Letter 313

• 313. Caroline to Wilhelm Schlegel in Berlin: Jena, 5 May 1801

Jena, [Tuesday] 5 May [1801]

|113| On Saturday we drove over to Weimar, though before I left I told Rose there must be letters waiting for me when I returned, and to both her and your good fortune, my dear Schlegel, she genuinely did have something from you to give me. [1]

Madam Gotter wrote that on Saturday she would be bringing Cecile and ardently implored me to meet with her; so I went, though not merely because I wanted to hear Don Juan and the bass singer Gern, though that was indeed a pleasant addition. [2] Schelling did not ride over until late, since he was tied down with his proofs, [3] and arrived just in time for the performance. [4]

I spoke |114| with the Gotters at the house of the court physician Huschke, where Cecile will be commencing her own poetic career amid rather prosaic surroundings but with such great enthusiasm and courage that I genuinely do have high hopes for her. Until something else has been arranged for her, this will probably be better than had she stayed in Gotha, nor is she contemplating spending the summer in Weimar if she can find better placement earlier.

I sent you Madam Gotter’s letter, my dear friend, [5] and even if you do not have the time just now to think about these things, surely you will be so kind as to remind yourself when you are at the Tischbeins. [6] 200 rh. is more than I thought Madam Gotter would be able to spend on it, but they are truly serious about it.

Julchen did not come along, otherwise I perhaps would have brought her back here with me. She does, however, have the prospect of coming here very soon, and I did not refrain from issuing the invitation since she would, after all, be a pleasant addition to the household for you as well. [7]

Her mother’s plans for her are rather grand to say the least. She wants to send her to stay with relatives in Lyon, where she is to be cultivated and is to perfect her French, which she already speaks very well indeed — ultimately, however, all this is headed toward the wretched governess’s pis aller, and I would very much like to see Julchen spared this if possible. [8] I could always take her in for the winter, and when you come let us discuss this further. —

Àpropos things are looking rather questionable as far as your coming is concerned. You will not betray me and end up not coming at all, will you? or perhaps not until Michaelmas? Waiting for Friedrich Tiek — is that really necessary, since Tiek will reliably be coming through Weimar and can in any event just as easily fail to show up for another 8 weeks as for another 4? [9] If you have settled things with Unger and Shakespeare — |115| you can write and translate here as well. [10] At least that is how I see it; but I must not really push you too hard in the matter — I have nothing to offer you — and who knows what may be keeping my friend there, living in the Tiergarten in such an exemplary fashion. [10a]

I intend simply to watch along as well a while longer, and otherwise tell you — that I occupied a loge with the Gotters and found the air and space a bit confining compared with our former, larger stages in Braunschweig and the newer and more elegant one in Hamburg, and the performance of the facial expressions and gestures and the ensemble in general quite lifeless compared to our Frenchmen.

I only watched a little and instead simply listened. It has been a long time since I heard voices as beautiful as those of Mademoiselle Jagemann and the bass singer, and in general such musical music. That notwithstanding, however, there was much more of the unique spirit of this play in our piece by Corneille that was once performed for us alone than could be found in this piece here. [11] Don Juan was outright bad.

And by the way, let me herewith pass along to you the deep secret that Schiller’s next play will be a Don Juan. He revealed to Schelling that he was indeed currently ready to undertake the necessary studies. [12] Behold how this man plunges into popularity like his diver into the maw of the Charybdis. [13] We will have to wait and see whether he himself will ever fetch the goblet [14] — which is where he will inevitably come to ruin, of that there can be no doubt. The excitement is too great, and the sea monsters will never leave him in peace.

Goethe had come into town that day and sought out Schelling in Schiller’s loge because he wanted to have him stay overnight with him; [15] Schelling declined because he would be returning to Jena with me, whereupon Goethe very cordially inquired about me and sent his regards. Afterward he also greeted me from the |116| parterre.

