Letter 322

• 322. Caroline to Wilhelm Schlegel in Berlin: Jena, 22 June 1801

Jena, 22 June [18]01

|173| Your letter did indeed take its time getting here, and I almost feared the cold weather had made you sick as well, just as I myself still cannot quite recover and even today will not be able to write a thorough response because of a headache. I have not been out of the house since my last letter. [1] Thank God the sun has just shown itself again. —

I am glad to hear you are in the Bernhardis’ house and |174| are more comfortable. [2] Is Tiek also not writing them? As far as I am concerned, it would certainly be reasonable and justified to scold him soundly; [3] he allegedly really is doing quite well indeed. [4]

The Loders visited them, and Madam Loder told me about the visit, relating how funny it looked when the four sisters, tall as men, marched up to the gallery together. [5] He, however, is also beside himself over it and, to dispel his ennui, cursed and railed against Steffens, with whom he was or still is in Tharand. [6]

Still no word yet from Friedrich Tiek, nor has Wiedemann mentioned him since. [7]

Goethe stayed in Göttingen for a week; how on earth did he arrange that? Madam Loder did not know any details of his stay, since her parents are not there. [8] She was herself quite curious and practically begged me to write to Fiorillo about it to learn more. The students brought him a musical greeting, no doubt at Winkelmann’s initiative, whereupon he sent Herr Geist downstairs to deliver his complimentary regards, since he himself had already gotten undressed. They had admittedly counted on hearing him speak, even if in a nightcap and sans culottes. [9]

He also visited the general Clubb, where the entire company gave him a rousing vivat! [10] Otherwise there was doubtless much for him to see, and Madam Loder thought he probably spent a great deal of time in the library, something I can well believe, since he has for some time now been extremely occupied with the concrete sciences. [11]

I myself am tempted to write Fiorillo and help admonish him on account of the Numancia. [12] Fiorillo surely saw him, and I suspect he arranged something with him with regard to Soeder. [13] Meyer told Luise he was planning on going there. [14]

The Loders did not see your sister; they were in Pillnitz for only |175| a single afternoon and heard she was still sick. [15] Do you know anything about her? I also wrote your mother, as well as all the other suggested letters, but still no answer from Franconia. [16]

There were several young people here who had followed Steffens from Bamberg to have him lecture to them in Freyberg; they previously studied here. [17] He will soon be coming here. [18] The review of Schelling is from his hand, something we in part guessed and in part could not believe given all the Greek citations. [19] But the young people report that he has been studying Greek quite diligently. That is quite upright of him. Now if he could just acquire a bit more understanding; he certainly has no lack of intellect or reason. [20]

Did you see the absolutely stupid review of your poems in that newspaper? Whenever people want to provide a demonstration of impartiality, it is quite as if they cannot but choose you as a tool. [21] I confess I was terribly annoyed, perhaps foolishly so, and Schelling at least just laughed at me. Let us hope that here in the temporal world God will judge more fairly than do such people, perhaps also better than the Berlin legal system.

I am gathering my composure to hear that you lost the lawsuit, so worry not about that. [22] I have conceived a silly scene in which you two come together to burn that printing, [23] and just as the child was to be cast into the flames, you both reach out for it, you out of affection for the poet, and Unger out of tendresse for the typeface and beautiful paper, — and then you reconcile just like a married couple à la Kotzebue. [24]

Apropos, the latter is expected to arrive for his mother’s birthday, and a hotel has already been rented in Weimar. [25] Were Iffland to be in Berlin when he comes through en route, he would be in a position to arrange a triumphant scene in the theater for Kotzebue. [26]

People in Weimar still believe |176| that Iffland will be coming there in the fall and that the actors will then be recalled earlier. [27] Although I intend to make further inquiries, I rather doubt the story. They made grandiose plans, Terence’s Die Brüder was to be given in masks, then Nathan etc. [28] The actors’ good-for-nothing behavior has frustrated it all and also greatly irked Goethe.

Can you believe that Schiller recently had Maria Stuart performed on such an inconvenient day because he did not want Mademoiselle Jagemann to play the Little Sailor on the performance day preceding that of Queen Elizabeth? [29] He is that anxious about the illusion and really does consider the public to be that dumb. It was, by the way, sooner to be feared that The Little Sailor would recall Elizabeth than vice versa. [30] Luise says that the gap between Serigny and Jagemann was considerable. [31] — Your Macbeth motto is good and is quite worthy of our own! [32]

There are a great many things you have promised to tell me in person, so you have much to do to keep your word, my dear Schlegel. I am most looking forward to your work, and cannot guess what it is beforehand. I am also looking forward to the report of the philosophical conversations with Fichte and in general to hearing his views.

