Letter 326

• 326. Caroline to Wilhelm Schlegel in Berlin: Jena, 19–20 July 1801 [*]

Jena, 19 [–20] July [1801]

|194| I received your rich consignment but still have everything in my safekeeping. [1]

Fromman has not demanded anything from me, but that is of no importance, since he had already come to an agreement with Cotta and was merely asking him for more specific details. The main issue is settled, namely, that he will be doing the printing, and hence it will indeed go forward at the proper time.

You can always accept Gries as proofreader. [2] Since he seems to have nothing particularly prominent in his inventory, and only has something to say if prompted, such would have provided him with the occasion to do something commensurately eminent, hence God forbid he create yet another point of contention between the editors, who have so suddenly managed to sweep up such a cloud of dust between themselves. [3]

And such is to continue? and yet still none of you wants to pause for even a moment until that dust settles that you might once again see each other clearly and plainly? —

Even before your last letter, I had thought about writing you to ascertain whether you might, as was originally your intention, want to go by way of Dresden that no residue might remain behind between Tiek and yourself and that you might also see and speak with your sister. [4] And if doing so does not constitute too much of an interruption to your present project, let me urge you even more strongly now to do so. [5]

If you intend to leave Berlin once after all before the project is finished — and I must conclude as much from your statements concerning an early return — a week would not have much effect on a longer |195| pause, and two extra, boring days of travel should probably also not be taken too seriously in that regard. Remaining in Dresden at this time for a period of weeks or months would indeed be too great a detour. —

I am hoping you will under no circumstances get worked up about my travel suggestions. You were good enough to relate Tiek’s letter to me, so now I can give you my opinion on it as well. [6] His greatest injustice is presupposing an injustice on your part in the affair with Unger and the existence of such ill feeling, as he does right in the first letter — that, of course, will invariably generate ill feeling. [7] I must testify here that I never became aware of any ill feeling at all in you, and even now sense only a very specific one toward Tiek, one, moreover, that seems rather arbitrary for you. —

You really should not have quarreled with him regarding Fortunatus, nor do you otherwise do so with respect to your own poems — as little as do I with respect to my own judgment, which given Tiek’s view does indeed come off quite badly, since I have not concealed my unqualified approval. —

Tiek does acknowledge Leonardo, [8] and before the portrait of the Milanese Duke he, too, could doubtless not but be affected by those fervent tones just as by these brushstrokes brought up from the depths and into the light. [9] I cannot prophesy the same for Fortunatus, nor even guarantee that I might not find it weaker later than I did at the beginning, where I was more taken by the roses than by the sense of dread. Tiek took the opposite as his point of departure, indeed it seems you yourself prompted him to do so.

But are not quarrels and reasoning often as useless as good or bad reviews? Sooner or later, everything finds its proper place in the disposition of the world and in the disposition of the individual. —

Only after a great deal of time has passed do I attach any importance to my own judgment, which is why I am so |196| hesitant to render a quick account, and for now, too, you must allow me to keep everything you sent within my own, doubtless devout heart without having to talk about it. We will divert ourselves with it in person.

Appealing to the approval of others could have been of absolutely no value to Tiek — there are some things in his answer I do not understand. It almost seems to me he suspects you and his sister of admiring each other with a bit too much forbearance. [10]

The only thing I would like to ask along with him is just how Friedrich comes into it. — Did Friedrich perhaps also reject Fortunatus?

Be that as it may, I, too, am quite certain that nothing external ever influences Friedrich’s judgment concerning works of art. In that regard, he is the most independent of all of you and is utterly without caprice, of which Tiek himself is not entirely free. No one would be more sorry than I were you to become prejudiced against Friedrich from this perspective, for you yourself are doing it, not someone else.

And in a general sense, my dear Wilhelm, my good Wilhelm, grant Friedrich full play in everything and in whatever may be in the works, about which I myself admittedly have heard not a single word. With even the slightest interference, you would make everything worse.

You would be dealing falsely with yourself and giving the appearance of vacillation by suddenly seeming to go over to the other side and taking a position against someone to whom you yourself have belonged only too intensely and about whom you have thought differently for only an extremely short time now, though I myself know not why — there really should have been no need for any facta [11] to find her behavior and personality repugnant and base. Everything you are contemplating doing now would merely weaken your own friends’ faith in you. Just remain completely calm. —

I think it highly unlikely there will be any |197| catastrophe — tell me what you know, whether perhaps then I myself can hope in it. Hope — for I am loath to give Friedrich up for good, and yet I must if he persists in this union, since within it he will become capable of every conceivable shameless act. [12]

What is going on with this d’Alton? I am simply unable to figure it out. [13] A scene from Lucinde? Does she play with the locks of hair of her Guido while lying at the breast of her Julius? [14] — or with his money purse? [15] Please do enlighten me if you have not already.

