Letter 296

• 296. Caroline to Wilhelm Schlegel in Berlin: Braunschweig, 5–6 March 1801 [*]

[Braunschweig] Thursday, 5[–6]March [1801]

|63| Let me yet respond this evening to your kind, long, material letter (that is, full of material), for if tomorrow morning the weather and I are not so very bad, I would like to go to Vieweg myself and take care of your errand. Apropos, I have been very anxious at the thought that you do not have an umbrella and that you might not be clever enough to come upon the idea that one can buy one. [1]

It seemed all quite dreary when I did not receive anything from you the previous postal day, but after considering things appropriately, I made the best of it and waited with all the more anticipation for today, when Madam von Siersdorf and the postal carrier arrived at the same time, and I accordingly had to wait an additional two hours. [1a]

The quarrel with the Chamäläon is all very muddled. What does seem wholly plausible to me is the suspicion regarding Meyer. [2] I would wager all my other good friends on the fact that that is precisely what is going on. What do you want? He is simply one of those “bad good friends” of whom Chamfort speaks, and I am certainly not the only one who can boast of having such friends. [3] |64| Definitely do not visit him, but neither break with Iffland entirely; it is simply not worth the trouble. —

Perhaps Tiek really should not have taken any notice of it; [4] had they more insolently gone about this business of slipping through, it would have been all the easier to hold on to them. [5]

Your letter strikes a quite proper tone of arbitration and peacemaking and appropriately maintains an impartial position above the matter. [6]

Schelling sent me a copy of his review of the Ehrenpforte in the Erlanger Zeitung along with the enclosed letter from Mehmel. [7] You can see with what utter unpretentiousness they simply changed it and in so doing introduced the expedient level of baseness; he is especially protesting the “dried-up diaphragm.” [8]

For the rest, there is a quite joyful outbreak of pleasure in it as well, without a trace of factiousness. — So, am I right in sensing that people in Berlin reacted so stupidly to the Ehrenpforte that Schleiermacher was quite accurate with his reference to the “unfavorable soil”? [9]

Wilhelm, Wilhelm, resist any cravings prompted by Frölich’s subtle suggestions! “Wieland” will cost you a good three months’ time, whereas three moons in the summer can yield three cantos for Tristan, which will do a far better job of refuting Oberon. [10] Stop and consider, my friend, and stop losing sight of it every time the hook-and-sinker appears and they try to tempt you. [11]

I am very gratified at the news of Friedrich Tiek’s return and of the possibility that he still might take on the monument; he is more likely to develop a personal interest in it and can probably also still get it finished this summer. [12] I am having a new frame made for the picture; I sent the other one along to the Tischbeins, from whom I still have not received a response. [13] Has Tiek already heard your poems? [14]

My dear, I translated Tancred and Gismonda and |65| need only develop it a bit further. [15] While doing it, however, I was so struck by how much grammar I am lacking that I will be taking an hour tutorial this month with Professor Köchy, which has already been arranged, otherwise I did want to ask for your consent. It is, after all, one more hour during which I can forget that my friend is no longer living upstairs in the mansard — though you may not think that I always react so pettily to doing without. You yourself no doubt almost wished you were back in your mansard again before you began feeling at home in your present, large, expensive apartment.

Good night. It is really raining hard here.

Friday morning [6 March]

I am not in a position to go out and thus sent an appropriate missive to Vieweg. — Do you recall that Meyer remained completely silent when Vieweg queried him about the Kamäleon?

My dear friend, you mention Niethammer’s proposal with respect to the house such that without the tiny, tiny note, which I can hardly read — for I am not yet certain whether it says: my plan with you seems quite good or not good [16] — I would not know what I should do with it. Naturally I will take no steps without you [17] — how can you believe that? I simply followed your lead by speaking with Luise further about the plan. [18]

But you must tell me more, my dear Wilhelm. What I have to say to you just now is merely this — I can never deny Schelling as a friend, but neither can I under any circumstances pass one particular boundary concerning which we are in agreement. This is the first and only vow of my life, and I will keep it, for I have accepted him in my soul as the brother of my child.

|66| The disappearance of a traitorous secret between us causes everything else to appear in a different light as well, first of all for us ourselves; and then this sense of security will also pass to our surroundings. Hence I believe I am able to go to Jena.