What I wrote you about what Philipp said was only his provisional statement; you should have adhered to the date of the assignation he sent. He has probably already answered you again and told you that you can present it for yourself. Even without it, you are surely permitted do so on my authority. [33]

I still have received no answer from Madam Vieweg. [34]

If it pleases you, then a few words to Madam de Nuys will not bother me. But you are commending her to me |177| quite ill by commending her precisely to my courteousness and propriety. It is merely that I cannot stand such incompleteness, and I would honestly not be angry toward her were things such that you would be boasting of her even better. [35]

Ah, but I really must relate to you what Ludekus heard in the Roman Kaiser in Erfurt and then told Luise. [36] You allegedly were getting on so well with Unzeline that you wanted to marry her; she was intending to get a divorce from Unzelmann and you from me. But Woltmann was so jealous he was intending to write me an anonymous letter to alert me to the plan “in good time.” —

Could one make up anything crazier? Ludekus did not know who the people were, but it no doubt comes from Bothe, who is Sub-Proconrektor in Erfurt. It is a genuine relief to me that Bernhardi is only a Subrektor — I am always almost ashamed when I use this address, just as I used to be when writing Friedrich in care of the Charité. [37] The Jungfernbrücke is indeed a bit droll. [38]

Has Friedrich not told you anything at all about his disputation? [39] They engaged in considerable chicanery with him, forcing opponents on him — something unprecedented but not contrary to any statutes — one of whom was the dimwit Augusti, who behaved with utter impertinence, trying to treat Friedrich in a comical way and ultimately even saying “in your tractatum eroticum Lucinda you maintain this and this and etc.,” to which Friedrich dryly responded by calling him a fool.

That, of course, created a ruckus. Winkelmann and his party gathered for Friedrich, the student townies for Augusti. [40] Ulrich shouted: “It has been 30 years since such a scandalum has desecrated this philosophical stage,” to which Friedrich responded that it had also been 30 years since anyone had been so unjustly treated.

Afterward the faculty lodged a formal complaint against his utterances, |178| but I honestly do not know whether the matter is still being adjudicated. It is in any case of utterly no importance, and it is far worse that Gabler now genuinely has filed a formal lawsuit against Friedrich. Schelling has in the meantime paid it off. [41]

Yes, I, too, would not mind at all if Friedrich were not chained to Madam Veit. [42] Nothing would have turned out the way it has. But how is he to get rid of her? He is financially under her control. And Friedrich threw himself into it all such that he is now quite beyond rescue. In her rage to keep up certain social circumstances, she has entangled him — and herself as well — in severe dépenses. [43] Lichtenstein from Braunschweig, whom you probably remember from his attendance at our small balls, recently remarked on the subject of the piano that they had had concerts with Madam Veit. [44]

Julchen has been extremely helpful to me, and I think her mother is willing to let her stay here at least for the time being. [45] Luise is no help to me at all, quite the contrary, Asmodeus has gotten hold of her a bit, and she is just annoying me, especially since she returned from Weimar. [46] Things went very well the first 6 weeks. But she is bent on being choleric. [47] It will be very nice indeed when you come and can impose a bit of discipline on her. [48] She just continually persecutes my two innocent Roses with a veritable rage. [49]

It is good that her ire has not fallen on Schelling, who gets along quite nicely with her and is constantly mindful not to offer any occasion for strife. She really is just too odd. We rarely read things aloud now, since Schelling can basically endure neither to hear someone else do it nor to do it at length himself; if ever we happen to be doing it, as we did yesterday, for example, with several songs from Homer, and then would like to send her child downstairs, she herself flies into a rage and leaves in a huff as well, telling us that the child is just always such a “burden” on me etc. [50] I am hoping your presence will have a beneficial effect on her. For now she depreciates your kisses, whereas Julchen |179| blushes. [51] And please do bring a little something along for Julchen as well.

Wallenstein’s Camp was performed in Weimar. [52] Jean Paul was there with his Jeanette Pauline, and halfway through the play ran out of his loge shouting, “Ach, what barbaric stuff!” She followed him. [53]

As usual, Voss is not coming after all, though I have forgotten the reason. [54] Schelling would have visited him even in the house of his worst enemy, namely, Schütz. [55] He will be writing you today. [56]

Did you ever ask for the letter from Friedrich — and what was his reply? [57] Stay well, my good friend. I might well have had more to write you about except that a dull headache has made me rather dull-witted, and as such I remain


You probably do not know that Friedrich is learning Arabic and has been going to the riding arena. I maintain that he is doing the former because the Arabs had such a good understanding of horse husbandry and that he considers the latter a moyen for learning Arabic itself all the better. [58]

Schelling did not finish his letter — so not until the next postal day.


[1] Caroline’s last extant letter to Wilhelm was on 19 June 1801 (letter 321). Back.

[2] See the supplementary appendix on Wilhelm’s residences in Berlin. Caroline’s remark here is the first attestation that Wilhelm was actually living with the Berhardis rather than (perhaps) merely having his mail sent there. Back.

[3] Wilhelm had been having his problems with Ludwig Tieck; see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 31 May–1 June 1801 (letter 319), note 26. Back.

[4] The Tiecks were currently residing in Dresden. Back.

[5] Presumably sisters or sisters-in-law of Tieck’s wife, Amalie Tieck, i.e., daughter of Julius Gustav Alberti?

Since a “sister” could also refer to a sister-in-law, the reference is thus perhaps to Amalie Tieck, Maria Agatha Alberti, their niece Johanna Alberti (later Steffens’s wife), and perhaps Louise Waagen, née Alberti (1765–1807), the latter of whom had married the artist Friedrich Ludwig Heinrich Waagen in 1793. Or perhaps Luise Reichardt, Johann Friedrich Reichardt’s daughter and the unfortunate betrothed of both Friedrich August Eschen and Johann Franz Gareis?

