Letter 319c

319c. Julie Gotter to Cäcilie Gotter in Weimar: Jena, 9 June 1801 [*]

Jena, 9 June 1801

Because your own generosity has quite shamed me, my dear sister, I am sitting down now to write you a long and proper letter. And yet because I now also have the prospect of seeing you again soon, I have a great deal to say to you that I would rather not commit to writing. [1]

Frau Wiedemann’s arrival doubtless gave you considerable pleasure. [2] I wanted to give her a letter to take along for you, which kept me from writing the day before, but then that morning I had so much to do — my luggage arrived — that I was unable to get to it. [3]

So your letter, as pleasant as it indeed was, was like a burden on my heart because it reminded me of my laziness. I am so sorry that your stay here had such ill consequences. [4] I do believe, however, that our visit will restore you completely.

Karoline told me yesterday that we ought to write you a proper comforting letter; but she is not even able to write a letter to her husband, and so you must probably wait in line behind him. She wants me to tell you that you should write to her more about the paper in which you customarily wrapped the bitter oranges. You are very crafty, Cecile. [5] — — —

Schelling comes by daily, though not always at midday, since he is now lecturing. When when he is here, however, it is always quite entertaining, though not always, for often the conversations are so philoso. . . . that they simply go over my head. [6]

Recently one evening, the discussion came around to Artist Meyer. Schelling said that he was an excellent connoisseur and judge + [in margin: + but not such a good artist himself] in whom Goethe puts great trust. There was much discussion about him, and then I related what he had said about you. Karoline intends to speak with him about it herself if possible when she comes to Weimar. She remarked that nothing specific had been done yet with regards to Tischbein, and one ought hear what Meyer has to say, and that one can reliably follow him because his advice would doubtless be sound. [7]

I relate that to you just as a bit of news for now. If perhaps you are able to speak with him before we come, please do so, for who knows whether something may come of it? At the very least, it will not put you in an awkward position like that which Herr Huschke told you about him. [8] And even if it is not entirely in accordance with your wishes, it is, after all, better than were you to become a dilettante. [9] Schelling thinks a great deal of Meyer.

The absence of Madam Wiedemann has made the house very quiet indeed. I am usually tête-à-tête with Madam Schlegel except when Schelling occasionally disturbs us. When the weather is good, we go to his garden in the afternoon, where Madam Schlegel usually spends a bit of time studying philosophy with him.

In the meantime, I for my part spend the time reading, including Schlegel’s poems and other poetic things. [10] When I am in the house, I read Don Quixote, and if I finish it before we depart, I intend to bring it over for you.

From the garden, we then go for a walk. Ah, Cecile, how sorry I am for you that you were here during the winter rather than the summer, for what a magnificent area! If ever you are able to come over here for a couple of days, we will wander about everywhere. [11] We would have plenty of time in the morning without you having to miss Madam Schlegel’s company, since everyone here sleeps in until 8:00.

Several letters arrived yesterday from Herr Schlegel. He is doing well but will probably not return before the end of the summer. [12] I have not seen Friedrich and his —, [13] and will in all likelihood not see them in any case, so you must make do with that much information until I see you. If you want to know anything in that regard, write [. . .]

[End of sheet.]


[*] Source: Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften; Nachlass F. W. J. v. Schelling, no. 931.

Concerning the background to Julie Gotter’s stay in Jena, see the editorial note to her letter to Cäcile Gotter on 8 June 1801 (letter 319b); there also an explanation of Cecile Gotter’s presence in Weimar for artistic training (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):



[1] Presumably about the relationship between Caroline and Schelling, though also (see below) concerning Friedrich Schlegel and Dorothea Veit. — Julie and Caroline were planning to travel over to Weimar to pick up Luise Wiedemann and her daughter, Emma. Back.

[2] Luise Wiedemann and her daughter, Emma, who was not quite three years old, had been in Weimar since 6 June 1801, as Julie relates to her mother, Luise Gotter, in her letter of 8 June 1801 (letter 319b) (Göttingischer Taschen-Calender für das Jahr 1801; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):



[3] Julie had arrived in Jena on 31 May 1801. Her luggage arrived from Gotha on 6 June 1801, the day of Luise Wiedemann’s departure for Weimar. Back.

[4] Uncertain allusion, possibly disagreements between Caroline and Cecile, about whom Caroline remarks in her letter to Wilhelm Schlegel on 31 May 1801 (letter 319): “I would not, I confess, be able to stand having Cécile’s sickly nature around me all the time.” Back.

[5] Possibly in connection with the hot drink “Bishop”; see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm Schlegel on 7–12 June 1801 (letter 320), note 9. Back.

[6] Göttinger Taschen Calender Für das Iahr 1799; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung:


Julie, touchingly, is uncertain about the orthography of philosophisch (“sind die Gespräche so philoso…”):


Schelling had been going over his “Darstellung meines Systems der Philosophie,” Zeitschrift für spekulative Physik 2 (1801) 2, with Caroline “line by line”; see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 18 May 1801 (letter 317), also with note 37. See also below. Back.

[7] This conversation prompted Caroline to solicit Wilhelm’s engagement in the matter. Concerning Heinrich Meyer’s remarks about Cecile and the possibility of Cecile studying under Johann Friedrich August Tischbein in Leipzig, see Caroline’s remarks to Wilhelm Schlegel on 11 June 1801 (letter 320). Back.

[8] Uncertain allusion. Back.

[9] The reference may be to Cecile learning copper engraving as mentioned in Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 11 June 1801 (letter 320). Back.

[10] Wilhelm Schlegel’s Gedichte (Tübingen 1800). Back.

[11] Illustrations: (1) Leipziger Taschenbuch für Frauenzimmer zum Nutzen und Vergnügen auf das Jahr 1800; (2) Berlinischer Damen-Kalender auf das Schalt-Jahr 1804; both: Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung:


[12] Wilhelm arrived back in Jena on 11 August 1801 but then returned to Berlin on 3 November 1801. Back.

[13] Doubtless an intentional omission of Dorothea Veit’s status; Julie realizes that she and Friedrich were living together but not married. Julie does in any case eventually make their acquaintance. Back.

Translation © 2021 Doug Stott