Have you not noticed that Friedrich does not answer me? [19] Lack of time and that sort of thing, surely you sense it as well, cannot be a valid reason in such a case, and certainly not toward me. It has become quite hard for him, indeed, harder even than my own displeased suspicion surmised. He himself must certainly be conscious of wanting to view me from a perspective that contradicts his own inner disposition. If he does not answer soon, I would like for him to send my letter to him back to you sealed, and I will request that you ask for it.

My good, dear friend, I certainly do not want to disturb you, but you must not shy away from writing me occasionally simply from the heart as well — for is it not true that there is indeed such a thing as a heart even though you are inclined to mock foolish passion?

I would have to make some domestic and household arrangements in Jena beforehand if Luise goes with me, something I no longer doubt, since she very much wants to, and my mother is improving. You have taken whatever measures were necessary with regard to Niethammer’s query, have you not? If Schiller had not already rented his garden house, as I learned by chance, I would have been in favor of accepting Niethammer’s offer immediately. [20]

Madam Gotter just wrote and would like to ask that you once more take an interest in a matter for her, since she allegedly heard that the best bet would be with a Berlin bookseller. [21]

She has another matter to discuss as well, a more important one. Cäcilie’s health is quite good, and according to Döll’s testimony she has made sufficient progress in drawing that she might try her luck at being a portrait painter. It has now occurred to her that she might send Cecile to Krause because everything else |67| would cost too much, for example, perhaps to Tischbein. Please tell me what you think about this as well; I do not really know how to help, since I know of no place where I might take her in with me in order to fulfill her wishes, wishes on which, as her mother quite seriously maintains, her entire future depends. —

The letter contained one bit of comical news; someone is claiming that the Neapolitan Tischbein will be marrying Madam Glockenbringk; she is certainly man enough, and he child enough for it. — If Hirt wrote that, then one cannot but respect him at least to a certain extent.

Adieu, dear, dear Wilhelm.

Friday, toward evening [6 March]

Schelling writes that “the poor devil Mehmel has gotten into a quarrel with Meusel over the review of the Ehrenpforte and that the two will in all likelihood formally break with each other,” and that he has seen from a review that Merkel has already taken note. [22]

Schelling is dissatisfied with Bernhardi’s review insofar as it almost looks as if he fears one might be able to view the Ehrenpforte as a pasquinade. [23] Tiek and the others as well are allegedly much too focused on these people; indeed Bernhardi allegedly has virtually a “cultivated sense” for it, and it would be very much beneath Tiek to get involved with M[erkel] in even the slightest fashion. [24]

I had sent Schelling the part of your letter relating the news about the Kamäleon, since there, too, all sorts of rumors were floating around. [25] He answered me: “Schlegel’s letter was a great joy to me; he is vigorous in a way I envy, so proper and yet so active in keeping right up with everything; if only a bit of that might rub off on me!”

By the way, I have kept the letter to Iffland here with me, [26] but tell me, since you do still owe me as much, |68| what exactly did you find in the Kamäleon, in the corpus delicti itself? [27]

I also wanted to let you know that today I authorized Mademoiselle Faber, along with other tasks, to be given the keys to all the rooms in the house except yours, in part so that whatever needs it can be cleaned and the alcoves whitewashed, and simply so windows can be opened from time to time to allow the sun in to do its salutary work. [28] Surely one will not refuse to give them to her? I wrote that your brother would give them to her.

I have already made the most excellent arrangements with Luise for taking care of a modest and pleasing household. We intend to share expenses equally, she has her maidservant, I mine — you are to pay us both for board. — We will doubtless be able to live quite frugally — but let me send you my figures here; see for yourself whether I was able to be more so in Braunschweig. Please do take a minute to look it over. [29]

Then please also note: the 23 rh. I saved, I still owe here — so I must probably deduct it from the 10 louis d’or I can yet expect from Goettingen. Hence if I also receive the 3 louis d’or from Wiedemann that Cotta paid out, I will in no way have enough to last further than Jena. Would you be so kind as to see to it that I will have some money waiting for me there? —

One thing I do think necessary is that I pay Succow immediately after I arrive if such has not yet been done. [30] — I fear very much that things are going to be a bit harsh as far as Friedrich’s payments are concerned. [31] He does not proceed properly in some things; for example, he had Gabler pay him in advance for his transcendental philosophy, though Gabler has seen not even a single page of it yet . [32]

If you have settled everything up with him, you must try to keep it that way, |69| since he depends far too much on his ever-present supports, which invariably, however, puts him at a disadvantage.