See in any case esp. Julie Gotter’s letter to Cecile Gotter on 14 December 1801 (letter 335d.1), in which, speaking about the extended Tieck clan in Dresden, she mentions

this horde of sisters, which was a singular spectacle just by itself, watching these half-dozen female figures like a bunch of livestock wandering around the streets and walking paths of Dresden, hanging tightly together like a bunch of prickly burrs, and always a tenaciously unified group. Back.

[6] Concerning Steffens’s itinerary during this period, see Caroline’s letter to Schelling on 6 March 1801 (letter 297), note 6. While in Tharandt during the summer of 1801, Steffens journeyed to Dresden almost daily to visit with the family of Ludwig Tieck, though he nowhere mentions that Tieck in his own turn visited him in Tharandt during this period (Was ich erlebte 4:380–81). Back.

[7] Concerning the attempt to engage Friedrich Tieck in work on Auguste’s memorial and the problems with his itinerary in coming to Weimar, see Tieck’s letter to Wilhelm from Paris on 24 April 1801 (letter 311b) and the cross references there; Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 11 May 1802 (letter 315), note 16; and, concerning Christian Rudolf Wilhelm Wiedemann’s involvement, Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 31 May 1801 (letter 319), also with note 4. Back.

[8] Goethe had traveled to Pyrmont with a stopover in Göttingen; see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 31 May 1801 (letter 319) (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):


Charlotte Louise Loder’s father, August Gottlieb Richter, was apparently not in Göttingen at the time, though he was still on the medical faculty there. Back.

[9] Briefwechsel der Familie des Kinderfreundes 9 (Reutlingen 1791), illustration following p. 158:


A serenade by a student choir for celebrities or chosen locals was also called a Kurrende; here on a later postcard in front of the Frommann house along with a photograph of the house in 1970 (reproduced by permission: Stadtmuseum Jena):



Sans culottes, Fr., lit. “without breeches,” though during the revolution an ultra-violent republican.

During his trip to Pyrmont to recover from his illness during the earlier part of 1801, after departing Weimar on 5 June 1801 Goethe made a stop in Göttingen. After Goethe’s arrival there on 6 June 1801, it was not Stefan Winkelmann, but Achim von Arnim (so Erich Schmidt, [1913], 2:620) who led a threefold Vivat! despite the prohibition against such demonstrations (Weimarer Ausgabe 35:95):

After getting settled in the Hotel Krone in Göttingen, I noticed some movement in the street just as dusk was falling. Students were coming and going, turning into side streets and then reappearing in animated groups. Finally, all of a sudden, a merry Vivat! resounded, but then everyone just as quickly disappeared.

I later learned that such demonstrations and cheers were frowned on, which is why I was all the more pleased that the students had dared to greet me thus simply on a whim, spontaneously. Shortly thereafter I received a billet signed by a certain Schuhmacher from Holstein, who in a quite politely confidential manner related the desire he and a group of young friends had to visit me at Michaelmas in Weimar, a wish they now were hoping might be satisfied here and now. I spoke with them with both interest and pleasure.

Such a cordial reception would have been beneficial enough for someone in good health; it was doubly so for one recovering from an illness. Back.

[10] Goethe visited the Göttingen university “Clubb” on Thursday evening, 11 June 1801 (Weimarer Ausgabe 3:3:20). The more general club had existed since 1795 and included professors, students, and non-students; it met every two weeks on Tuesday at 8:00 p.m., during the winter in the Krone itself where Goethe was staying, and in the summer at an outdoor locale.

The other club — the Civilclub — excluded students. Although Goethe mentions the meeting on Thursday, the protocol of such clubs in Göttingen was fluid, and one might reasonably assume this meeting was perhaps in his hotel rather than outside (he was recovering from an illness) and included students, whence perhaps also the Vivat! (Heinrich Saalfeld, Geschichte der Universität Göttingen … von 1788 bis 1820 [Hannover 1820], 613–14). Back.

[11] Concerning Goethe’s itinerary in Göttingen, see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 7–12 June 1801 (letter 320), note 12. Back.

[12] Cervantes, El cerco de Numancia (1582), a tragedy set at the siege of Numantia.

Wilhelm was interested in securing a copy for his work on the Spanish theater, the results of which he published as Spanisches Theater, 2 vols. (Berlin 1803; 1809). He published a translation of an extract of this piece, however, not in these volumes, but in Friedrich Schlegel’s periodical Europa 1 (1803) no. 2, 72–87, then also, reworked, in his Vorlesungen über schöne Literatur und Kunst 33:338ff. (lecture 14), i.e., in the lectures he was preparing to begin in Berlin itself at the time.

Here the frontispiece to the edition Cervantes, La Numancia: Tragedia (1784):



[13] Goethe mentions a pleasant outing with Fiorillo during his stay in Göttingen on his return from Pyrmont (Weimarer Ausgabe 35:106–7) but makes no mention of Söder Chateau; see below. Back.

[14] Goethe did not visit Söder Chateau; see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 31 May–1 June 1801 (letter 319), note 3. Back.

[15] Charlotte Ernst had been seriously ill with nervous fever; see Ludwig Tieck’s letter to Wilhelm on ca. 21 April 1801 (letter 310a) and the cross references there. Caroline had mentioned the Loders’ plans to visit the Ernst family in Pillnitz in her letter to Wilhelm on 25 May 1801 (letter 318). Back.

