Letter 283b

283b. Schleiermacher to Friedrich Schlegel in Jena: Berlin, 24 January 1801 [*]

Berlin, 24 January 1801

I am doing very poorly indeed, my good friend, and solely because I have heard absolutely nothing from you for such an outrageously long time. [1] I have not been suspecting that any sort of misfortune had befallen all of you, but honestly, bye the bye I have nonetheless been getting rather anxious.

But that is the least of my worries. I am genuinely suffering spiritually from our fellowship having been so utterly interrupted. I will say that I recently read all your old letters again, those to Landsberg, those from Dresden, those to Potsdam, [2] and all the old notes from Dorothea, being afterward quite gratified concerning all the dissonances that have been resolved, and concerning all the things that were evoked anew for me that once were so intimately associated with your inner life, and so many specific things from that earlier period that I now understand better here in a later one, and even yesterday I spoke with Tiek for an entire hour solely about you. You basically know how tedious something like that can be, and yet it was a delight for me, for even though I do not believe he really understands much about you, he is able to recount things quite well. —

But you tell me yourself, is that not a sure sign of famine when one must resort to such nourishment?

Tiek tells me that Wilhelm also intended to write me immediately after his arrival in Jena concerning the apartment, but he has not written, has not come, and we do not even know whether he really is in Jena or not, or whether he is coming or not coming. [3] . . .

Write, write, write, I implore you, for all the gods’ sake, and Dorothea as well, and let me hear some good news. Warm regards to Wilhelm if you have him there with you, and tell him he should come.

Your friend,


[*] Sources: Aus Schleiermacher’s Leben 3:257–58; KGA V/5 36–38; KFSA 25:224–25. Back.

[1] This letter crossed with Friedrich Schlegel’s letter of 23 January 1801 (letter 283a) and Dorothea Veit’s of 17 January 1801 (letter 282b). Schleiermacher responded to Friedrich on 7 February 1801, remarking in his initial paragraph (Aus Schleiermacher’s Leben 3:259; KGA V/5 44; KFSA 25:228):

I was indescribably pleased finally to hear something from you both; it had seemed like an inordinately long time, and I was genuinely apprehensive that some serious misfortune or other had befallen you.

I cannot really say anything more about my own problems, they are actually rather petty things that nonetheless manage to be bothersome enough; but now they have largely passed. One of them was not so small, namely, that through a bit of intrigue I lost a position on which I had been counting as something fairly certain, yet even so, it is not really much of a loss. That I am unable to find a way to make it possible to visit you, however, is indeed more vexing than anything else, but what can be done? Back.

[2] Schleiermacher had taken a three-week trip to Landsberg in late August and early September 1798, Friedrich had written Schleiermacher from Dresden in July and August 1798, and from 14 February till 14 May 1799 Schleiermacher had been in Potsdam as a vicar in the garrison church (KFSA 25:563fn2, 3, 4) (Post Karte Durch ganz Deutschland, ed. J. Walch [Augsburg 1795])



[3] Wilhelm was still in Braunschweig and did not return to Jena until August 1801 (initial plans to return in early January 1801 had included Caroline but never materialized), traveling to Berlin instead at the end of February; see his letter to Schleiermacher on 9 February 1801 asking for help securing a furnished room (letter 285c) (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):

Braunschweig_Berlin_Jena_ map


Translation © 2014 Doug Stott