Adieu for the second time today, God bless! Philipp just wrote to inform me that his wife and sister-in-law will be coming to meet me when I arrive in Celle. [33]

[On the reverse side of a missive from Vieweg of 6 March, who rejects an offer by Tieck.] [34]

Here is Vieweg’s answer, and I myself must view it as something more than mere pretext, since I know how, for reasons of his own, he is dealing with Fourcroy and that he not only neglected certain things in order to promote him, e.g., Cuvier, and yet the presses can hardly keep up with the translators. [35]


[*] It seems Caroline wrote the final part of this letter (on Friday evening, 6 March 1801) after her letter to Schelling on the same day (letter 297), since in her letter to Schelling she yet suggests she has decided not to visit Philipp Michaelis in Harburg, nor does she mention the letter she receives from Philipp on this Friday evening, with respect to which her comments in the letter to Wilhelm seem to indicate that she has decided after all to journey to Harburg (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):


In any case, she seems to have written her letter to Schelling (letter 297) after the first two parts of this letter, then returned to the letter to Wilhelm after receiving Philipp’s letter. Back.

[1] Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, Kupfersammlung zu J[ohann] B[ernhard] Basedows Elementarwerke für die Jugend und ihre Freunde: Erste Lieferung in 53 Tafeln. Zweyte Lieferung in 47 Tafeln von L bis XCVI (Leipzig, Dessau, Berlin 1774), plate XVIa:



[1a] That is, the social visit lasted two hours. — Concerning Marie Sophie von Sierstorpff, see esp. Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 24 February 1801 (letter 290). Back.

[2] Concerning Caroline’s suspicion that Friedrich Ludwig Wilhelm Meyer had a hand in this anti-Romantic satire, see her letter to Luise Gotter on 23 January 1801 (letter 283). Back.

[3] See Chamfort, Oeuvres de Chamfort, recueillies et publiées par un de ses amis (Paris, l’an 3 de la République), 4:401; trans. The Cynic’s Breviary: Maxims and Anecdotes from Nicolas de Chamfort, trans. William G. Hutchison (London 1902), 33.

Wilhelm had mentioned this passage in his review of Chamfort in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung 340 (Saturday, 29 October 1796) 261 (see below):

Dans le monde, disait M…, vous avez trois sortes d’amis: vos amis qui vous aiment; vos amis qui ne se soucient pas de vous, et vos amis qui vous haïssent.

“In the world,” remarked some one to me, “you have three kinds of friends: the friends who love you, the friends who do not trouble their heads about you, and the friends who hate you.”

Caroline was familiar with Nicolas-Sébastien Roch de Chamfort’s aphorisms through Wilhelm himself, who discussed them in his lengthy review of Oeuvres de Chamfort, recueillies et publiées par un de ses amis (Paris, l’an 3 de la République) in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (1796) 338 (Thursday, 27 October 1796) 241–48; 339 (Friday, 28 October 1796) 249–54; 340 (Saturday, 29 October 1796) 257–63; Sämmtliche Werke 10:272–304.

Surprisingly, perhaps, Chamfort exerted considerable influence on the Jena Romantics’ early self-understanding (see in this regard also Ludwig Ferdinand Huber’s review of Athenaeum [supplementary appendix 256.1]). Chamfort’s wit had a particularly profound effect on Friedrich Schlegel. See Rudolf Haym, Die romantische Schule, 247–48 (supplementary appendix 296.1). Back.

[4] Concerning Ludwig Tieck’s reaction to the play, and for his exchange with August Wilhelm Iffland, see the supplementary appendix on Kamäleon and the Romantics. Back.

[5] Unclear sentence; Caroline seems inadvertently to have used a singular pronoun in the first half (the if-clause), which has no clear antecedent. Here corrected to “they” instead of “she” or (feminine) “it.” Back.

[6] See the supplementary appendix on Das Kamäläon for the text of Wilhelm’s letter to Iffland. Back.

[7] Schelling’s review of Wilhelm’s Ehrenpforte und Triumphbogen für den Theater-Präsidenten von Kotzebue bei seiner gehofften Rückkehr in’s Vaterland (Sämmtliche Werke 2:257–342 + 4 pages of musical score) in the Erlangen Litteratur-Zeitung (1801) 35 (19 February 1801) 273–78 (Sämmtliche Werke, 7:535–41; Fambach 4:540–44) reprints several of the poetic pieces amid considerable praise for the whole.

