Letter 302

• 302. Caroline to Luise Gotter in Gotha: Braunschweig, 19 March 1801 [*]

Br[aunschweig], 19 March [18]01

|81| My dear friend, I have once again suffered a harsh blow to my health and in my heart, having to watch my sister’s little boy die virtually in my own arms, by all appearances from the same illness that cost me my own bliss on earth. He was an extremely handsome little boy, radiating health and gaiety and so often providing genuine refreshment to the rest of us. . . .

You can imagine how I felt. And indeed, I, too immediately fell ill, remaining bedridden for several days, and am still extremely fatigued. We have all been sick, which is what has prevented me from answering earlier, and even now I must be brief, as ardently as I do nonetheless view your own matter as my own.

[Cäcilie’s training.] The only thing the entire academy in Weimar is engaged in is illumination; no one learns anything proper. . . .

As far as the plays are concerned, Schlegel will also take care of that in Leipzig; [1] nothing can be done in Berlin — he sent me an offer from Tiek for Vieweg here, who similarly rejected it. [2]

As far as my own immediate arrangements are concerned, let me relate the following to you that has been decided since Schlegel’s departure 3 weeks ago: [3]

Wiedemann will be taking a trip to Paris for 6 to 8 months, |82| and my sister will be accompanying me to Jena, though now with her only child, who is, however, a most delightfully charming creature, a little girl 2 1/4 years old. My brother will be taking my mother (for whom we in Jena are too “witty”) to stay with him in Harburg.

Hence within 3 weeks after Easter I will again be in your vicinity, though I cannot visit you now. [4] Promise me, however, that we will see each other in Weimar, where Iffland will be coming in May. Schlegel will be coming back from Berlin at the same time by way of Leipzig. [5] Luise will be staying in Jena until her husband picks her up again on his return journey through Germany. [6] For me this provides a certain measure of relief. Could we but have taken her dear little boy, August, with us!

Stay well, give my regards to everyone there, you know who they all are. . . .

Caroline S.


[*] Because Caroline here relates to Luise Gotter much of the information she related to Wilhelm Schlegel on 16 March 1801 (letter 301) concerning the illness and death of August Wiedemann and her anticipated travel plans, Georg Waitz, (1871), 55–56, apparently chose not to include duplicate information, whence the ellipses in this letter.

Erich Schmidt, (1913), 81–82, though possibly having access to the manuscript (he indicates the content of the material in one of the ellipses), followed Waitz’s decision.

Similarly here, see letter 301 for the details of virtually all of Caroline’s remarks in this letter. Back.

[1] Caroline had originally asked Wilhelm to query publishers in Berlin; he was, however, also intending to attend the Leipzig book fair. Back.

[2] Concerning Ludwig Tieck’s recent unsuccessful attempt to place a work with Friedrich Vieweg, see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 5–6 March 1801 (letter 296), note 34. Back.

[3] Wilhelm had left Braunschweig for Berlin on 21 February 1801. Back.

[4] Post Karte Durch ganz Deutschland, ed. J. Walch (Augsburg 1795):



[5] Concerning Iffland’s anticipated performance and Wilhelm’s itinerary, see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 16 March 1801 (letter 301), note 17 (Post Karte Durch ganz Deutschland, ed. J. Walch [Augsburg 1795]):


Wilhelm in any case did not return to Jena until 11 August 1801. Back.

[6] Christian Rudolf Wilhelm Wiedemann arrived in Jena from France in late September 1801; he, Luise, and Emma Wiedemann returned to Braunschweig in early October 1801 (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):



Translation © 2015 Doug Stott