I do not speak with anyone about Madam Veit and thus hardly hear any general talk even by accident. The way you express yourself leads me to suspect something more than suspicion. I did hear yesterday that Philipp apparently broke out with a proper case of elephantiasis, which has always lurked beneath his skin. [16] She showed him to the physician Schwapet [?] from Bamberg, who related it to Carl Schelling. [17] But he is still walking around with it and will presumably be going to the baths any day now with his mother and Paulus. [18]

I finally received a letter from Marcus full of his earlier friendship — he intends to secure a copy of the Franconian Lustgarten, and I am hoping to receive it soon. Should I then still send it along? [19] You recently wrote that you absolutely did not want to remain in Berlin past the end of July, but it is unfortunately true, my good friend, you have lost an increasingly larger measure of your customary stolid reliability — and I am unable to give a firm answer to anyone who asks when you will be coming.

You will say: “What a nice welcome for me: I send her the files and all she can do is extract all the texts out of them so she can arraign, try, and convict me.”

And so it is. Do you think you alone are permitted to be the judge of your friends? Yes, I have indeed taken that particular question out of the letter — Why indeed do you occasionally mistreat your friends thus, going at them so hard, |198| showing them absolutely no mercy, dealing with them so brusquely as if summoned by God himself?

It seems I were by God chosen
To compel the slothful and dreamers. [20]

All concede that you are the enterprising one, the one who is always perspicacious and watchful. You do with it what you can — and they, too, do what they can. Nor am I asserting there is not something sinful in Friedrich’s contemplative idleness, [21] a preponderance of the sensuous impulse, to view every nerve-wracking dissipation as the same — or that Tiek is not a bit too boastful when he talks about plans for six works at once — but they both do already have something behind them, and trying to prod them only has the opposite effect externally and, if habitual, becomes disadvantageous internally. —

Believe me, dearest friend, at times you have the capacity to come across quite harshly with people, and have also come down hard on me long before I provoked any more passionate reason in you to do so. [22] There is no other way, one must simply accept it as part of you and pass over it as a postulate of sorts, or else become rebellious. I am declaring this in the name of all those who have ever been, are, or will be your friends, for I myself would prefer nothing more than that all of them might gather around you with appreciation and affection. And you can certainly hear what I have to say in this regard, for I myself am no longer of this world, not even, as it were, as your wife whom you are loath to have interrupt and tell you such things.


If the Allmanach can do without the “spiritual hymns” of Novalis, it does also seem to me they would be best saved for a later opportunity, when one could use them in putting together a more comprehensive memorial for him. Do all of you not want to have Ofterdingen published along with everything else you have from him? [23]


|199| I simply cannot yet get hold of Eunomia or Die Elegante Zeitung even though I have dispatched all my scouts in search of them. I would be particularly interested in the former. [24] You know, Schadow is really quite good at washing away his transgressions with sweet wine. [25] If only all who rebel would send a bucket of wine down to the cellar that all of you might drink in new powers in your opposition quite without allegory. —

Well, I am curious to see how Bury draws you. Surely he will not make you out to be a tyrant the way he did Goethe, who holds tight to both armrests. It may already be finished now. [26]

The Humboldts are supposed to be arriving in Erfurt on August 1. Perhaps Tiek will come with them; Wiedemann has still not reported anything about him. [27]

Knebel spent a week here with his spouse, indeed with the intention of settling here and even of buying property. I did not see him; he doubtless knew you were not here. You would probably find him to be a not entirely unpleasant fellow resident in this crazy town. [28]

Reinhold’s Beiträge were reviewed in the Erlanger Zeitung, and quite skillfully, Schelling thinks: by Schad. Hardly anyone else would have penetrated as deeply. They are a bit more successful in the philosophical discipline than in the aesthetic one. [29]

I am quite looking forward to your review of the Romantische Dichtungen; you will express your opinion without any reserve prompted by friendship, and in part concerning a dramatic subject. Not as if such had not already been the case, it just seems to me it will now take place with new energy. [30]

the 20th

I just received a long letter from your mother in which she related the story of Ernst’s marriage, her infinite satisfaction with it, and how the Karl Schlegels, who |200| had a different match to suggest, and who agreed with Moritz, embittered her somewhat, and how she has been a bit sick. [31]

I do believe that your mother has recruited quite successfully this time and that this girl will do an adequate and indeed superfluous job of making Ernst happy. The other girl had nothing and was only 19 years old, whereas this one is 27 and has at least 8000 rh.