For the text of Schelling’s review, see supplementary appendix 296.2. Concerning the play itself, see the supplementary appendix on Wilhelm’s Kotzebuade. Back.

[8] The passage reads: “Even the most dried-up diaphragm cannot but be convulsed into laughter by even a modest performance of this celebratory song with its accompanying music!” See also note 12 in supplementary appendix 296.2 concerning this passage.

Although the editor of Schelling’s Sämmtliche Werke seems to have corrected several orthographical irregularities in the reprint of this review, it is not clear whether he had access to the original manuscript, since he adduces only the original publication in the Erlangen Litteratur-Zeitung as his source; Fambach 4:540–44 has published the original orthography. Back.

[9] See the final paragraph in Schleiermacher’s letter to Wilhelm on 27 December 1800 (letter 277d). Back.

[10] Friedrich Schlegel mentions Heinrich Frölich’s keen interest in Wilhelm’s anticipated “annihilation” of Wieland in his letter to Wilhelm on 22 December 1798 (letter 213):

And one other strange, almost comical point. He may have heard something from Vieweg about your taking up arms against Wieland. He is so attracted to this idea, however, believing it will have such a grand effect, that he is requesting and indeed wishes to receive this piece for one of the four (initial) issues he has agreed to undertake.

See note 4 there (with cross references) for the background to this project, which Wilhelm never executed. — Concerning Wilhelm’s unfinished poem “Tristan,” see Caroline’s letter to Schelling on 2 January 1801 (letter 279), note 6, with cross references.

Concerning Caroline’s early reaction to Wieland’s verse romance Oberon: Ein Gedicht in vierzehn Gesängen, along with text samples and illustrations, see her letter to Luise Gotter on 15 May 1780 (letter 15). Back.

[11] Caroline is referring broadly to her opposition to Wilhelm and other members of the Jena circle engaging in the kind of bellicose criticism that had hitherto cost them so much time and energy. See her and Dorothea Veit’s remarks at the beginning of supplementary appendix 280.2. Back.

[12] Although such did not happen (Bertel Thorvaldsen eventually completed the memorial for Auguste after Caroline’s death), Friedrich Tieck did undertake the bust of Auguste, which he completed in 1804 and which served as the model for Thorvaldsen’s later copy. Back.

[13] Uncertain reference; concerning the various portraits of Auguste, see Sophie Tischbein’s letter to Caroline on 28 August 1800 (letter 267), note 2. Back.

[14] Presumably a reference to Wilhelm’s Offerings for the Deceased. Back.

[15] Caroline mentions this translation in her letter to Schelling on 13 February 1801 (letter 286); concerning Boccaccio’s piece, see supplementary appendix 286.1. Back.

[16] Caroline is having trouble reading the expression recht gut or nicht gut in Wilhelm’s Current handwriting:



[17] At issue is how to manage the lease at Leutragasse 5 in Jena. Back.

[18] Although it is uncertain just what the nature of this plan was, in any case Luise and her daughter, Emma, accompanied Caroline back to Jena in April. Back.

[19] Caroline seems to have enclosed a controversial letter for Friedrich in an earlier letter to Schelling. This “epistolary affair” continued to generate ill-will between Caroline and Friedrich. See her undated letter to Schelling in January/February 1801 (letter 285) with note 4. See esp. also Friedrich’s letter to Wilhelm on 18 May 1801 (letter 317a) and the editorial note there (with additional cross references). Back.

[20] Schiller and his family occupied a garden house in Jena as a secondary residence between March 1797 and December 1799, when he moved to Weimar. Schiller leased out the house and property until 1802, when he sold it to Anton Friedrich Thibaut; here the garden house on an early postcard:



[21] At issue is the literary estate of Luise Gotter’s husband, Friedrich Wilhelm Gotter; a volume with the title Gedichte von Friedrich Wilhelm Gotter, vol. 3 (after 2 earlier volumes), containing pieces from his literary estate was eventually published by Johann Georg Justus Perthes in Gotha in 1802.

Concerning this volume and Luise’s attempts to place Gotter’s literary estate, see Caroline’s letter to her in March 1797 (letter 181), where the works contained in the 1802 volume are enumerated in note 2. Caroline follows up on the topic in this present letter (Wilhelm was unable to assist Luise Gotter in this matter) in her letter to Luise on 19 June 1801 (letter 321). Back.