[16] Presumably from Adalbert Friedrich Marcus, who had been asked to secure a book for Wilhelm. Concerning the book, see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 7–12 June 1801 (letter 320), also with note 38 there for illustrations. Back.

[17] Concerning Henrik Steffens’s cordial reception in Bamberg during the spring of 1801, see supplementary appendix 319.1. In his memoirs (Was ich erlebte 4:362–68), Steffens mentions that he

left Bamberg accompanied by two young physicians who wished to have me give them a kind of privatissimum [private lecture] on the philosophy of nature during the journey.

One was a short, quite animated young Bohemian, Stransky von Stranka und Greifenfels, the second a Westfalian, von Arensberg, quiet and gentle, quite tall, almost gigantic, so much so that both his stature and his behavior constituted an extremely peculiar contrast to his companion. We were accompanied by an elderly Franconian farmer, who, a Catholic, listened to my lectures and our conversations with a kind of wonderment and astonishment.

I tried to explain the geognostic disposition of the areas through which we traveled, and my lectures thereby also acquired a point of connection that concurred with the peculiar course of my own development. The journey itself, our youthful curiosity, which we never sought to restrict, admittedly did not really allow for any methodical exposition; and yet a certain nexus and correlation did indeed inhere in my entire intellectual development that held sway even in the most involuntary conversations.

The young men seemed to attach themselves to me with increasingly animated interest. . . .

I guided my enthusiastic pupils to Bayreuth, Hof, Plauen, Zwickau, Chemnitz, and Freiberg all the way to Dresden [see map below] . . . [where] I now met up with [Ludwig] Tieck and his family, who had settled there, and also Friedrich Schlegel, who was staying with his sister, who was married to a royal Saxon administrator.

That Steffens could use the journey as the setting for his “‘geognostic” discussions derives not least from the geographical setting through which these gentlemen traveled, namely, through the outliers and foothills of the Erzgebirge, or Ore Mountains, in Saxony and Bohemia along what is today the border between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Czech Republic, as trenchantly demonstrated by the following map (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):


Here an illustration remarkably similar to the description above of Steffens himself and his two companions. It depicts what is still known as the Prinzenhöhle, or “prince’s cave,” an 18-meter long narrow cleft straight through the rock incline and located essentially on their route just to the southeast of Zwickau; it can still be visited today (engraving 1839 by Friedrich Sprinck):


Friedrich Schlegel was also in Dresden from late January 1802 till mid- to late-May 1802. Back.

[18] Steffens did not return to Jena until April 1802 on his way back to Denmark (Was ich erlebte 4:436). Back.

[19] Citaten in the original. — Steffens was a natural scientist rather than a trained philologist. Back.

[20] Although Erich Schmidt, (1913), 2:620, maintains that this review of Schelling’s System des transcendentalen Idealismus (Tübingen 1800), published in the Erlanger Litteratur-Zeitung (1801) 82, 83 (28, 29 April 1801), was by Henrik Steffens, it likely was not (see below).

After the harsh initial assertion that the development of Fichte’s Wissenschaftslehre, the greatest scientific event of the age, had uncovered the profound degeneration within the scholarly world, the reviewer provides a lengthy analysis with references to the “incomprehensible lack of understanding” in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung before dispensing superlative praise issuing in the extravagant conclusion that

the loftiest goal of all science is thus to elevate physics to the level of poesy. . . . A Leibniz of our own age will take up a position between reflective and perceptive philosophy, between physics and poesy, and his philosophy will quietly provide the first theme for the songs of an odyssey of the spirit [System of transcendental Idealism (1800), trans. Peter Lauchlan Heath (Charlottesville 1978), 232]. This reviewer suspects that such a person is present in the person of Schelling.

An earlier review had appeared in the Erlanger Litteratur-Zeitung (1801) 67 (7 April 1801) of Schelling’s Einleitung zu seinem Entwurf eines System der Naturphilosophie oder: Ueber den Begriff der speculativen Physik und die innere Organisation eines Systems dieser Wissenschaft (Jena, Leipzig 1799) and Erster Entwurf eines Systems der Naturphilosophie Zum Behuf seiner Vorlesungen (Jena, Leipzig 1799).

There is reason to believe the two reviews were by the same author, but probably not Steffens. Although there is praise enough for Schelling, the review of his philosophy of nature was not without criticism, which is why Schelling was inclined to attribute it to Carl Eschenmayer, as suggested by his letter to Eschenmayer on 8 May 1801 (Plitt 1:330; Fuhrmans 2:316), where he writes:

In the recent review of my Entwurf in the Erlanger Litteratur-Zeitung, for which I would like to express my most sincere and ardent thanks, you also still presuppose that I concede idealism in the sense in which you take it, and it is thus quite natural when you repeatedly send me back to this system. The presentation of my system in the most recent issue [Zeitschrift für spekulative Physik (1801) 2, no. 2] will show you that the ground resides even further back, and that we will have to return to examinations of the first principles of philosophy in general in order each to persuade the other.

Although Schelling was likely correct in his assumption that Eschenmayer had done this review, he was likely incorrect in his assumption about Steffens; the author of the review of his System des transcendentalen Idealismus was possibly the Fichte follower Johann Baptist Schad. See Schelling’s letter to Wilhelm on 3 July 1801 (letter 323a), where Schelling instinctively senses that Fichte would likely be pleased with the slightly critical review of his philosophy of nature (by Eschenmayer, though Fichte and, later, Fichte’s son, thought it was by Schad). Back.

