Letter 312d

312d. Wilhelm Schlegel to Ludwig Tieck in Dresden: Berlin, 28 April 1801 [*]

Berlin, 28 April 1801

Dearest friend, many thanks for the news about my sister’s health; please pass along to her and her family my joyous regards and best wishes. [1]

It is very sad you will not be going to Jena. [2] Everyone’s expectations will be disappointed, Caroline, who is now back there again, Schelling, and Friedrich. Schelling has written that he very much hoped to see you frequently and that he has much to relate to you concerning which he would like to hear your opinion. [3]

It is even worse that it is your health that is causing you to cancel your plans. I implore you to take proper care of yourself. I believe especially lukewarm baths would do you good, and Dresden has some quite clean and reasonably priced possibilities in that regard.

The quarrel concerning your accommodations, of course, has now essentially been eliminated. In the meantime, if you do come during the autumn, I myself will presumably be there as well, and then it really would be more natural for you to lodge with me. But I will leave it to your own feelings; one cannot force someone to accept an invitation. [4]

Listen, taking sides is absolutely not my thing, — I am in favor of a general peace and am trying in every way to bring it about. In any event, you will likely not be choosing the right party if you take F[riedrich]’s side against C[aroline]. Believe me, he has got mixed up in this thing in an indiscreet fashion that is, frankly, also too intimate for me, and has done so solely because of his touchiness, since he is unfortunately not at all free of such pettiness. You know as well as I do what is to be said about Madam Veit. When I get to Jena, there is to be absolutely no more talk of such taking sides, otherwise I myself would then take sides against Friedrich. . . .

You probably already know about my dispute with Unger, or if not you can learn the details from Cotta or Sander. [5]


[*] Sources: Briefe an Ludwig Tieck 3:244–46; Lohner 64–66; fourth paragraph repr. in Schmidt, (1913), 2:611–12. Back.

[1] Charlotte Ernst had been seriously ill with nervous fever; see Tieck’s letters to Wilhelm on ca. 21 April 1801 (letter 310a) and to Friedrich Schlegel on 23 April 1801 (letter 310b) (illustration: anonymous, O! Kinder, Kinder [ca. 1776–1800]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Graph. Res. A: 371.9):



[2] Tieck had been contemplating and indeed planning a trip to Jena during most of the spring. See Caroline’s initial mention of this trip and the question of accommodations in her letter to Wilhelm on 26–27 March 1801 (letter 303), Friedrich’s indignant query to Wilhelm on 6 April 1801 (letter 304a) concerning the plans to have Tieck stay with Caroline rather than him and Dorothea Veit, Caroline’s attempt to have Schelling intervene in Jena should Tieck arrive and try to stay with Friedrich, then Tieck’s explanation of his reasons for not coming (health) in his letters to Wilhelm and Friedrich on ca. 21 and 23 April 1801 (letters 310a, 310b). Back.

[3] See Schelling’s letter to Wilhelm on 20 April 1801 (letter 309a). Back.

[4] Tieck did not make the trip to Jena after all. Back.

[5] Concerning the dispute with Unger concerning the edition of Shakespeare, see Wilhelm’s letter to Caroline on 18 April 1801 (letter 309). Although Wilhelm queried both Cotta (see Wilhelm’s letter to him on 23 April 1801 [letter 310c]) and Sander about continuing the edition, neither chose to do so, and Friederike Unger himself ended up publishing volume 9 in 1810 her husband having died in 1804. Back.

Translation © 2015 Doug Stott