Mother would also like for you to travel by way of Dresden that you might see Charlotte yourself. —

Madam Rehberg became completely blind in one eye without being able to have an operation. She is not allowed to do anything now or even to read anything, just to fegetate, as your mother naively writes, [32] fearing that her understanding might also soon simply fegetate away. I intend to write your dear mother again soon and tell her everything I know and do not know. — Should you happen to answer Moritz, tell him they acted wrongly.

There is still no sign of any missive from Fichte, though I am unspeakably curious to read it. [33]

Give my regards to Madam Bernhardi in her childbed. [34] It is a grace indeed that Malchen does not give birth that often.

If you cannot speak with Hufeland personally, then dismiss the matter with him in writing, and as coldly as you like, since I am becoming increasingly convinced that he prolonged my illness to this degree not so much out of stupidity as out of a lack of conscience. This illness was kept going quite artificially, and I do not know why its victim should conceal that fact. [35]

Röschlaub has written an extremely competent book, a nosology, [36] and in the most recent issue of his journal also came to terms quite well with Kotzebue. [37] Has the latter not yet passed through Berlin? [38]

Every week Loder pays me a gallant morning visit.

I have written out everything you are to bring with you [39] — if you are so inclined, and take care, since — now that Unzeline |201| is gone and Madam Bernhardi is in bed — you have no one to order the various items. Perhaps Madam Meyer?

Has Unzeline indeed left? [40] I believe Tiek is in fact also alluding to her. [41] My dearest friend, turn to no one, but do take care to deal indulgently with everyone. At the end of your letter you mentioned that yet again you have once more quarreled with Tiek. Go ahead and send me everything if I have perhaps not scared you off too badly. I will offer no further commentary; I spoke my mind as the loyal friend I will always be and remain.

For eternity, amen.

But do tell me about d’Alton.

Schelling is working a great deal and is becoming increasingly one with his philosophy.

Everyone sends regards.


Here an economical by-waggon to be read whenever you have time, [42] one I will begin by letting you know that I have learned to compose hexameters, namely, formal hexameters. Just please do not become angry and say that I could never have learned it from you, as you are wont to do — you silly friend, why did you never really begin properly with it? [43]

Schelling sat me down and illustrated it for me on paper with – and , and now I understand it. Now if all the thoughts, images, lilt, and form would but fuse into one, then I could write poetry. But everything is just lying there unrelated on the plate like one of Madam Tieck’s herring salads. — Enclosed is a sample of the formal elements. [44]

Because you recently scared me to death by presupposing I could yet pay the Niethammers out of my own resources, [45] I am sending you this excerpt from my bookkeeping, which I entreat you to read quite carefully. [46]

|202| As far as the household expenses are concerned, I ended up spending a bit more than 3–4 rh. per week, first because Luise did not contribute anything for two weeks, and then because I had an extra person to feed who had an extremely healthy appetite. Were you here, we would probably need only very little more. Schelling pays equally with Luise and me. Including all the wine, as you can see. One cannot really ask more from Luise than just what is necessary.

I went over to Weimar once and recently also to Burgau without Schelling, so I have to pay for that entirely myself. [47] We have, by the way, often gone out by carriage thanks to Schelling’s arrangements and gallantry. And in general, everything here is expensive. And in the larger sense, I do not believe I have spent a single pfennig carelessly, and the household utensils especially have constituted our most extreme needs. [47a]

So, my dear, what remains outstanding is almost 50 rh. to the Niethammers and just as much to Schirmer. To the latter, however, I immediately pay everything I need down to the last pfennig. [48]

Have you changed much? At the least, do not worry that I no longer have much money; I can get enough, nor is there any need to send any no matter how long you might stay away. As far as the Niethammers are concerned, rest assured they have no need of it; who on earth gave you such a false report about them? Hufeland is in a position to know quite precisely. She inherited 12,000 in cash and the estate at Wenigenjena. —

You can draw Philipp’s assignation for yourself. For 4 louis d’or he sent me calico for covers, since mine were rags au pire de la lettre. [49] Several louis d’or then remain to make a full 100 rh.