Schelling told him about the Nicolai piece, which entertained him such that he straightaway inquired further about it. We sent him the copy I had requested from Friedrich for myself this week but which, as the latter told me yesterday, is not complete; only today will he be sending me one with the 13th chapter as well. [15a]

Tomorrow Goethe will be coming here for a few days, [16] and I will give him the package with all the sprung seals; the oilcloth covering it was loose and free, and the binding cord hanging loose. Whoever packed it for you is not as adroit as I am, and now I have to apologize for it to Goethe. [17]

Let me thank you for Shakespeare, I only wish volume 8 were already there with it. [18] Unger must have quietly been keeping a considerable reserve of nonsense available that he is now making public. Were he shortly to cut loose against Friedrich, in which case the latter can do nothing, it would be despicable to use the letters in question about money matters. [18a]

Yesterday morning Friedrich came over to get a book from your room. I sent word to him to come see me afterward; so he came, and I gave him the letter and spoke with him about the other business matters. He was extremely uneasy even though no one else was here, as was the case earlier, who might possibly disturb or embarrass him. [19] Not a word about my letter, nor any attempt at rapprochement, he was only able to exchange a few faint tones with me. [20]

He saw Auguste’s portrait standing there covered by the veil, and I perceived that he sensed it — but he lifted that veil as little as he did the veil over our relationship.

Write and tell me whether he is not explaining himself to you either. You must grant that I have done everything I could, and |117| you can also believe me, my friend, I harbor no hatred, and you are very unjust ever to have spoken to me about poking fun and that sort of thing. What I hold against him I will always candidly say to you as well, despite your considerable momentary partisanship — for within you as well, my most sincere of all friends, such partisanship is temporary. I could never make do without being permitted to be candid.

After a time, you will not fail to see on which side the ignoble elements and especially the meanness and baseness are to be found; [20a] I do not accuse Friedrich on this account. I have once again treated him with enormous consideration because I am forced to deal with him concerning household items and indeed still must have things fetched daily from their apartment. He himself is indeed uncomfortable with it all, and from now on I will be leaving well enough alone.

I did not mention that there is not a single glass left in the house, that the porcelain is so diminished that I would no longer be able to serve even 2 guests over and above our normal number — I am viewing it as if you granted them use of all our things as if it were their own property. Do not let on concerning anything else now. Madam Veit is not back yet. [21]

He will probably write you himself concerning Wekhrlin, namely, that Ritter lost it. [22]

I passed along your poems to him yesterday, [23] and he may be writing to you himself to give you his opinion. I am standing absolutely firm with regard to the superfluous stanza; it must be eliminated because it would put the accent too much on the sinners, who, after all, really should be providing merely decoration. [24] Your sonnet is beautiful just as are all your sonnets, and though I probably cannot describe the subject’s position for you, I did indeed see the picture in spirit. [25]

Schelling is herewith sending you the piece by Röschlaub. [26] |118| I do think the manuscript really ought to remain something solely among friends.

By the way, Schelling has a great many manuscripts that are not even for friends. I have had time to see only a few individual pieces, but should there be something among these materials that he might be able to contribute without too much inhibition, without exposing too much of his own feelings, I will do what I can to abduct it from his obstinacy. [27] Almost all of it is in elegiac meter. [28] There are also quite a few epigrams, one of which I would like to relate to you simply for fun since Friedrich came upon the same subject, though I can no longer recall whether with the same rendering.

Aye, "Kalathiskos" you call this work? So, my dear,
The muses are to turn you down publicly as well? [29] 

He is just extremely dissatisfied with his hexameters, and when you come, he will give you no peace until you read one of Homer’s cantos with him and teach him how to do them. [30]

Today I simply cannot write well, my dear Wilhelm. I am not feeling well, and on top of that I am supposed to have tea with Madam Fromman.

Imagine, Schelling visited Hufeland this morning. For some time now, Hufeland has been infinitely cordial toward him, so much so that he remarked that he really must do something for him, and when Schelling says something like that, then Hufeland must have played fast and hard indeed with his quota of sweetness. [31]

I have not yet seen Madam Hufeland. Luise is dining over there this evening. The least I owe myself is not to take even the smallest step in that regard, and particularly since Schelling has already done something that for me was still quite unexpected at this particular time, I must be all the more restrained, otherwise there will just be some sort of stupid story. It is also quite convenient for me that she does not simply come over here quite without inhibition, since I have not yet been able to arrange any retreat for myself in the house and simply can no longer engage in forced frivolity. |119| It will happen soon enough on its own.

