Letter 322b

322b. Julie Gotter to Luise Gotter in Gotha: Jena, 29 June 1801 [*]

Jena, 29 June 1801

Upon returning from an extremely pleasant walk, my dear mother, I found your letter waiting for me, for which I had been so longing.

And how grateful I am, for were you not so kind as to relate news to me about Gotha, everyone there could perish and disappear utterly without my learning of it. I thought perhaps Pauline’s curiosity would generate a letter for me, and each and every postal day I waited for just such a letter full of questions.f

But — has lethargy in the meantime gained the upper hand over that particular inclination? I hardly can believe this sort of thing about this quicksilver little sister of mine. And even were I to believe that her pride and independence would not allow her to write to me first, nonetheless even that can be no excuse, for I myself wrote her from Weimar. If her hard heart feels absolutely no sympathy for my sisterly tenderness, then next time I will write her a letter that can touch the heart even of a stone. Doubtless people here believe she is incapable of writing because she is so obtuse. —

Lottchen [1] — to whom please extend my respectful regards — is a completely different person. Her letter caused me such laughter that my side hurt. Indeed, her letter is so much the personified Lotte herself that I might have thought she was standing right next to me. I will answer her promptly and thoroughly.

Madam Schlegel’s health is still such that one day things go well, the next not so well; that cannot be changed. But she does then take care of herself and is quite moderate with respect to stimulants. She is bathing now, something I myself have also done a couple of times. [2]

But I am quite distressed that my dear aunt is feeling unwell (and about the ongoing indisposition of [Aunt?] Hof); [3] I do hope she finds the mineral-springs stay salutary. I am very sorry that the stay in Liebenstein has turned out to be a false hope for Pauline; how glad I would have been had she been able to go. [4] But you wrote absolutely nothing about a stay in Ordruf; should not all of you go there? [5] You could, after all, enjoy this wonderful weather far better there, where one can be outside at any time of day. I for my part regrettably see nothing but rooftops and houses. [5a]

And yet each afternoon we take quite beautiful and long walks. Madam Schlegel is not always able to go very far, but in such cases I go with Madam Wiedemann. We recently climbed up one of the surrounding hills from which one has a splendid view, and we are thinking about doing this more often. [6]

Last week we took a carriage to Burgau, which it is quite magnificent, [7] but then yesterday we took an even more pleasant excursion to Dornburg. [8] We left immediately after eating so that we might arrive in a timely fashion.

Several old castles are situated directly on the precipice of a steep cliff along which the Saale River flows in several bends. [9] Although the town itself is situated up on the cliff, the inn in which we stopped is situated at its base, and the river itself flows by directly in front of the room in which we were. [10] I hardly need point out that we took lengthy walks there. Our recollection of Goethe’s romance “The King in Thule” prompted us to cast, if not a golden goblet, then at least a drinking glass into the waters — for which, of course, we immediately had to pay the tavern keeper. But our merriment was certainly worth it. [11]

Because little Emma had not come along, our journey back to Jena was rather quiet, otherwise things would have been quite different. Madam Wiedemann was tired, and the others doubtless little inclined to talk. [12]

We will certainly not let this delightful day today go by without enjoying it in some fashion. Minchen Hussler spent only very little time indeed here when she passed through; [13] I could not have accompanied her in any case, since, first, the weather was so bad, and then I also could not leave Madam Schlegel all alone. I did, however, receive a letter from her in which she again earnestly requested that I come see her, which I will assuredly also do.

I paid the visits you requested. Madam Reich was not at home. [14] Although going to visit Madam Schütz cost me considerable effort, I had no intention of acting contrary to my mother’s orders. [15] She was extremely polite, indeed, too much so, and invited me to visit her often; and two days later I received a formal invitation to a grand fête, which, however, I declined. No one will now accompany me there, and in fact no upright person considers it seemly to have much to do with her.

She is now, together with Madam Hildebrandt, attending her son’s lectures; [16] the two women allow themselves to be gaped at in a side room by the young people there, who in part go precisely to see this oddity.

What do you think about that? Perhaps she might even come upon the idea of taking me along to admire her excellent son! —

Herr Schlegel sends good news. He is doing well but will probably not return before the summer is out, [17] and until then we will continue our monastic life, since apart from the suffragan bishop we never receive any gentleman callers.

Madam Schlegel and Madam Wiedemann send their kind regards. And please send my warmest regards to everyone, dear mother. Stay well, my beloved mother, I embrace you and my dear aunt and Pauline most tenderly in thought.


I was thinking about writing my dear Lottchen, but it is already too late, so please give her my special greetings and tell her that after looking all about but not daring to pass by the residence of our diminutive friend, [18] I finally saw him standing at the door, albeit at a considerable distance, and that from his greeting I could tell that he also recognized me.


[*] Source: Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften; Nachlass F. W. J. v. Schelling, no. 933.

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) (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):



[1] Unidentified; possibly an aunt in Gotha. Back.

[2] Taking the proper kinds and amounts of stimulants or sedatives during an illness was part of the protocol of the Brunonian method. Caroline in any case writes to Wilhelm Schlegel the same day (letter 323) that “although the weather is nice again, I myself am not yet feeling all that well.”

Here a standard bathtub in a bourgeois residence at the time (Schauplatz der Natur und der Künste, vol. 5 [Vienna 1777], plate 47):



[3] Friederike Hoff? Back.

[4] Julie responds in her letter to Luise Gotter on 8 June 1801 (letter 319b) to the latter’s news that Pauline Gotter had not been well; there Julie suggests a slag-bath cure. Back.