Let me entreat you not to become anxious, and to think only of your remaining acts. [50]

One more remark — because we are now regularly eating |203| in the evening for health reasons, the expense for sugar and tea has been considerably reduced.

One thing only do I proclaim to you,
And that shall you treasure in your heart. [51]

Our lease expires at Easter, so please permit me also to cancel it then. I think you will accept my reasons if I can explain them to you in person; [52] writing them all out is too circumstantial. I think you might also give a bit of consideration to my disinclination as well as to the current inflation, and to the fact that quite a bit of space is simply going unused now. I wish I could have made the change this past spring. It is, moreover, quite possible that the Niethammers themselves might cancel the lease because they intend to move in.

Adieu, adieu, my dear.


[*] An excerpt from this letter (four sentences beginning after “Everyone sends regards”) was translated by Lisa C. Roetzel in Theory as Practice: A Critical Anthology of Early German Romantic Writings, ed. Jochen Schulte-Sasse (Minneapolis 1997), 448.

Part of Caroline’s discussion here involves the logistics of the content and editing of the Musen-Almanach für das Jahr 1802, which Wilhelm was supposed to be co-editing with Ludwig Tieck.

Wilhelm, however, ended up having to do the entire editorial work himself because Tieck had neglected his responsibilities “in the most abominable fashion,” as Wilhelm himself wrote to Tieck in a lengthy and indignant letter on 10 July 1801, the same day as Caroline’s most recent extant letter to him (letter 325).

Wilhelm’s letter is found in Briefe an Ludwig Tieck 3:258–65, here 262; Lohner 81–86, here 84, where he also discusses disagreements with Tieck concerning contributions by Friedrich von Hardenberg and Friedrich Schlegel, which Caroline similarly mentions.

In her letter to Wilhelm on 10 July 1801 (letter 325), Caroline has already discussed Wilhelm’s reaction to Tieck’s letter to Wilhelm in early June 1801 (letter 319a), which in its own turn was a response to Wilhelm’s letters to Tieck on 7 May 1801 (letter 313a) and 28 May 1801 (cited in note 4 of letter 313a). Back.

[1] Materials for the Musen-Almanach für das Jahr 1802, which was to be printed by Friedrich Frommann in Jena and published by Johann Friedrich Cotta in Tübingen. Back.

[2] Johann Diederich Gries had offered to proof the galleys; see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 10 July 1801 (letter 325), note 21. Back.

[3] An obscure sentence, though “he” seems to refer to Friedrich Frommann; the disagreement between the editors is that between Wilhelm and Ludwig Tieck mentioned above. Back.

[4] I.e., take a less direct route to Jena by way of Dresden. Wilhelm arrived in Jena on 11 August 1801 (Post Karte Durch ganz Deutschland, ed. J. Walch [Augsburg 1795]):



[5] Wilhelm’s present project was the anticipated five-act play Ion: ein Schauspiel (Hamburg 1803). Concerning Caroline’s initial reaction to the news that Wilhelm was composing the play, see her letter to him on 29 June 1801 (letter 323). Back.

[6] Presumably Tieck’s letter in early June 1801 (letter 319a), though Tieck and Wilhelm exchanged several in part contentious letters during the spring and summer of 1801. In her letter to Wilhelm on 27 July 1801 (letter 327), Caroline complains about Wilhelm having sent Tieck’s actual letter for her to read. Back.

[7] The reference is to the ongoing dispute with the Berlin publisher Friedrich Unger concerning the continuation of the edition of Shakespeare. See Wilhelm’s letter to Caroline on 18 April 1801 (letter 309) and supplementary appendix 309.1. Back.

[8] Wilhelm’s “Leonardo da Vinci. Romanze” (from 1799), published in Wilhelm’s Gedichte (Tübingen 1800), 138–42 (repr. Sämmtliche Werke 1:220–22). Back.

[9] Caroline seems here to mistake the Milanese Duke and patron of Leonardo Ludovico Sforza, who commissioned The Last Supper, with Francis I, the king of France, in whose country and under whose patronage Leonardo spent the final three years of his life.

Wilhelm’s romance “Leonardo” picks up on an apocryphal story in Giorgio Vasari’s Le Vite delle più eccellenti pittori, scultori, ed architettori (1550), according to which King Francis I was present at Leonardo’s death (Giorgia Vasari, Lives of Seventy of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors and Architects, ed. E. H. and E. W. Blashfield and A. A. Hopkins, vol. 2 [New York 1911], 402–3):

There was perpetual discord between Michelangelo and Leonardo, and the competition between them caused Michelangolo to leave Florence, the Duke Giuliano framing an excuse for him, the pretext for his departure being that he was summoned to Rome by the Pope for the Façade of San Lorenzo.