You for your part can go to him quite in keeping with good propriety. I hear he is quite smitten with the Ehrenpforte. Loder, by contrast, is full of reproach. I had absolutely no idea that the Loders and Hufelands spent the entire winter in an unequivocally tense relationship. Hufeland got upset about various thoughtless acts and gossip on Loder’s part, and Loder himself finally got touchy. He also forbade his wife any contact.

A few days ago, however, he suddenly went to Hufeland again. So you see, our good old Jena is a little murderers’ nest after all. You have no idea how everyone has gotten entangled in gossip about everyone else and who has been participating in it all. We have hitherto been able to keep ourselves at a considerable distance from it, and I do believe things will eventually settle down and we will enjoy a breeze of pure, cleansed air around us again.

It is very quiet here. A great many students have allegedly left school, and only few are coming. In the meantime, though, all that can change again within the year. Medical students have almost no reason to come here any longer, [32] and the duke has no intention of filling the position, especially not with a Brownian [33] — and yet he himself still carries his bottle of brandy around with him. [34]

With things this quiet, it would be all the better a place for you to do your writing, my good Wilhelm. There are, after all, such beautiful places to take walks, and the spring here is perhaps even more charming than in the Tiergarten. So charming, in fact, that it has been bitterly, bitterly painful for me, and I confess I have been sick with wistful, melancholy tears. No matter where I go, I find her traces after whom I now so helplessly weep. [34a]

Schelling is composed, but that is more a reflection of his health than of his disposition.

Do consider that your presence will often be so beneficial for me, hence do not withdraw it from me for too long. [35]

|120| I confess it bothers me that Tiek is not coming. [36] Madam Frommanm however, seems to think her husband will be bringing him along yet after all. [37]

Friedrich also related the good news about your sister to me in one of the billets he sent me. [38]

I will write to your mother and to Bamberg and in general take care of all the errands with which you charged me. [39]

Wiedemann wrote from Mainz and is quite content — no doubt also because of the opportunity to roam all about so freely. [40]

Mr. and Mad. Froriep sent me a card. [41]

I will write again on the next postal day, since I really have just done it on the fly today.

Your C.


[1] Wilhelm’s letter, if such be the reference (Caroline also goes on to mention a package) , is not extant. Back.

[2] Luise Gotter seems to have arranged otherwise unspecified art training for Cecile in Weimar; see Caroline’s letter to Luise Gotter in early 1797 (letter 177), also with note 2, though these present arrangements do not seem to involve the Weimar Academy mentioned there.

Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni (Caroline: Don Juan), which had premiered in 1787 in Prague, was performed in the Weimar theater on 2 May 1801 (Das Repertoire des Weimarischen Theaters, 39) (illustration: “Before Elvira’s house,” from act 2, from anonymous, “Mozart’s Operatic Masterpiece ‘Don Giovanni,'” The Etude [1911], December, 847):



[3] For his “Darstellung meines Systems der Philosophie,” Zeitschrift für spekulative Physik 2 (1801) no. 2, 1–127. Back.

[4] Jena is ca. 20 km east of Weimar, Gotha ca. 45 km west (Post Karte Durch ganz Deutschland, ed. J. Walch [Augsburg 1795]; Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):



Here the theater in Mannheim in 1782, similar to the Weimar theater, depicting the arrival of pedestrians and carriages for a performance (Joseph Sebastian Klauber and Johann Baptist Klauber after Johann Franz von der Schlichten, Das teutsche Komödienhaus [1782]):



[5] Presumably the letter Caroline includes in her letter to Wilhelm on 20 April 1801 (letter 310). Back.

[6] Caroline was hoping to get Cecile placed in Leipzig under the tutelage of Johann Friedrich August Tischbein, who with his family was currently living in Leipzig. Back.

[7] Julie Gotter did indeed come during the spring of 1801 to stay with Caroline in Jena and remained until March 1802. Her letters home, included in this present collection, provide a unique angle of vision on Caroline’s circumstances in Jena during that period as well as information concerning events in Jena and Weimar. Back.

[8] Pis aller, Fr., here: “last resort.”

