wilhelm left for Berlin in February 1801.

See Wilhelm’s letters to Goethe on 1 September 1799 (letter 243d), and to Minna van Nuys on 13 September 1799 (letter 243e); see esp. Josef Körner’s article on Caroline’s Rival: Minna van Nuys. Back.

Translation © 2014 Doug Stott