[22] See Garlieb Merkel in his Briefe an ein Frauenzimmer über die wichtigsten Produkte der schönen Literatur 5 (1801) 2 (January–April) 474–76, in a postscript to his twenty-ninth letter (supplementary appendix 296.3). The two editors did indeed have a falling out over the publication of Schelling’s review, with Meusel resigning his editorship. Back.

[23] August Ferdinand Bernhardi review appeared in Friedrich Eberhard Rambach’s short-lived periodical Kronos. Ein Archiv der Zeit und ihres Geschmacks (1801) 1 (January) 47–52 (an ill-fated journal that appeared in two issues only and had trouble acquiring articles); see Rudolf Haym, Die romantische Schule, 753, who points out that Bernhardi

used the journal Kronos to explicate succinctly the concept of true poetic satire on the example of the Kotzebuade of his friend Schlegel, extolling the work as a “product of true humanity.” Schlegel’s own declaration confirming his authorship of the Kotzebuade, and a poetic jibe at Huber authored by Friedrich Schlegel were the only alms the Romantics offered to the editor of Kronos.

For the text of Wilhelm’s “declaration” (admission of authorship) in the Erlangen Litteratur-Zeitung and Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (a declaration in which he also mentions the distinction between “literary satire” and “pasquinade), see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 12 June 1801 (letter 320). Back.

[24] Concerning Ludwig Tieck’s plans for vengeance against Garlieb Merkel, among others, and for Wilhelm’s attempt to dissuade him from doing precisely that, see the discussion in the supplementary appendix on Heinrich Beck’s play Das Kamäleon. Back.

[25] Wilhelm’s letter to Caroline does not seem to be extant. Back.

[26] Presumably the letter Wilhelm had written to Iffland on 4 March 1801. Back.

[27] Latin, literally “body of the crime,” in law the fundamental evidence necessary to prove the commission of a crime. Back.

[28] That is, in the apartment at Leutragasse 5. Mademoiselle Faber is otherwise unidentified but was presumably a resident in the front part of the house. Friedrich Schlegel and Dorothea Veit mention her in a letter to Wilhelm on 4 September 1800 (letter 267b), as does Dorothea again in her letter to Wilhelm on 28 October 1800 (letter 273a). Back.

[29] Caroline is referring to the apartment in Jena. Otherwise Caroline speaks with increasing (and increasingly testy) frequency later, especially in letters to Wilhelm, about managing household finances, even including ledgers for his perusal.

Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki did a series of vignettes in 1780 with the title Occupations des dames; one of those vignettes, “Household management,” features the lady of the house, carefully examining her ledger and providing money to a maidservant (with the basket) for shopping. In the second illustration, a wife presents her household financial ledger for her husband’s perusal, essentially as Caroline is doing here ([1] Chodowiecki, Die Haushaltung [1780]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Uh 4° 47 [158]; [2] Allmanach auf das Jahr nach der gnadenreichen Geburt Jesu Christi 1786; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):




[30] Uncertain allusion, though the reference is presumably to medical services Succow had provided earlier in Jena; see, however, the following footnote. Back.

[31] Much of Friedrich’s correspondence with Wilhelm during the spring and early summer 1801 included financial matters. Dorothea, moreover, seems to have journeyed to Leipzig on or about 20 April 1801 (i.e., before Caroline’s arrival in Jena on 23 April 1801; see Friedrich’s letter to Wilhelm on 27 April 1801 [KFSA 25:266]) to have new teeth made, though in the process she came down with nervous fever (Caroline to Wilhelm on 31 May 1801 [letter 319]) (illustration: Pierre Fauchard, Des Herrn Pierre Fauchard Frantzösischer Zahn-Artzt, Oder Tractat von den Zähnen: Worinnen die Mittel, selbige sauber und gesund zu erhalten, sie schöner zu machen, die verlohrne wieder zu ersetzen … gelehret werden [Berlin 1733], plate from vol. 2):


Friedrich went to Leipzig on 7 May 1801 and returned with Dorothea to Jena on 10 May 1801 (Caroline to Wilhelm on 11 May 1801 [letter 315]) ([1] Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]; [2]
illustration of Leipzig in 1747: excerpt from Johann Christoph Müller, Abbildung der Königlichen und Churfürstlichen Sächsischen, Weltberühmten Kauf- und Handels-Stadt Leipzig: mit der dabey liegenden Gegend von Süd-Ost anzusehen [Gera, 1747]; [3] Leipzig market square, Karl Ramshorn, Leipzig und seine Umgebungen mit Rücksicht auf ihr historisches Interesse [Braunschweig 1841], plate following. p. 128):