Caroline’s concern is not unfounded; see Charlotte Brontë’s remarks in 1839 concerning her status as a governess (The Brontës Life and Letters: Being an Attempt to Present a Full and Final Record of the Lives of the Three Sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë from the Biographies of Mrs. Gaskell and Others, and from Numerous Hitherto Unpublished Manuscripts and Letters, vol. 1 [New York 1908], 159):

I see now more clearly than I have ever done before that a private governess has no existence, is not considered as a living and rational being except as connected with the wearisome duties she has to fulfill. While she is teaching the children, working for them, amusing them, it is all right. If she steals a moment for herself she is a nuisance. Back.

[9] Friedrich Tieck, whom Wilhelm and Caroline were considering engaging in work on Auguste’s memorial, was in Paris at the time; see his letter to Wilhelm on 24 April 1801 (letter 311b). Back.

[10] Concerning Wilhelm’s problems with Friedrich Unger with respect to the translation of Shakespeare, see Wilhelm’s letter to Caroline on 18 April 1801 (letter 309). Back.

[10a] Possibly or even likely an allusion to Wilhelm’s love interests in Berlin, including especially Friederike Unzelmann (anonymous, Galante Szene mit Handkuss [1776–1800]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Graph. Res. A: 179):



[11] Erich Schmidt, (1913), 2:611, suggests this statement may be slip of the pen, and that Caroline is referring instead perhaps to an earlier private recitation or reading of Molière’s Dom Juan ou le festin de pierre (1665) (frontispiece to the edition of 1741):



[12] Four years earlier, Schiller had drafted a ballad “Don Juan” and now, his interest in the motif “bride of hell” having been piqued by a description of the motif in Ludwig Tieck’s “Briefe über W. Shakspeare,” Poetisches Journal 1 (1800) no. 1, 18–80, here 59–66, had begun to compose a counterpart with operatic-like features, “Rosamund oder die Braut der Hölle” (later scholarship posits a possible different reading as “Braut in Trauer,” “bride in grief”), which did, however, according to Erich Schmidt, (1913), 2:611, get mired down in balladesque elements. In connection with this piece he doubtless reexamined the Don Juan sketch as well.

Here illustrations from a later treatment of the same thematic complex (frontispiece and concluding illustration to Ludwig Delarosa, Höllenbraut oder die gespenstigen Rächer im Riesengebirge: Historisch-romantische Sage aus den Zeiten des dreissigjährigen Krieges [Vienna, Prague 1841]):

“In this solemn hour, Gabriele, do I declare you to be the Bride of Hell!”


“You have lost me forever!”


Concerning Tieck’s description: In fictitious letters concerning Shakespeare and the theater, Tieck describes a dramatic performance of this motif in a local village in a lengthy account that is of value especially as a vehicle for Tieck’s dramaturgical reflections; for the text of these passages, see supplementary appendix 313.1. Back.

[13] See the Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, 3 vols., ed. William Smith (London 1872), 762:

Scylla and Charybdis, the names of two rocks between Italy and Sicily, and only a short distance from one another. In the midst of the one of these rocks which was nearest to Italy, there dwelt, according to Homer, Scylla, a daughter of Crataeis, a fearful monster, barking like a dog, with twelve feet, six long necks and mouths, each of which contained three rows of sharp teeth.

The opposite rock, which was much lower, contained an immense fig-tree, under which there dwelt Charybdis, who thrice every day swallowed down the waters of the sea, and thrice threw them up again; both were formidable to the ships which had to pass between them. [Anonymous engraving, Scylla on the right, the whirlpool of Charybdis on the left.]



[14] An allusion to Schiller’s ballad Der Taucher, Musen-Almanach für das Jahr 1798, ed. by Schiller (Tübingen 1798), 119–30. Caroline is referring to the page who fetches a goblet his king has cast into sea and, in a second attempt, which if successful will gain him the hand of the king’s daughter, fails, being instead swallowed up by a similar “Charybdis.” For the translation, see supplementary appendix 313.2. Back.

[15] Goethe had been spending time at his estate in Oberrossla; concerning this estate and his itinerary during this period, see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 20 April 1801 (letter 310), note 16. Goethe’s diary records that he went out to Oberrossla from Weimar on 25 March 1801. He returned to Weimar on 14 April, but then returned to Oberrossla on 22 April, returning to Weimar again on Thursday, 30 April (illustration of Goethe’s Weimar house on an early postcard: “Vor dem Goethehaus zu Weimars klassischer Zeit”):


Although his diary makes no mention of the performance of Don Juan on Saturday, 2 May 1801, he does seem to have attended a performance by an amateur theater group on Sunday evening, 3 May 1801 (Weimarer Ausgabe 3:3:10–13). Back.