[21] Concerning a recent review of Wilhelm’s Gedichte (Tübingen 1801), see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm in mid-June 1801 (letter 320b). Back.

[22] Wilhelm did indeed lose his lawsuit against Johann Friedrich Unger; see supplementary appendix 309.1. Back.

[23] I.e., the disputed additional printing of the first volume edition of Shakespeare. Back.

[24] A common concluding device in Kotzebue’s plays. For a locus classicus of this device, see the concluding dialogue sequence and illustrations to his play Menschenhass und Reue. Schauspiel in fünf Aufzügen (Berlin 1790), here discussed in the review and synopsis of Sophie Bernhardi’sJulie Saint Albain: Zwei Theile,” in the Neue allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek 71 (1802) 80–84 (supplementary appendix 244a.1). Back.

[25] August von Kotzebue’s mother’s birthday was on 8 July. Back.

[26] I.e., when Kotzebue was en route from Russia to Weimar. Caroline is playing on the title of Wilhelm’s satire Ehrenpforte und Triumphbogen für den Theater-Präsidenten von Kotzebue, with its references to a “triumphal arch.” Back.

[27] Iffland did not visit Weimar that year. When Friederike Unzelmann was in Weimar for performances in September 1801, however, he seems to have tried to recall her to Berlin, prompting a letter from Schiller requesting that she be allowed to remain (letter to Iffland on 23 September 1801).

Concerning the actors’ performance schedule outside Weimar, see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 11 May 1801 (letter 315), note 2. The 1801 summer season in Lauchstädt lasted from 21 June to 12 August 1801, and the 1801 late-summer season in Rudolstadt from 17 August to 15 September 1801, when the company then returned to Weimar. Back.

[28] Friedrich Hildebrand von Einsiedel’s adaptation of the play Adelphi (160 BCE) by Terence, Die Brüder. Ein Lustspiel nach Terenz in fünf Akten (Leipzig 1802), was indeed performed on 24 and 26 October 1801, then again on 21 December 1801 (Das Repertoire des Weimarischen Theaters, 41–42; see also Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 20–21 December 1801 [letter 336]).

It may be recalled that Einsiedel had earlier published a treatise on the theater arts, Grundlinien zu einer Theorie der Schauspielkunst, nebst der Analyse einer komischen und tragischen Rolle, Falstaf und Hamlet von Shakespeare (Leipzig 1797), which Caroline greatly admired (see her letter to Luise Gotter on 15 October 1797 [letter 188]) and which Wilhelm had reviewed in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (1798) 46 (Friday, 9 February 1798) 361–67.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, a section “Masken” (masks) precedes the text of the play in that 1802 edition and provides color illustrations — a rarity at the time for such an edition — of the characters in costume; note the mask-cutouts for the roles of Syrus and Sannio:




The other reference is to Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Nathan der Weise: Ein dramatisches Gedicht in fünf Aufzügen (n. p. 1779). Back.

[29] Schiller’s play Maria Stuart. Ein Trauerspiel (Tübingen 1801) was performed on Wednesday, 10 June 1801, in Weimar, Der kleine Matrose with music by Gaveaux (see below) on Saturday, 13 June 1801 (Das Repertoire des Weimarischen Theaters, 39). Here the character of Elisabeth in a nineteenth-century illustration (Schiller’s Works, ed. J. G. Fischer, vol. 2 [Philadelphia 1883], plate following p. 308):



[30] Der kleine Matrose, a piece that had been performed in Berlin since 20 May 1797 and incidentally one of Friederike Unzelmann’s most brilliant roles (in the role of Leopold), from Le petit matelot, ou, Le mariage impromptu comédie en un acte et en prose, mêlée de chant (Paris 1796), singspiel by Charles-Antoine-Guillaume de l’Epinoy (Pignault-Lebrun) with music by Pierre Gaveaux (1760–1825), German translation Der kleine Matrose. Ein Singspiel in einem Aufzuge, trans. Karl (Carl) Alexander Herklots (Hannover 1799; Grätz 1800).

Later in Stuttgart, Friederike Unzelmann gives Schelling a gift of the same kind of hat used in her sailor’s costume (see Caroline’s letter to Luise Wiedemann on 19 June 1803 [letter 380]).

One of the enduringly popular songs from this singspiel was the aria “Ueber die Beschwerden dieses Lebens klaget heut zu Tag so mancher arme Wicht,” “Sailor’s Lament,” which the character of Leopold sings in scene 5 (here from Musikalischer Hausschatz der Deutschen: Eine Sammlung von über 1100 Liedern und Gesängen mit Singweisen und Klavierbegleitung, ed. G. W. Fink, new ed. ed. Wilhelm Tschirch [Leipzig 1901], 29).

A letter to the journal Brennus. Eine Zeitschrift für das nördlich Deutschland 1 (1802), 573, asks rhetorically: “Who could possibly be so lacking in taste as not to attend this dainty operetta as often as possible, and to delight in the inimitable performance of Madam Eunicke as Leopold?”



[31] Luise Wiedemann and Caroline had seen Marianne Serigny perform in Braunschweig earlier in 1801 during Caroline’s stay there. Back.