Friedrich writes to Wilhelm on 1 June 1801 (KFSA 25:274) that Dorothea had been seriously ill for three weeks and was, though better, still bedridden (i.e., since approx. 10 May 1801) (illustration: anonymous, O! Kinder, Kinder [ca. 1776–1800]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Graph. Res. A: 371.9):


Friedrich writes to Schleiermacher on the same day (KFSA 25:276) that though Dorothea had been ill for three weeks, she had been able to leave the bed for several hours. In the next paragraph, he mentions that they were “extraordinarily satisfied with the physician Succow, Hufeland’s brother-in-law.” Dorothea herself writes to Schleiermacher with Friedrich on 15 June 1801 (letter 320a) concerning her (and Friedrich’s) health problems during this period. Back.

[32] Concerning Friedrich and the Jena publisher Christian Ernst Gabler, see Friedrich’s letter to Schleiermacher on 23 January 1801 (letter 283a), note 4. Back.

[33] Caroline visited her brother Philipp Michaelis in Harburg during the spring of 1801, departing Braunschweig on 29 March and returning on 18 April 1801. The journey took her through Celle, where she spent time with friends and relatives. Her letters during that period recount her trip. Concerning the location of Celle (Zelle), see Caroline’s letter to Luise Gotter on 24 November 1800 (letter 275), note 17. Back.

[34] The errand or missives to and from Vieweg seems to have involved Ludwig Tieck’s anticipated response to Beck’s play Das Kamäleon, which Tieck seems to have offered unsuccessfully to Vieweg for publication; see also the initial paragraph of Caroline’s letter to Schelling on this same day (6 March 1801), letter 297. Back.

[35] Caroline may be referring to an anticipated German edition of Cuvier’s Leçons d’anatomie comparée (1800–1805); here three examples from the original volume of illustrations (Paris 1805):


Otherwise Caroline is speaking about Antoine-François de Fourcroy, Fourcroy’s System der chemischen Kenntnisse, und Darstellung ihrer Anwendung auf die Erscheinungen der Natur und zu den Zwecken der Kunst. Aus dem Französischen von einer Gesellschaft deutscher Gelehrten, vol. 1 trans. and annotated by David Josef Veith, physician in Hamburg (Braunschweig: Vieweg 1801); vol. 5 trans. and annotated by C. R. W. Wiedemann, physician in Braunschweig (also 1801).

A review of these two volumes in Friedrich Nicolai’s Neue allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek (Berlin, Stettin 1802) vol. 74, no. 1, 411–13, here 411, mentions that “the second, third, and fourth volumes will appear later.” This review was followed, however (ibid., 413–15), by a review of volume 2 of the translation, which was published not by Vieweg, but by Friedrich Nicolovius in Königsberg and translated by the Berlin physician and Gymnasium professor Friedrich Wolff.

The review of volumes 1 and 5, while freely pointing out various shortcomings in the original, does suggests why Vieweg may have been justifiably keen to get these volumes in print (ibid. 411–13):

Publication of this work was bound to prompt considerable speculation insofar as through it, one believed oneself in possession of every advance that had been made in chemistry up to the nineteenth century and therefore viewed the work as a compendium for the entire discipline as such. One cannot deny that this voluminous work does indeed contain a wealth of facts and remarks on chemistry and that no professional chemist can be without it.

On the other hand, neither can one deny that the author’s florid style in the original edition often prompts considerable digressions that unnecessarily inflated the size of the work. It is at the same time true that it is a delight to read the original precisely because of the overall excellent style, nor is there any lack of new and interesting observations.

That said, in the overall organization and especially the execution of certain sections there is much to reproach. Nor is there any bibliography, a situation extraordinarily vexing to those seeking such.

The two volumes under discussion here are part of the translation of this work to be undertaken by several different scholars. It would be superfluous to cite excerpts, since every chemist has doubtless long been in possession of the work, and it would similarly be extremely difficult to communicate the most distinguished features of such a comprehensive work in so small a space. . . .

The translation, by the way, reads quite well even though it does not attain the level of the original. . . . The price of this work, which is genuinely about as inexpensive as one could desire, will doubtless considerably facilitate both the sales and the general distribution of the work. Back.

Translation © 2015 Doug Stott