Letter 324

• 324. Caroline to Wilhelm Schlegel in Berlin: Jena, 6 July 1801

Jena, 6 July [18]01

|183| I have no intention of scolding you. You yourself can assess how much composure is required when a person believes that the big, thick letter in her hands is written just to her and then discovers it is in fact a Manuscript for Everyman; [1] but I will view it as something for |184| the Fatherland and accordingly exercise a measure of Spartan resignation. —

I immediately sent your letter on to Fromman and will also inquire whether he really will be taking over the printing. When he and Madam paid me a visit a few days ago, he boasted of having 7000 rh. worth of paper available, so there is no lack of material. —

In the meantime, I have spent time reading, since apart from your and Novalis’s contributions everything was new to me; [2] this latter has remained my favorite. Indeed, if only Tiek would become more sound and solid. The Zeichen im Walde are much too drawn out, [3] and as far as the Lebenselemente are concerned, I think he is to be classified among the befoggers and hoverers. [4]

But now what? Did I do the right thing turning our friend Gries away, since Süvern is mentioned by name and especially since you have transformed yourselves from a private poetic pocketbook anthology into a general Musenallmanach? [5] It seems to me that one of Gries’s better poems is better than one of Tiek’s weaker ones or one that in truth is merely a filler, as you yourself referred to his most recent submissions. I will try to wheedle out of him whether he has anything suitable. [6]

Schelling will surely also be contributing something of his own, and here is also a letter from him; he misplaced the most recent beginning to it. [7]

You have received the Numancia, as Fiorillo just reported to me, though he knows less about Goethe than I was wanting to know. He only received one visit from him, and illness prevented him from meeting with him elsewhere. [8] It fell to Sartorius to act as his guide; Loder had referred Sartorius to him, and only imagine, he rented a logis in Körner’s house for a month in the Allee there after his course of treatment at the mineral baths. [9] Fiorillo says that he found him as garbato, cortese ed amabile as 10 years ago in Weimar. [10] My |185| brother Philipp will be taking a journey to Pyrmont and to the surrounding mineral baths, so he will also be seeing him.

Philipp is herewith having me officially inform you that you are to claim the money for yourself and merely write and let him know how much it is. [11]

Your mother has not yet responded to me, but a letter from the elder Madam Wiedemann claims that Pastor Ernst in Langenhagen married a certain Mademoiselle Hansen, who according to Luise, who saw her in Braunschweig at the Winkelmanns’, is allegedly a quite pretty, upright young girl. [12] So I hope it will make your mother happy. If you know anything about Charlotte, please do let me know. My feelings will never make her suffer for the fact that people so unnecessarily and malevolently betrayed me to her. [13]

I still have something to relate to you concerning an espèce [14] of my brother-in-law, unless you are perhaps already more familiar with it than I. A certain person has been wandering about here with a French cockade. One cannot really tell if he is young or old, whether he is a citizen of the grande nation or one of our people. He is, however, a bit corrupt in any case, and he peers out of Madam Veit’s window in mere shirtsleeves. [14a] The younger Schelling learned that he is courting Henriette and is someone whom the latter has sent to her sister for approval. [14b] There must be something to the story.


My dear Wilhelm, what a good joke! At this very moment a letter was brought to me with the query whether this was indeed the right house, addressed à Mr. Eduard d’Alton ches Mr. le Professeur S., and now I finally realize what is going on. Eduard is the lover whom Madam Veit had several years ago, the prototype for Florentin whose portrait she owned and whose story she told to Auguste at such superfluous length. [15]

She was |186| chastised a bit afterward for doing so — for it was precisely this Eduard who had written to her the same lines Florentin had left behind for Juliane, [16] and while she was reading the manuscript aloud to me, Auguste recognized the lines immediately and called her to the carpet with the most ardent indignation for having divulged what someone had written to her whom she had once loved, and said to her outright, “Pfooey, Madam Veit, now I absolutely cannot stand you anymore!”