[32] Caroline is referring to Wilhelm’s parody of Schiller’s play in lines from Hamlet (Sämmtliche Werke 2:213); Wilhelm’s title here repeats the title of Schiller’s adaptation: Macbeth: Ein Trauerspiel von Shakespear zur Vorstellung auf dem Hoftheater zu Weimar eingerichtet [Tübingen 1801]; see also supplementary appendix 318.1):

Macbeth adapted for the Weimar court theater by Schiller (Motto from Hamlet)

Macbeth is out of joint; O cursed spite,
That ever I was born to set it right! Back.

[33] An otherwise obscure financial matter; see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 31 May 1801 (letter 319), note 20, esp. also with the cross reference there to her letter to Wilhelm on 18 May 1801 (letter 317), note 16. Her most recent comments on the matter were in her letter to Wilhelm on 7–12 June 1801 (letter 320). Back.

[34] Regarding Johann Friedrich Vieweg’s possible interest in the rest of the edition of Shakespeare. Caroline had mentioned sending Madam Vieweg a letter in which she, Caroline, would quietly and unobtrusively mention the project (Caroline to Wilhelm on 25 May 1801 [letter 318]). She mentions having sent such a letter in her letter to Wilhelm on 7–12 June 1801 (letter 320). Back.

[35] Caroline was well aware of Wilhelm’s romantic interest in Minna van Nuys and is here calling him to task for disingenuously downplaying that interest. Concerning Caroline’s reaction to this relationship, see the supplementary appendix Caroline’s Rival: Minna van Nuys. Back.

[36] Erfurt is located just west of Weimar (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):


Luise Wiedemann had been accompanied to Weimar by Johann Wilhelm Ludekus back on 6 June 1801. She has now returned to Jena.

See M. Jakob Dominikus, Erfurt und das Erfurtische Gebiet: Nach geographischen, physischen, statistischen, politischen und geschichtlichen Verhältnissen, 2 vols. (Gotha 1793), 2:184:

A young man thirteen years old had in his youth learned the prayer “Let us pray for His Kaiserliche [imperial] Majesty the Roman Kaiser [emperor]” [i.e., the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation]. One day it finally occurred to a teacher to ask what exactly the prayer was praying for. Since none of the boy’s forty schoolmates knew, the boy himself answered, “Aye, the Roman Kaiser on Anger street.” He was referring to an inn and tavern by this name. Back.

[37] Friedrich Schlegel had from 21 December 1797 lived with Schleiermacher in Berlin in the latter’s apartment at this hospital, where Schleiermacher worked. Back.

[38] That is, the Jungfernbrücke as an address. Caroline is using yet another sexual innuendo regarding Wilhelm’s circumstances, not least because he was now living with August Ferdinand Bernhardi and his wife, Sophie Bernhardi, with the latter of whom Wilhelm eventually had an ongoing affair and allegedly even fathered a child.

See the supplementary appendix on Wilhelm’s residences in Berlin; Wilhelm lived with the Bernhardis at Jungfernbrücke 10.

Jungfernbrücke, literally, “Bridge of the Virgins,” or “of Virgins,” since the German term Jungfer at the time referred primarily to a maid or unmarried woman (today it sooner connotes a spinster or old maid) (The New and Complete Dictionary of the German and English Languages composed chiefly after the German Dictionaries of Mr. Adelung and of Mr. Schwan, ed. John Ebers, vol. 2: H–R [Leipzig 1798], 270 s.v. Jungfer):

Jungfer, die, Jungfrau, a Maid or Maiden, a Virgin (which is also the Title given to every Girl or woman not yet married) . . . Jungfer is also a Term of Civility, Miss (to a Maiden of Quality) Mistress (to a Daughter of Tradesmen).

See the following excerpt from act 2, scene 3 of C. F. Bretzner’s comedy Der Eheprocurator: Ein Lustspiel in fünf Action, new ed. (Grätz 1797), in which a professional matchmaker, Licentiate Storr, interviews a prospective candidate, Louise, in a comic scene playing on the inherent ambiguity of precisely this term, Jungfer (similarly in the scene: Kammerjungfer, “a Chamber-Maid, a Lady’s Waiting-Woman, an Abigail; an unmarried young Woman that waits on a Lady”).

Note that the more overt French translation of the matchmaker’s question at the bottom of the illustration is, for the sake of propriety, not spelled out entirely (scene illustration: Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, Noch Jungfer? [1784]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Chodowiecki Sammlung [4-296):


Storr. Pro primo: Name, place of birth, and age?

Louise. Louise Waller, from Dresden, twenty years old.

Storr. (Writes everything down and repeats it to her; shakes his head when she gives her age.) And twenty years old? I must confess, chamber-maids [Kammerjungfer} just never get old; I have not a single one in my file there that is over thirty years old. — Still a Jungfer?

Louise. I am close to taking offense at your question, Sir.

Storr. There, there, my child, I must ask this question, for it is one of the principle points of interest. So, then: Jungfer. And now just a little patience! (Stands up and examines her figure through his glasses.)

Louise. Well?

Storr. If you please, turn around a bit.

Louise. My word, this begins to sound more like an arrest warrant.

Storr. My dear child, you fail to understand. Everything must be quite precise. (Sits down and writes.) “Fairly good figure.”