[15a] Chapter 13 was in fact “yet another addendum, or: Chapter 13”: “On the final deeds, the death, and miraculous revivification of our hero.” See the table of contents for the piece in the supplementary appendix on Fichte’s satire on Friedrich Nicolai. Back.

[16] Goethe’s diary records that he went over to Jena on 5 May 1801; that is, he was coming over the same day Caroline is here writing (Weimarer Ausgabe 3:3:13) (Post Karte Durch ganz Deutschland, ed. J. Walch [Augsburg 1795]):



[17] A note in the Goethe- und Schiller-Archiv:

Please allow me to ask your pardon for the condition of this package; it came in a larger one that had completely fallen apart at the post office, also damaging the seals. Caroline Schlegel. To Herr Geheimrath von Goethe, with a package.

Concerning the “von” in Goethe’s title: on 3 June 1782, at the behest of Karl August, Goethe had received a patent of nobility from Joseph II, making it easier for him to pursue his duties in the Weimar administration. Back.

[18] Caroline has received volume 7 of the translation of Shakespeare. Concerning volumes 7 and 8, see Wilhelm’s letter to Goethe on 28 April 1801 (letter 312c), note 19. Back.

[18a] Concerning Friedrich’s financial issues with Unger, see his letter to Wilhelm on 27 April 1801 (letter 312a), note 1. Back.

[19] Schelling had been present at Caroline’s initial meeting with Friedrich after her return to Jena; see her letter to Wilhelm on 24 April 1801 (letter 311).

Friedrich similarly mentions his visit on 4 May 1801 in a letter to Wilhelm on this same day, 5 May 1801 (Walzel, 481–82; KFSA 25:271) (illustration: R. Fick, ed., Auf Deutschlands hohen Schulen: Eine illustrierte kulturgeschichtliche Darstellung deutschen Hochschul- und Studentenwesens [Berlin, Leipzig 1900], 189):


Yesterday I was in your room to fetch a book. I spoke with Karoline for a few moments on this occasion, and she gave me your poems, which along with your critiques of my own occupied me almost the entire day yesterday. So I certainly would have enough to write about today except that I am so unwell that I simply can do nothing. So it will have to wait until next time. Back.

[20] This “epistolary affair” remained a testy problem in the relationship between Caroline and Friedrich. Back.

[20a] Viz., that of Dorothea Veit . Back.

[21] From Leipzig, where Dorothea was having new teeth made. See Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 24 April 1801 (letter 311), esp. note 3 there. Friedrich would go to Leipzig himself to accompany her back to Jena, where they seem to have arrived at latest on ca. 10 May 1801. Back.

[22] Not Wilhelm Ludwig Wekhrlin, the author of the Chronologen, 12 vols. (Frankfurt, Leipzig 1779–81) and Das Graue Ungeheuer, 12 vols. ([Nürnberg] 1784–87), but the earlier Swabian lyric poet Georg Rodolph Weckherlin; see Wilhelm Schlegel from Berlin to Ludwig Tieck (not August Ferdinand Bernhardi as in Schmidt, [1913], 2:611) on 28 April 1801 (Briefe an Ludwig Tieck 3:246) in a passage responding apparently to Tieck’s queries concerning certain books:

The Bamberg hymnal is probably at Bernhardi’s. Books of yours I have include (1) Shakespeare folio, (2) Shakespeare Johnson, one volume [The plays of William Shakespeare in eight volumes, with the corrections and illustrations of various commentators; to which are added notes by Sam Johnson (London 1765)], (3) Bernhardi’s Sprachlehre [2 vols., Berlin 1801–3], which was left here by mistake, (4) [Johann Friedrich von] Meyer’s Tobias [Frankfurt 1800]. —

Your Weckherlin is still in Jena. When you return from Leipzig, get things together quickly and finish whatever you intend to contribute [to the Musen-Almanach für das Jahr 1802] so that the printing can get started. Stay well and give my regards to your dear wife. And write again soon. Back.