Madam Veit tried to deflect her, denying that the lines really did come from Eduard, but that, of course, did not make things any better for Auguste, and the reading was canceled entirely. This Eduard Alton was in Berlin once when Friedrich was there, then went to America — and now he has come here with them from Leipzig. [17] I have no idea, by the way, where the story involving Henriette came from. [18]

I have not yet even caught a glimpse of Ritter. He is living in Weimar, or rather in the village Oberweimar with Friedrich Majer. [19] At the beginning of the summer he actually spent some time wandering about the countryside a bit with a Voltaic batterie ambulante or Galvanic artillerie volante, [20] and especially in Gotha had it perform for the duke and some other high personages. [21]

A few days ago he wrote to one of the students here that he was now intently studying poetry and to that end was doing nothing but reading Shakespeare. He would probably do better to learn Greek instead. Moreover, Friedrich Majer introduced him to the pope, [22] with whom he is completely taken, and the initiates among the students have also said that Friedrich Schlegel is severely holding that against him.

It is best for you not to write and tell Friedrich that you want a clean copy of the Volksmärchen; that can wait until you are here yourself and can see the befouled copy. [23] I could find only the second part of DQuixote; perhaps you genuinely |187| did not have anything more than that. [24] After putting the books back in order, all of which are now splendidly organized, I am still missing the Spanish book Gueras civilas between the Spaniards and Moors, as well as Schelling’s Briefe über Dogmatismus etc. [25] Virgil and Ovid were returned. In a billet he sent, Friedrich maintains that Eber’s English-German Lexicon is his own property. [26]

I know from Madam Tischbein herself that she will be having visits from relatives on three or four occasions this month for whom she can barely provide accommodations. [27] Hence if your travels should happen to take you through Leipzig this month, you cannot count on being able to spend the night with them. Caroline has finished another drawing of Auguste that I want to have sent to me right away. The oil portrait is waiting for you; many people who have seen it think it bears a far better resemblance than does the drawing. I am so yearning to see it. [28]

I wrote Marcus once more, including with regard to the Franconian Lustgarten. [29] I hear that he is thinking about coming here in August, presumably from Bocklet. To be sure, I would really like for you to be here then. Paulus will not be leaving till 20 July, and with him — her. [30]

Wiedemann has written about some very nice new postludes and comedies and operettas, and I asked him either to send or bring them along when the occasion arises. [31] Perhaps one can do something with them. Huber, of course, is translating only the more ponderous representatives of the most recent French theater.

One particularly stupid expense is the still outstanding lease payment for your sofa for 5 or 6 three-month periods. It never occurred to anyone not to leave it there unused. The leatherworker did indeed inquire with Madam Veit every three months, and she certainly could have asked you about it. [31a] I myself have also left it there for now because I was expecting you here so soon — I will |188| simply leave it there anew, or should I not? —

Please do write, dearest friend, also with regard to the logis and whether you give me the authority to arrange a different one. We send you our most loving regards. By the way, as far as the logis is concerned, everyone is on my side. [32] You must at least come yourself if you are interested in bringing them over to your side in these or other points.

Adieu, worthy friend — is the act finished? [33]

The weather refuses to settle down. [34]


[1] The manuscripts for the Musen-Almanach für das Jahr 1802, which was to be printed in Jena by Friedrich Frommann. Caroline’s objections later in the letter also concern the originally more exclusive selection of authors anticipated for the anthology. In her letter to Wilhelm on 7–8 May 1801 (letter 314), she had mentioned Johann Diederich Gries’s possible interest in contributing; in that letter, she refers to a ” a closed company, as it were,” emphasizing that one “must certainly avoid promoting dilettantes in any discipline.” Back.

[2] The Musen-Almanach included Novalis’s (Friedrich von Hardenberg’s) poems “An Tieck,” “Bergmanns-Leben” and “Lob des Weins” (the latter two from Heinrich von Ofterdingen), as well as seven “Geistliche Lieder” (Musen-Almanach, 35–38, 160–61, 162–64, 189–204). – In extant letters, Caroline has never previously referred to Hardenberg by his pen name Novalis. Back.

[3] Ludwig Tieck, “Die Zeichen im Walde. Romanze” (“Signs in the forest”), Musen-Almanach für das Jahr 1802, 2–24, which Erich Schmidt, (1913), 2:621, described as “interminably long and filled with ominous assonances with ‘oo’-sounds.”