Louise. Only “fairly,” Sir? I would think you would write: “A quite nice figure.”

Click on the image below to open a gallery of all twelve illustrations to the play by Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki in the Lauenburg Genealogischer Kalender auf das Jahr 1785:


Concerning the etymology of the bridge name in Berlin, see Theodor Cotta, Die Heimatskunde für Berlin , 2nd, ed. (Berlin 1873), 58–59:

The Jungfernbrücke was built in 1690 as the third connection between Kölln and the newly created town parts of Friedrichs-Werder between the Getrauten and Schleusen bridges. It was initially called the Spreegassen Bridge and led from the Spreegasse to the Leipzigergasse and on to the old Leipzig Gate.

The French immigrants who settled in Berlin in 1580 included a certain Mr. Blanchet, whose nine daughters earned money washing lace and producing various finery. They had a storefront at the Muhlen Bridge that was quite busy, since in addition to French finery and such one could also catch up on all sorts of town gossip there.

These ladies’ shop was generally known as the Jungfern shop, and the Mühlgraben Bridge as the Jungfernbrücke. Gradually this name was also applied to the much busier Spreegassen Bridge, which was now distinguished as the “large” Jungfernbrücke from the first-mentioned “small” Jungfernbrücke.

Here the three bridges: Schleusenbrücke (top); Jungfernbrücke (middle); Getrautenbrücke (bottom) (Grundriss der Königl. Residenzstädte Berlin Im Jahr 1786 von neuen zusammengetragen und gestochen durch D. F. Sotzman [Berlin, Stettin 1786]):


Here an undated drawing looking south on the map above; Jungfernbrücke 10 is on the right just past the bridge (Jungfernbrücke von Norden; Landesgeschichtliche Vereinigung für die Mark Brandenburg e.V., Archiv Berlin-Mitte):



[39] Concerning Friedrich’s scandalous disputation, see supplementary appendix 303.1. For Caroline’s parody of his theses, see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 26–27 March 1801 (letter 303), note 17; for a description of such events, see also note 14 there. Back.

[40] In the student vernacular, “caraway Turks” (Caroline uses Germ. Kümmeltürken) referred to the students from around the university town of Halle, the area along the Saale River (where Jena was located) being known for its cultivation of caraway; by extension, Caroline is referring to the students from around Jena itself. Back.

[41] Concerning Friedrich and the Jena publisher Christian Ernst Gabler, see Friedrich’s letter to Schleiermacher on 23 January 1801 (letter 283a), note 4. See also Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 7–12 June 1801 (letter 320) for the most recent developments. Back.

[42] An indication, of course, that Wilhelm had expressed the same opinion in his letter. Back.

[43] Fr., “expenses, expenditures.” Back.

[44] “Fühlst Du vieleicht [sic], was dem Entfernten fehle,” Almanach der Musen und Grazien, ed. F. W. A. Schmidt (1802), Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung:


In her letter to Wilhelm on 27 April 1801 (letter 312), i.e., shortly after arriving back in Jena from Braunschweig, Caroline remarks that “the piano is completely covered with dirt and stains inside and out.” Back.

[45] Julie Gotter had been with Caroline since 31 May 1801 and remained until March 1802. Back.

[46] Aeshma Daeva (Asmodeus), the demon of wrath, rage, and fury in Zoroastrianism, appearing in the deutero-canonical book of Tobit as a demon and variously also in the Talmud and in Christian legends, not least as the demon of lust (in Tobit, chap. 3, he is said to have killed Sarah’s seven husbands before any of the marriages were consummated), though Caroline (see the rest of the paragraph) seems sooner to be referring to the association with ill-temper (illustration from Jacques-Albin-Simon Collin de Plancy, Dictionnaire infernal; répertoire universel des êtres, des personnages, des livres, des faits et des choses qui tiennent aux esprits, 6th ed. [Paris 1863[, 55 s.v. Asmodée):



[47] Berlinischer Damen Kalender auf das Jahr 1799; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung:


Luise Wiedemann and her daughter Emma had travelled from Braunschweig to Jena with Caroline, arriving on 23 April 1801. Luise had then travelled over to Weimar on 6 June 1801, i.e., after exactly six weeks in Jena, and Caroline’s implication is that Luise has been inclined to these ill moods (“Asmodeus)” since arriving back in Jena from that trip.

Caroline uses wording here (Germ. Galle machen) from her and Wilhelm’s translation of Hamlet, act 3, scene 2 (Shakespeare: Complete Works, ed. W. J. Craig [London 1966]):

Guildenstern. Good my lord, vouchsafe me a word with you.

Hamlet. Sir, a whole history.

Guildenstern. The king, sir, ––

Hamlet. Ay, sir, what of him?

Guildenstern. Is in his retirement marvellous distempered.

Hamlet. With drink, sir?

Guildenstern. No, my lord, rather with choler.

Hamlet. Your wisdom should show itself more richer to signify this to his doctor; for, for me to put him to his purgation would perhaps plunge him into far more choler [das würde ihm vielleicht noch mehr Galle machen]. Back.

[48] Caroline had already suggested as much in her letter to Wilhelm on 7–8 May 1801 (letter 314):

It would not be bad at all if you might concern yourself a bit with their aprivoisation [“domestication”]; it would quite beneficial for Wiedemann. Back.