When Leonardo heard of this, he also departed and went to France, where the king [Francis I], already possessing several of his works, was most kindly disposed towards him, and wished him to paint the cartoon of Sant’ Anna, but Leonardo, according to his custom, kept the king a long time waiting with nothing better than words.

Finally, having become old, he lay sick for many months, and, finding himself near death, wrought diligently to make himself acquainted with the Catholic ritual, and with the good and holy path of the Christian religion: he then confessed with great penitence and many tears, and although he could not support himself on his feet, yet, being sustained in the arms of his servants and friends, he devoutly received the Holy Sacrament, while thus out of his bed.

The king, who was accustomed frequently and affectionately to visit him, came immediately afterwards to his room, and he, causing himself out of reverence to be raised up, sat in his bed describing his malady and the different circumstances connected with it, lamenting, besides, that he had offended God and man, inasmuch as that he had not laboured in art as he ought to have done.

He was then seized with a violent paroxysm, the forerunner of death, when the king, rising and supporting his head to give him such assistance and do him such favour as he could, in the hope of alleviating his sufferings, the spirit of Leonardo, which was most divine, conscious that he could attain to no greater honour, departed in the arms of the monarch, being at that time in the seventy-fifth year of his age.

Here a rendering of the scene by François-Guillaume Ménageot, The Death of Leonardo da Vinci in the Arms of Francis 1 (Library of Congress, Science Photo Library):


In its initial stanzas, Wilhelm’s romance “Leonardo” castigates the Florentines for having cast out its great men to be taken care of by foreign nations. After mentioning how Michelangelo, though certainly “a star that shines high and magnificently / in the heaven of art,” began to overshadow Leonardo, Wilhelm continues:

Sir Francis, the noble king,
Summoned the wisest of painters,
Gave him space to create as he wanted,
Ordering, moreover, that he be greatly honored.

Renewed vigor seemed to spur him on
The complete his plans;
Though soon he was heard to lament
His unfinished works:

"Behold, my life has reached its goal,
And with art hardly commenced,
Did kindly Fates
Spin my thread out long.

Yet though ideas do yet expand clarity
Far into undiscovered realms,
My hand does feel too weak
To finish even what is before me."

And against his will did he
Lie down on his bed;
Beautifully dignified in his sickly old age,
White of beard and quiet and gaunt.

And when the king heard of it,
He was filled with anxious dread,
For he viewed him as a jewel
For both his realm and heart.

Hastening as if to his father,
He enters the ill man's room.
Leonardo sees him coming
With eyes of fading gleam.

And he would raise himself up
To bless his young friend,
Whose arms, whose hands,
Lovingly meet and support him.

Serenely does his countenance yet smile,
Though already pale as that of the dead:
But half expired in his mouth
Is his greeting his final breath.

The king lingers long, silent,
To see whether he might not awaken. —
"Peace to this artistically gifted soul!
And may the earth lie lightly upon his body!

Neither wisdom nor virtue
Can thwart bitter fate.
What death interrupted, can ever
A kindred spiritual son bring to completion?

Hence: since this life goes on,
Let heroic endeavors ignite.
As a weighty axiom once taught me:
May I prove capable of that which I ought!"

Concerning this anecdote from Vasari, and concerning others’ assessments of Wilhelm’s two pieces (“Leonardo” and “Fortunatus”), see Caroline’s letter to Friedrich Ludwig Wilhelm Meyer on 6 December 1791 (letter 111), esp. note 15 there, and her letter to Wilhelm on 14 April 1801 (letter 307), esp. with note 16. Back.

[10] That such was in fact the case is attested by the correspondence between Wilhelm and Sophie Bernhardi, translated in this present collection, during Wilhelm’s stay in Jena between 11 August and 3 November 1801. Back.

[11] Latin, “deeds, exploits; events.” Back.

[12] The reference is to what Caroline considers the essentially unwholesome relationship between Friedrich and Dorothea, an opinion she has already voiced earlier; see her letter to Wilhelm on 10 July 1801 (letter 325), esp. with note 26 there. Back.

[13] See Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 6 July 1801 (letter 324) concerning Eduard D’Alton’s presence in Jena and earlier relationship with Dorothea. Back.