[23] Presumably those intended for the Musen-Almanach für das Jahr 1802. Back.

[24] The “stanza” is a rather plump bit of moralizing intended to function as the concluding stanza of Wilhelm’s “Die Warnung. Romanze”. Although it was published later in Wilhelm’s Sämmtliche Werke 1:223–28, here 228, it was not included in the Musen-Almanach für das Jahr 1802 52–59, here 59. That is, Wilhelm seems to have heeded Caroline’s advice. See the text of this stanza in the supplementary appendix to this piece. Back.

[25] Caroline is likely referring to Wilhelm’s sonnet “An Buri, über sein Bildniss der Gräfin Tolstoy, geb. Baratinsky,” Musen-Almanach für das Jahr 1802 107 (Sämmtliche Werke 1:369; the prefatory explanatory note is included only in the Sämmtliche Werke), the same reference as in Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 7–8 May 1801 (letter 314); the portrait is presumed lost:

To Buri, on his portrait of Countess Tolstoy, née Baratinsky

Note: This picture was painted against a gilt background,
and on the gilt background decorated round about with myrtle leaves
amid which gods of love sit playing.

Thus does she wrap her right hand in the head's veil,
The goddess of faithfulness and of chaste virtue;
Thus, reflective and lost in pious petition,
Stands the Vestal Virgin before the sacred fire.

And yet even she guards not the sanctuary more faithfully
Than you do follow beauty itself with silent step
Up into the sublime center of divinity,
Turning art into a celebration of pure devotion.

And yet does a charming hint of jest ease her serious air:
In golden sky and from golden leaves do you vault
For her an arbor and sweet wilderness.

Elysium brings along to the heart,
Grown round with myrtle, played round with gods of love,
The high, delicate, sacredly beautiful portrait. Back.

[26] Possibly the distichs by Röschlaub that Wilhelm later mentions in his letter to Schelling on 26 May 1801 (letter 318a); Wilhelm was hesitant to accept the pieces for the Musen-Almanach für das Jahr 1802 because the allusions, e.g., to Karl Leonhard Reinhold, would require an explanation, nor were he and Tieck keen on accepting pieces with literary allusions in any case. Back.

[27] Concerning Schelling’s distichs, which do not, however, seem to be extant, see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 15 May 1801 (letter 316).

Schelling did, however, contribute to the Musen-Almanach für das Jahr 1802 using the pseudonym Bonaventura: “Die Letzten Worte des Pfarrers zu Drottning auf Seeland” (118–28) (“The Last Words of the Pastor of Drottning”); “Thier und Pflanze” (“Animal and Plant”) (158–59); “Lied” (“Lied”) (241–43); and “Loos der Erde” (“Fate of the Earth”) (273). Back.

[28] As seen in letter 316 referenced above, the elegiac meter in this instance refers essentially to two dactylic hexameter lines in the second of which alterations occur in the third and sixth feet. Back.

[29] Sophie Mereau’s periodical Kalathiskos, vols. 1 and 2 (Berlin 1801–2), published by Heinrich Frölich, a collection of poetry and prose with contributions from Clemens Brentano and various women, e.g., Sophie Mereau’s sister Henriette Schubart (a translation of Alexander Pope’s popular poetic epistle “Eloisa to Abelard,” published originally in The Works of Mr. Alexander Pope [London 1717]).

Heinrich Karl Abraham Eichstädt explains the title (from Gk. καλαθος, καλαθισκος) in introductory distichs accompanied by footnotes. Such baskets, sometimes viewed as luxury items of the wealthier classes, were generally made of osiers or reeds, though earlier also of more valuable materials, and were used to hold weaving and work utensils as the symbol of a lady’s apartment. They could also refer to a dance or wine holder.

Here a slave presents her mistress with the calathus (Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities ed. William Smith, 2nd ed. [Boston 1870], 220 s.v. calathus, dim. calathiscus):


Friedrich had already sent his own (according to Schmidt, [1913], 2:612) feeble epigram to Wilhelm in February 1801, in which he plays homonymically on the periodical’s Greek title, Kalathiskos, the diminutive form of the Greek word for basket, i.e., “little basket.”