Here a mid-nineteenth-century illustration from the Deutsches Balladenbuch, ed. Adolf Ehrhardt, Theobald von Der, Hermann Plüddemann, Ludwig Richter, and Carl Schurig, 2nd ed. (Leipzig 1858), 173:



[4] Ludwig Tieck, “Lebenselemente” (“Elements of life”), eight poems in the Musen-Almanach für das Jahr 1802, 39–50: “Die Erde,” “Das Unterirdische,” “Das Wasser,” “Die Luft,” “Das Feuer,” “Das Licht,” “Arbeit,” “Sabbath” (“The earth,” “The subterranean,” “Water,” “Air,” “Fire,” “Light,” “Work,” “Sabbath”).

The expression “hoverers and befoggers” (Schwebler und Nebler) derives from Goethe’s Propyläen (1799) vol. 2, no. 2, 26–122, from the eighth letter in the essay “Der Sammler und die Seinigen.” For the text of this and other key passages, see supplementary appendix 242a.1. Back.

[5] The reference is to “Wiedergeburt, im Herbste 1800,” in the Musenalmanach für das Jahr 1802, 27–30, attributed there to “W. Süvern.” Back.

[6] The Musen-Almanach did not include anything by Johann Diederich Gries. Back.

[7] Schelling’s letter to Wilhelm on 3 July 1801 (letter 323a); see esp. note 2 there concerning his contributions to the Musen-Almanach. Back.

[8] La Numancia (1582), tragedy by Cervantes. See Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 22 June 1801 (letter 322), note 12.

Caroline speaks about Goethe’s visit in Göttingen and Pyrmont in her letter to Wilhelm on 22 June 1801 (letter 322). Concerning Goethe’s itinerary in Göttingen, see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 7–12 June 1801 (letter 320), note 12. Back.

[9] The Göttingen historian Georg Sartorius remained in cordial contact with Goethe.

The Allee in Göttingen was located just across the Leine Canal from Prinzenstrasse, on whose corner Caroline’s childhood home still stands ([1] map: Matt. Seutter, Goettinga urbs munitissima et splendida electoratus Brunsvico – Luneburgici academia Georgia Augusta [Augsburg ca. 1730]; [2] anonymous engraving, “Die Allee in Göttingen” [ca. 1820]):



Goethe recalls that he rented a “quite pleasant apartment” on the second floor of the house of the instrument maker Körner in Göttingen in order to fill in gaps in his study of the history of the theory of colors. He similarly remarks having taken a pleasant outing with Fiorillo and even having studied the Gelehrten-Geschichte of Johann Stephan Pütter that he might be better acquainted with the university and its faculty (Weimarer Ausgabe 35:106–7). Back.

[10] Italian, “polite, courteous, and amiable.”

During the autumn of 1791, Fiorillo had traveled from Göttingen to Dresden to visit the Dresden gallery. On his return trip, he unexpectedly visited Friedrich Schlegel in Leipzig (see Friedrich’s letter to Wilhelm on 8 November 1791 [Walzel, 22–23; KFSA 23:29]) before traveling on to Weimar (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):



[11] Concerning this financial matter, see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 22 June 1801 (letter 322), note 33. Philipp was living in Harburg just across the Elbe River from Hamburg (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):



[12] Sigmund Ernst’s first wife, Henriette, née Schlegel, had died on 3 February 1801; see Caroline’s letter to Schelling on 13 February 1801 (letter 286). The village of Langenhagen is located just north of Hannover (Lieut F. Hartmann and L Pieper, Post-Charte von dem Koenigreiche Hannover und den angrenzenden Ländern (Hannover n.d.); Bibliothèque nationale de France):



[13] Presumably but not definitely a reference to Caroline’s pregnancy in Lucka during 1793. See Friedrich Schlegel’s letters to Wilhelm on 21 August 1793 (letter 133a); 13 November 1793 (letter 136a); 10 February 1793 (letter 139b); and finally also 9 May 1794 (letter 143d), when Friedrich was trying to gauge how Charlotte Ernst and her husband would react to Caroline moving to Dresden. It is not clear when Charlotte Ernst may have learned about Caroline’s circumstances or from whom. Back.