[14] In the dialogue section “Sehnsucht und Ruhe” in Friedrich’s Lucinde, the character Julius speaks about a fantasy (“Yearning and Peace,” Friedrich Schlegel’s Lucinde and the Fragments, trans. Peter Firchow [Minneapolis 1971], 127):

Julius. Oh, that the harsh light might be allowed to lift the veil which so concealed these flames, and that the play of the senses might cool and soothe my inflamed soul!

Lucinde. So too shall the eternally cold and earnest day of life in time destroy the warm night, when youth departs and I give you up as you once, in a more noble fashion, sacrificed your great love.

Julius. Oh, that I might show and make my friend known to you; and show her the wonder of my wonderful happiness.

Lucinde. You still love her and shall love her as eternally as you shall love me. That is the great wonder of your wonderful heart.

Julius. Not more wonderful than yours. I see you leaning against my breast, playing with the locks of your Guido’s hair – the two of us joined in brotherly union, and you girding our honored brows with eternal wreaths of joy.

Lucinde. Let them rest in darkness; don’t drag into the light the flowers of the heart’s secret depths.

Julius. Where can the wave of life sport with the wild one, whom sensitivity and a harsh destiny dragged brutally into the harsh world?

The “wild one” is Guido, who is otherwise unmentioned, though Friedrich elsewhere refers to Eduard d’Alton as such. Back.

[15] An allusion to Friedrich and Dorothea’s chronic financial problems. Back.

[16] See the supplementary appendix on the understanding of elephantiasis ca. 1800. Back.

[17] Shortly before the publication of the 1913 edition, Erich Schmidt, (1913), 2:623, identified the otherwise illegible name “Schwapet” on the basis of an entry in the Intelligenzblatt of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (1801) 157 (Saturday, 22 August 1801 [not 8 August as in ibid., 2:623, which was instead the day on which the event took place]) 1269, which reports that a certain, otherwise unidentified Thomas Schwarzot from Bamberg served as the respondent at Ludwig Friedrich Froriep’s habilitation in Jena:

On 31 July and 8 August, Herr Stephan August Winkelmann from Braunschweig and Herr Johann Heinrich Laur. Pansner [?] received the philosophical doctorate.

On 8 August, Herr Ludwig Friedrich Froriep, doctor of academic medicine and subdirector of the Ducal Obstetrics Institute, defended his dissertation, De methodo neonatis asphycticis succurrendii, that he might habilitate [lecture] as a private teacher; his respondent was Herr Thomas Schwarzot from Bamberg.

Froriep’s dissertation (27 pages in octavo format; Medicinisch-chirurgische Zeitung. Zehnter Ergänzungsband 1805–1810 [18 March 1807], 324, which similarly lists Thomas Schwarzot as respondent) is later described as dealing with the “familiar aids for stimulating the newborn.”

Significantly, perhaps, Thomas Schwarzot later published on subcutaneous nematodes. Back.

[18] To Bamberg and Bocklet. Back.

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

[20] Caroline parodies Gottfried August Bürger’s ballad “Die Kuh,” Bürgers Gedichte, vol. 2 (Vienna 1789), 150–54, whose penultimate stanza reads:

It seems I were by God chosen
To praise what is good and what is beautiful,
Hence do I sing in artless and simple verses
Of what is good and what is beautiful. Back.

[21] In his letter to Auguste on 28 April 1797 (letter 181d), Friedrich remarks that he is “particularly anticipating that you will have made great progress in idleness, something in which you already made such impressive progress here.” Concerning this concept, one Friedrich treats at length in Lucinde, see note 3 there. Back.

[22] Friedrich earlier alluded quite frankly to this particular “schoolmaster” aspect of Wilhelm’s personality. Dorothea Veit writes to Schleiermacher on ca. 28 April 1800 (letter 259k): “As Friedrich says, only three devils ever got into him [Wilhelm]: the schoolmaster, the professor, and the husband.” And in his own earlier letter to Caroline on 2 October 1795 (letter 157), Friedrich remarks: “The Grand Schoolmaster of the Universe could then take me in as his apprentice and teach me the art of writing properly and loving perfectly.”

See also note 8 to Dorothea’s letter above. Wilhelm unfortunately seems to have exhibited this side of his personality in connection with his later, ill-fated marriage to Sophie Paulus. Back.

[23] The Musen-Almanach für das Jahr 1802 included Friedrich von Hardenberg’s “Geistliche Lieder” (“Spritual hymns”), 189–204.