[5] Ohrdruf, the birthplace of Johann Sebastian Bach, is located approx. 14 km south of Gotha (J. Janssonius, Grafschafft Thuringiae Nova Descriptio – Johannes Janssonius Excud. Amsterdam [1688]; photograph: early postcard):




[5a] An interesting comment suggesting that Julie is referring to the view from the upper stories of the house at Leutragasse 5. Although the residents there could not see the following Rosensäle, or Rosengebäude (Rose Halls, Rose Building), where Sunday concerts were held, that building was nonetheless located just around the corner from Leutragasse 5 on Fürstengraben. Here the building on a postcard from 1912 viewed together with the surrounding rooftops as described by Julie:



[6] As seen numerous times in earlier letters, Jena is surrounded by a hilly countryside ([1] anonymous watercolor, ca. 1810; [2] Ludwig Bechstein, Wanderungen durch Thüringen, Das malerische und romantische Deutschland in zehn Sektionen iv [Leipzig 1838], plate following p. 146; [3] Heinrich Schneider, Die Burschenschaft Germania zu Jena [Jena 1897], 151):





[7] Caroline later mentions an excursion to Burgau, south of Jena, in her letter to Wilhelm on 19–20 July 1801 (letter 326), where she also mentions that Schelling did not accompany them (F. L. Güssefeld, Topographische Charte der umliegenden Gegend Von Jena / nach eigenen Messungen und andern Origin. Zeichnungen neu entworfen [Nürnberg 1800]; illustration of the local inn and tavern by Christian Gotthilf Immanuel Oehme, Beym Gasthof zu Burgau [ca. 1780]; Sächsische Landesbibliothek – Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden):




[8] Caroline mentions this excursion in her letter on the same day (29 June 1801) to Wilhelm (letter 323). Dornburg is located 10 km northeast of Jena, past Kunitz, on the Saale River (Karl Baedeker, Northern Germany as far as the Bavarian and Austrian Frontiers: Handbook for Travellers, 15th rev. ed. [Leipzig 1910], 269):



[9] Here the location of the three castles on the precipice overlooking the river and illustrations of two of the castles themselves and the interior courtyard of one (Thüringen in Wort und Bild, ed. Thüringer Pestalozzivereinen, vol. 2, [Leipzig 1902], 257; P. Lehfeldt, Herzogthum Sachsen-Altenburg: Westkreis: Amtsgerichtsbezirke Roda, Kahle, Eisenberg, Bau- und Kunst-Denkmäler Thüringens 2 [Jena 1888], 30, 33; Der Burgwart: Zeitschrift für Burgenland und mittelalterliche Baukunst 9 [1907] 2 [December], 30):






[10] The tavern or inn was likely in a location similar to (or indeed the same) as the buildings in the right foreground below, i.e., directly on the river (Ludwig Bechstein, Thüringen, Das malerische und romantische Deutschland: In zehn Sektionen 3, 2nd ed. [Leipzig 1847], plate following p. 102):



[11] Here Goethe’s drawing of the Dornburg castles (Herman Krüger-Westend, Goethe in Dornburg [Jena 1908], plate preceding p. 17):


The salient lines in Goethe’s piece read as follows (illustration: “The King of Thule from Goethe,” Once a Week: Illustrated Miscellany of Literature, Art, Science, & Popular Information 1 [July to December 1859], 24 September 1859, 250):

A regal banquet held he
In his ancestral hall,
In yonder sea-wash'd castle,
'Mongst his great nobles all.

There stood the aged reveller,
And drank his last life's-glow,
Thun hurl'd the sacred goblet
Into the flood below.

He saw it falling, filling
And sinking 'neath the main,
His eyes then clos'd forever,
He never drank again.



[12] Did the party include others besides Caroline, Julie, and Luise Wiedemann? (Representative illustration: anonymous, Eine Gruppe von Jägern in der Nähe einer Burgruine in bewaldeter Berglandschaft [19th century]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Graph. C: 845):



[13] Uncertain identity. Back.

[14] Unidentified; because the manuscript includes a period after “Reich,” the name could be an abbreviation, e.g., for “Reichenberg” or something similar. Back.

[15] Luise Gotter had advised Julie to visit Anna Henriette Schütz in a letter to which Julie responds in a letter on 8 June 1801 (letter 319b). Concerning the strained relationship between the Schlegel and Schütz families, see note 8 there. Both Wilhelm Schlegel and Schelling had fallen out with Christian Gottfried Schütz and his coeditor of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, Gottlieb Hufeland, back in the autumn of 1799, and Caroline was only now beginning to thaw her relationship with Konradine Luise Hufeland, who happened to be the sister-in-law of Luise Wiedemann.

The Schützes lived at Engelplatz 8 in Jena until 1804, when they left for Halle (Caroline’s residence at top at Leutragasse 5 (Plan der Residenz- und Universitätsstadt Jena [1884]; Thüringen, Städtische Museen Jena: Stadtmuseum und Kunstsammlung):


Here an illustration of the Engelplatz looking south, in which case the Schützes’ house would be the one with the fence partially visible at the immediate right (Carl Schreiber and Alexander Färber, Jena von seinem Ursprunge bis zur neuesten Zeit: nach Adrain Beier, Wiedeburg, Spangenberg, Faselius, Zenker u.a.; mit Kupfern Karten. Lithographien u. Holzschnitten [Jena 1850], 197):



[16] Madam Hildebrandt’s identity is uncertain.

Caroline mentions the young Schütz’s lack of lectern success in her letter to Wilhelm Schlegel on 10 December 1801 (letter 335): “he [the elder Schütz] will probably endure no longer than did the applause of his son, who left the lectern amid insults and pereats [Latin, “may he come to ruin, perish; down with him!”]. Back.

[17] Wilhelm arrived back in Jena on 11 August 1801 (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):



[18] Uncertain identity. Back.

Translation © 2021 Doug Stott