[14] Fr., here: “case in point, question at issue. Back.

[14a] Johann Georg Klinger, engraver, and Ambrosius Gabler, draftsman, Straßenszene (ca. 1776–1825); Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Graph. A1: 1373:



[14b] Johann Berndt, Der erhörte Liebhaber (ca. 1776–1825); Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Graph. A1 175:



[15] Concerning Eduard d’Alton, see the pertinent narrative in Dorothea’s letter to Schleiermacher on 16 April 1801 (letter 308a), esp. with notes 13–16; concerning Eduard d’Alton in Dorothea’s Florentin and as Wilhelm’s later colleague, see the supplementary appendix on Eduard d’Alton. Back.

[16] Dorothea Schlegel, Florentin. Ein Roman (Lübeck, Leipzig 1801), 312–13 (chapter 15): Florentin’s farewell lines to Eduard and Juliane:

Florentin went through the park, where might assume there was less chance of encountering anyone, and proceeded directly to the village, where he found Heinrich waiting for him with his steed. He bid the youth farewell, pressed a reward into his hand for his zealous service, mounted his faithful steed, and immediately set off at a gallop without looking back.

Heinrich, still watching, saw as he suddenly stopped, turned his horse around, and rode back. — “Wait here a moment,” he called to Heinrich. Heinrich came up and took the horse. Florentin pulled out his writing pad and wrote the following on it in pencil:

“The blows of fate harden us and give us the strength to lift ourselves up precisely by bending us down, while petty incongruities and misunderstandings among human beings cruelly destroy our spirit. I consider my acceptance into your circle a blessing but am leaving now so that no one might curse it. Fare well, Eduard; please remember me. — Juliane, anyone who sees you will know you; and anyone who knows you cannot but love you; and anyone who loves you cannot cease to do so. Abide in happiness. — Florentin.” Back.

[17] Österreichisches Taschenbuch für das Jahr 1806; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung:


Friedrich and Dorothea had returned from Leipzig on 10 May 1801; Dalton was apparently staying with them now in their apartment in Jena (Kalender der Musen und Grazien [1796]; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):



[18] See, however, Friedrich’s remarks in his letter to Caroline from Berlin in late March 1799 (letter 225), also Caroline’s remarks in her letter to Wilhelm on 27 July 1801 (letter 327). Henriette Mendelssohn never married. Back.

[19] The village of Oberweimar is located just southeast of Weimar (A. W. Ludwig, Charte über den grosten Theil des Fürstenthums Weimar in 8 Sectionen nach einem Originale von Wibekind copiert durch A.W. Ludwig [1789]; Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Cartes et plans):



[20] Fr., “portable battery,” “portable artillery” (e.g., cannon). Caroline is striking a slightly jesting tone here. Back.

[21] Concerning Johann Wilhelm Ritter’s itinerary during this period, see Dorothea Veit’s letter to Schleiermacher on 16 April 1801 (letter 308a), note 2. Concerning voltaic batteries, see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 26–27 March 1801 (letter 303), note 20. Concerning Ritter’s earlier (1799) experiments, see Caroline’s letter to Friedrich von Hardenberg on 4 February 1799 (letter 219), esp. with note 6.

Click on the following image to open a gallery of illustrations of laboratories and experiments associated with Ritter’s interest and esp. applications of galvanism, more on which recurs in later letters:



[22] The “pope”: Goethe? Schelling? Back.

[23] Ludwig Tieck, Volksmärchen, 3 vols. (Berlin 1797), frontispiece and title page from vol. 1, title vignette from vol. 2:




[24] Tieck’s translation of Cervantes’s Leben und Thaten des scharfsinnigen Edlen Don Quixote von la Mancha, 4 vols. (Unger: Berlin 1799–1801). Back.

[25] The lengthy (almost 700 pages) Historia de las guerras civiles de Granada (Paris 1660), a novel by Ginés Pérez de Hita:

Historia_ guerras_civiles

Also Schelling’s “Philosophische Briefe über Dogmatismus und Kriticismus,” Philosophisches Journal einer Gesellschaft Teutscher Gelehrten 3 (1795) no. 11, 173–239. Back.