Regarding the two poems from Heinrich von Ofterdingen (the novel was eventually published as Heinrich von Ofterdingen. Ein nachgelassener Roman von Novalis [Berlin 1802]; the poems: “Bergmanns-Leben,” 160–61; “Lob des Weines,” 162–64), with which Tieck had frittered away so much time, a note in the Musen-Almanach (iv of the table of contents) remarks that the

poems are part of a still unpublished and unfortunately unfinished novel, Heinrich von Afterdingen [one could also read Afterdingen in Caroline’s letter, who, however, did not really have the novel in front of her and because in her handwriting, O often resembles A], which Tieck will be publishing from the manuscripts of our unforgettable friend, who was torn from us through an untimely death.

See also Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 27 April 1801 (letter 312), note 22. Back.

[24] Two periodicals had just commenced publication: Eunomia. Eine Zeitschrift des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts. Von einer Gesellschaft von Gelehrten, initially ed. Ignaz Aurelius Fessler und Johann Golttlieb Rhode 1 (1801), two volumes annually each with 6 issues (it ceased publication in 1805), an organ of the younger generation of late-Enlightenment Berlin that was in fact a continuation of the earlier Berlinisches Archiv der Zeit und ihres Geschmacks (1795–1800):


The Zeitung für die elegante Welt, ed. Karl Spazier, 1 (1801), continued until 1859 and initially set out to deal with both art and scholarly disciplines, with literature constituting but a single rubric among those of fashion, household concerns, architecture, the art of gardening, spa and social chronicles, travelogues, and the world of art; “initially”: for it soon became a polemical organ for the younger, Romantic generation against the likes of August von Kotzebue and Garlieb Merkel



[25] Eunomia 1 (1801) June, 487–519, contains an essay by Johann Gottfried Schadow and dated 17 May 1801, “Über einige, in den Propyläen abgedruckte Sätze, die Ausübung der Kunst in Berlin betreffend” (“On several statements published in the Propyläen [Goethe’s periodical] concerning the practice of art in Berlin”), which in a (according to Erich Schmidt, [1913], 2:624) quite respectable and objective fashion rejects Goethe’s archaizing complaints regarding the inclination toward “reality and utility” and Goethe’s assertion that the “prosaic spirit of the age” as such was especially evident in Berlin (see also, critical of Schadow, Herman Friedrich Grimm, “Goethe und der Bildhauer Gottfried Schadow,” Aus den letzten fünf Jahren. Fünfzehn Essays [Gütersloh 1890], 150–80, here 160–62). Back.

[26] Bury’s portrait of Wilhelm seems no longer to be extant. Although the Goethe portrait by Bury as described is also uncertain, see the one Bury did in 1800 (Gustav Könnecke, Bilderatlas zur Geschichte der deutschen Nationallitteratur, 2nd ed. [Marburg 1895], 291):


Wilhelm was inclined to needle Johann Gottfried Schadow because of the latter’s behavior toward Friedrich Tieck. Wilhelm later gives a negative assessment of the 1802 exhibition of busts in Berlin, maliciously (and mischievously) declaring that of August von Kotzebue to be Schadow’s best, and that of Goethe to be Tieck’s best. In the same essay he praises the Goethe-portraits of Friedrich Bury, both in Weimar.

Wilhelm’s essay appeared as “Ueber die berlinische Kunstausstellung von 1802,” Zeitung für die elegante Welt (1803) nos. 4–9 (Sämmtliche Werke 9:158–179, here 163–64). See supplementary appendix 326.1. Caroline alludes quite nicely here to Friedrich Bury’s oil painting of Goethe. Back.

[27] Concerning Friedrich Tieck’s anticipated engagement on behalf of a memorial for Auguste, see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 31 May 1801 (letter 319), note 4 with cross references; concerning the connection with Wilhelm von Humboldt, who returned from Paris during the summer of 1801, see Wilhelm’s letter to Ludwig Tieck on 14 September 1800 (letter 267e), note 3. Back.

[28] Karl Ludwig von Knebel eventually ended his withdrawal from the world in Ilmenau, which had resulted from his marriage to the singer Luise Rudorff, and moved to Jena, albeit not until 1805 (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]; photograph: early postcard: Ilmenau mit Kikelhahn; Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg):




[29] Johann Baptist Schad’s grand review of Karl Leonhard Reinhold’s Beiträge zur leichtern Übersicht des Zustandes der Filosofie im Anfang des 19ten Jahrhunderts (Hamburg 1801) in the Erlanger Litteratur Zeitung (1801) nos. 120–22; with reference to both Fichte and Schelling, Schad was intent on criticizing Reinhold’s Beiträge as well as Reinhold’s mentor Christoph Gottlieb Bardili.