[49] Rage in French in original. — Caroline mentions the “two Roses” in her letter to Wilhelm on 31 May–1 June 1801 (letter 319): “Julchen is a healthy child, and is my noble white rose alongside my other Rose, whom you, of course, also know.” Back.

[50] Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, “Der rasende Zorn eines Weibes,” from 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 xxvii):


Schelling was reading Homer at the time not least as a source for studying hexameters; see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 5 May 1801 (letter 313): “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.”

At the same time, however, Julie Gotter writes desultorily to her sister Cecile on 25 August 1801, after Wilhelm’s return to Jena (letter 328.1):

Today is again a rather dreary day that we must spend inside. [Wilhelm] Schlegel will probably read us all something aloud. He would already have done so more often except that Schelling cannot bear to listen when someone reads, so no one does so when he is here. Back.

[51] Deprecirt in original, from Fr. déprécier. Back.

[52] Wallensteins Lager (Wallenstein’s camp), the first part of the trilogy Wallenstein, was performed in Weimar after the one-act play Der kleine Matrose on Saturday, 13 June 1801 (Das Repertoire des Weimarischen Theaters, 39; illustrations from Schiller’s Works, ed. J. G. Fischer, vol. 2 [Philadelphia 1883], 115, 119):




[53] Jean Paul (Friedrich Richter) had just married Caroline, née Meyer, on 17 May 1801, in Berlin, after which they travelled to Dessau and Weimar (visiting the Herders), then on to Meiningen, where they would live for a time (Post Karte Durch ganz Deutschland, ed. J. Walch [Augsburg 1795]):


Caroline, of course, is making light fun of her name by referring to her as “Jeanette Pauline.” Back.

[54] Caroline had mentioned this possible visit in her letter to Wilhelm on 31 May–1 June 1801 (letter 319), also relating to Wilhelm how Voss allegedly preferred Wilhelm’s translation of Theocritus, Die Spindel to that of others and even his own, and that Wilhelm’s own apology for an earlier negative review of Voss’s translation of Homer would probably favorable impress Voss (see notes 31, 32 there). Given Schelling’s current interest in Homer noted above, it is easy to understand why he would be eager to meet with Voss. Back.

[55] Concerning Schelling’s falling out with the editors of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung during the autumn of 1799, see his declaration in the Intelligenzblatt of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung on Saturday, 2 November 1799, and the editorial response (letter/document 252d). Back.

[56] Schelling’s letter to Wilhelm on 3 July 1801 (letter 323a), which, as Caroline will go on to remark, he did not finish on this particular day. Back.

[57] A reference to the “epistolary affair” discussed in several letters over the course of 1801; see esp. also Friedrich’s letter to Wilhelm on 18 May 1801 (letter 317a) and the editorial note there (with additional cross references). Caroline last mentions it in her letter to Wilhelm on 31 May–1 June 1801 (letter 319). Back.

[58] Moyen, Fr. “means.”

See Friedrich’s fragment 229 from Athenaeum (1799) 258 (trans. Friedrich Schlegel’s Lucinde and the Fragments, trans. Peter Firchow [Minneapolis 1971], 194):

The Arabs have highly polemical natures; they are the annihilators among nations. Their fondness for destroying or throwing away the originals when the translations are finished characterizes the spirit of their philosophy. Precisely for that reason it may be that they were infinitely more cultivated but, with all their culture, more purely barbaric than the Europeans of the Middle Ages. For barbarism is defined as what is at once anti-classical and anti-progressive.

Apart from the debatable nature of these remarks (on which see Rémi Brague, “Inklusion und Verdauung. Zwei Modelle kultureller Aneignung,” in Hermeneutische Wege: Hans-Georg Gadamer zum Hundertsten, ed. Günter Figal, Jean Grondin, and Dennis J. Schmidt [Tübingen 2000], 293–306, here 301–2), it is true that Friedrich was at the time becoming interested, to whatever degree, not just in Arabic culture and literature, but in Eastern cultures and literatures generally as iterations of the Romantic, e.g., Sanskrit (Ueber die Sprache und Weisheit der Indier: Ein Beitrag zur Begründung der Alterthumskunde. Nebst metrischer Uebersetzung indischer Gedichte [Heidelberg 1808]).

Wilhelm’s interest similarly expanded and in part was reflected in his Vorlesungen über schöne Literatur und Kunst and in his translation and editorial work, e.g., in Bhagavad-Gita (Bonn 1823).

Otherwise, German universities at the time frequently kept facilities for equestrian instruction for students and people associated with the university.

The first illustration depicts the new riding academy in Braunschweig in 1749. The second, Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki’s tongue-in-cheek engraving of activity in such a riding academy, is part of several engravings illustrating the life of a dissolute young fellow but reflecting the presence of such riding academies at universities nonetheless. The third similarly illustrates proper riding form (in order: [1] Johann Georg Schmidt, Facade des neuen Reithauses gegen Mitternacht [1749]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Top. App. 1:113 oben; [2] Schauplatz der Natur und der Künste, vol. 2 [Vienna 1775], plate 46; [3] Preparation pour l’Université [1773]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Museumsnr. Uh 4° 47 [198]; [4] Bartolomeo Nerici, Manège, Leçon de L’Epoule en dedans [ca. 1769–83]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Graph. A1: 1855):





Translation © 2015 Doug Stott