Friedrich simply writes out the German homonyms kahl (“bare, bald, barren”) and Tischchen (“little table”), deriving thus the word for “bare little table,” and then similarly the (approximate) German homonyms Qual (“torment”) and Fischchen (“little fish”) in deriving “little fishes in torment” (Walzel, 460; KFSA 25:232):

Accept this amiable book, so quietly published by Frölich,
Called a "Bare Little Table," or: the "Little Fishes in Torment."

And yet it was precisely Friedrich who lecherously pursued Sophie Mereau in Jena during the summer and autumn of 1801 (Goettinger Taschen Calendar vom Jahr 1790; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung);


See Ernst Behler, Friedrich Schlegel in Selbstzeugnissen und Bilddokumenten, Rowohlt Monographie 123 (Reinbeck 1966), 83–84; also the pertinent correspondence in KFSA 25). Back.

[30] I.e., Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, both of which are written in the poetic meter known as “heroic hexameter.” Back.

[31] Bergisches Taschenbuch für 1798 zur Belehrung und Unterhaltung 1798; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung:


Despite Schelling’s and Wilhelm’s break with the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung in the autumn of 1799 (see their declarations on 2 November 1799 and 13 November 1799 [letters/documents 252d and 255a), Schelling apparently tried to reestablish cordial relations with Gottlieb Hufeland, writing him during the summer of 1801 (or possibly May; text in Fuhrmans 1:248) offering to review Fichte’s most recent publication, presumably either Friedrich Nicolai’s Leben und sonderbare Meinungen or J. G. Fichtes Antwortschreiben an Herrn Professor Reinhold aus dessen im ersten Heft der Beiträgte leichteren Übersicht des Zustandes der Philosophie befindliches Schreiben an den ersten (Tübingen 1801).

The review in any case never materialized, possibly because Hufeland himself declined Schelling’s offer or because Schelling’s relationship with Fichte had itself just entered a crucial period.

In her next sentence, Caroline alludes to her still strained relationship with the Hufelands, in this case specifically with Madam Hufeland, who was, moreover, Luise Wiedemann’s sister-in-law. Back.

[32] Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland had left Jena for Berlin, and his position had not yet been filled. Karl Gustav Himly would eventually be appointed. Back.

[33] Hufeland had eventually become a resolute anti-Brunonian (Brownian), even publishing a book on his reservations; see Wilhelm’s letter to Johann Diederich Gries on 16 March 1800 (letter 258r), note 5. Back.

[34] In the Brunonian system, brandy and similar “volatile stimulants” were considered “fortifiers.” See the supplementary appendix “Of the Brunonian Doctrine.” Caroline herself had been given Hungarian wine during her bout with nervous fever in the spring of 1800. In fact, Goethe had been one of the sources for such wine. See Wilhelm’s letters to Goethe on 23 March 1800 (letter 258v), on 1 April 1800 (letter 259a), and on 4 May 1800 (letter 259p). Back.

[34a] Frauenzimmer Almanach zum Nutzen und Vergnügen für das Jahr 1812; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):



[35] Wilhelm did not return to Jena until 11 August 1801. Back.

[36] Concerning Tieck’s canceled journey to Jena, see Wilhelm’s letter to him on 28 April 1801 (letter 312d), note 2. Back.

[37] From the Leipzig book fair. Back.

[38] Concerning Charlotte Ernst’s serious bout with nervous fever in Dresden, see Ludwig Tieck’s letters to Wilhelm on ca. 21 April 1801 (letter 310a) and to Friedrich on 23 April 1801 (letter 310b), also Friedrich’s letter to Wilhelm on 27 April 1801 (letter 312a).

Caroline had first mentioned the illness in her letter to Wilhelm back on 14 April 1801 (letter 307), and even as late as 24 April 1801 (to Wilhelm, letter 311) was not convinced the danger had passed. Back.

[39] The allusion to Bamberg is uncertain. Back.

[40] Concerning Luise’s husband’s journey to southern France, see the cross references in Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 1–2 March 1801 (letter 293), note 12. Back.

[41] Friedrich Froriep and Charlotte Bertuch had just married on 29 April 1801. The abbreviations for Monsieur and Madame were likely used on their new calling cards (Es lebe unser Graff und unsre Gräfinn [1786], Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum; Museums./Signatur DChodowiecki AB 3.710):



Translation © 2015 Doug Stott