[26] 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, 3 vols. (Leipzig 1796–99); still an excellent resource for comparing the understanding of the two languages at the time. Back.

[27] The Tischbeins were currently living in Leipzig. Back.

[28] It is not always easy or even possible to keep track of the various drawings and portraits of Auguste that Caroline mentions. See in any case Sophie Tischbein’s letter to Caroline on 28 August 1800 (letter 267), note 2. Back.

[29] Marcus was securing a book for Wilhelm; see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 12 June 1801 (letter 320), note 38. Back.

[30] See Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 29 June 1801 (letter 323), note 19.

Karoline Paulus was already in Bamberg with her daughter, Sophie. The reference is to H. E. G. Paulus’s journey there with Dorothea Veit, and then on further to the Franconian town of Bocklet, where the entire party would be at latest on 27 July 1801.

Concerning Caroline’s vexation, see esp. her letter to Wilhelm on 29 June 1801 (letter 323), notes 19 and 20 (the letter she here mentions may be the one discussed in note 20 there). Back.

[31] The reference is likely to pieces Wiedemann (in France at the time) had translated. Wiedemann had earlier supplemented his income with such translations. He returned to Braunschweig by way of Jena in the autumn of 1801 to pick up his wife and daughter, Luise and Emma. Back.

[31a] The leather-working shops (Gerberei) in Jena were located just outside the town walls in the northeast corner of town along the side branch of the Saale River running alongside that edge of town, whose water the workers naturally used in their work.

This resulted, however, in waste odors for residents living nearby, of some note here because Caroline goes on to mention the possibility of finding a new apartment — the Asverus house — that, as it turns out, was located in that corner of town on the Luther Square (Lutherplatz), and in her missives to Wilhelm in Berlin concerning the accommodations she tries to reassure him concerning rumors of the leather-shop odors, rubbish heaps, and the like.

Indeed, the street along that branch of the Saale River was known as the Gerbergasse (1st map: Carl Schreiber and Alexander Färber, Jena von seinem Ursprunge bis zur neuesten Zeit, nach Adrian Beier, Wiedeburg, Spangenberg, Faselius, Zenker u. A. von Carl Schreiber u. Alexander Färber: Mit Kupfern, Karten, Lithographien u. Holzschnitten [Jena 1850], map following p. 52; 2nd map: Stadtplan von Jena [1909]; Städtische Museen Jena: Stadtmuseum und Kunstsammlung):



Here the row of houses and workshops along the waterway ca. 1908 (Adolf Stier, Jena, Die deutschen Hochschulen 2, ed. Theodor Kappstein [Berlin 1908], 198):


Here illustrations of leather-workers at the time by Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki and slightly earlier ([1] Handwerke und Künste. b) Der Gerber, from the 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 LV b; remaining illustrations from [2, 3, 4, 5] Christoff Weigel, Abbildung Der Gemein-Nützlichen Haupt-Stände Von denen Regenten Und ihren So in Friedens- als Kriegs-Zeiten zugeordneten Bedienten an biß auf alle Künstler und Handwercker nach Jedes Ambts- und Beruffs-Verrichtungen meist nach dem Leben gezeichnet und in Kupfer gebracht etc. [Regenspurg 1698], illustrations following pp. 618, 624 [misnumbered as 614] [bis], 628; [6] Schauplatz der Natur und der Künste, vol. 5 [Vienna 1777], plate 14):






[32] Caroline wanted to give up the apartment at Leutragasse 5 and move to something smaller, since Friedrich and Dorothea were no longer living there as was the case earlier; she mentions her activities in this regard in future letters. Back.

[33] Wilhelm’s five-act play Ion: ein Schauspiel (Hamburg 1803), premiered in Weimar on 2 January 1802; coming references to the title include the homophonic version Jon. See Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 29 June 1801 (letter 323), in which she reacts to learning of it for the first time. Back.

[34] Schelling had mentioned in his letter to Wilhelm on 3 July 1801 (letter 323a) that “although the recent cool weather has been a bit hard on her [Caroline], there have been no further ill effects.” Back.

Translation © 2015 Doug Stott