Although Erich Schmidt, (1913), 2:624, remarks that Fichte considerably praised the review, he adduces instead Fichte’s praise for a review of pieces by Schelling in the same periodical. See Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 22 June 1801 (letter 322), note 20, and Schelling’s letter to Wilhelm on 3 July 1801 (letter 323a), note 6. Back.

[30] Wilhelm did not review Ludwig Tieck’s Romantische Dichtungen, 2 vols. (Jena 1799–1800), a collection culminating in the play Das Leben und Tod der heiligen Genoveva. Back.

[31] Concerning this recent marriage, see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 6 July 1801 (letter 324), with note 12 there. Back.

[32] According to Erich Schmidt, (1913), 2: 624, Mother Schlegel’s orthography was “frightful.” Back.

[33] The reference is to the lapsed correspondence between Schelling and Fichte and the attendant strained relationship; see the second paragraph to Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 29 June 1801 (letter 323) and esp. note 6 there. Back.

[34] Sophie Bernhardi had given birth to a son in Berlin during the first week of July 1801. Back.

[35] The reference is the otherwise obscure financial matter discussed earlier. See Caroline’s letters to Wilhelm on 7–12 June 1801 (letter 320) and 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. Back.

[36] Andreas Röschlaub, Lehrbuch der Nosologie. Zu seinen Vorlesungen entworfen (Bamberg 1801). Back.

[37] Magazin zur Vervollkommnung der theoretischen und praktischen Heilkunde, then as Magazin zur Vervollkommnung der Medizin, ed. Andreas Röschlaub, vols. 1–10 (1799–1809), the most important organ of the German tradition in medicine of the philosophy of nature at the time.

Volume 4 in 1800 was dedicated to Schelling; volume 6 presented a vehement battle contra Justus Christian Loder (in which context see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 26–27 March 1801 [letter 303], note 23).

A review of the first six volumes of Röschlaub’s journal was published over several issues of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (1802) nos. 32 (Monday, 1 February 1802) 249–56; 33 (Tuesday, 2 February 1802) 257–64; 34 (Wednesday, 3 February 1802) 265–72; 35 (Wednesday, 3 February 1802) 273–80; see with respect to the dispute with Loder no. 35 (Wednesday, 3 February 1802) 279–80:

Miscellanea. What has medicine as an art gained through Loder’s journal?

According to Herr Röschlaub, the medicinal arts involve a construction of the healing process according to Röschlaubian principles, something of which, thank God, Herr Loder has managed to keep his own excellent journal free, quite to the delight of all reasonable practical physicians and surgeons. Herr Röschlaub goes to the trouble to proceed through each of the articles in order to show that they contain nothing of such construction and hence are of no value at all for him.

To demonstrate the dissimilarity between his own journal and Loder’s, he would have been equally justified in asking what the art of scolding and quarreling gained through Loder’s journal.

The lengths to which Herr Röschlaub is prepared to go in this respect can be seen best from the manner in which he brushes aside an excellent assessment of Professor Roose concerning a suspected infanticide. Where death is present, he says, there can be no illness, and thus no talk of any construction of healing processes. Accordingly, this particular essay in fact does not even involve an issue by which medicine might be considered as an art (!)!! Two essays contra Hufeland’s journal now follow.

In her letter here, however, Caroline is referring to Röschlaub’s coarse response in the Miszellaneen of his journal, Magazin zur Vervollkommnung der theoretischen und praktischen Heilkunde (1801) no. 6, 435–42 and 443–54, in response to a lengthy accusatory polemical essay by August von Kotzebue, composed in May 1801, “Enthüllung einer völlig erdichteten Krankengeschichte zum Behuf des Brownschen Systems, in Röschlaubs Magazin zur Vervollkommnung der Heilkunde,” in Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland’s Journal der practischen Arzneykunde und Wundarzneykunst 12 (1801) no. 2, 149–69.

In the Intelligenzblatt of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (1801), the Hannoverian physician Lebrecht Friedrich Benjamin Lentin points out to the “Brownian Marat” Röschlaub that August von Kotzebue was essentially declaring him to be a forger of fictitious case histories. See supplementary appendix 326.2 for and overview and pertinent texts. Back.

[38] Kotzebue was on his way back to Germany from Russia (Elementarische Landkarte von Europa, 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 xl):



[39] Including gifts for Caroline’s housemates; see the penultimate paragraph in her letter to Wilhelm on 1–2 March 1801 (letter 293) with the accompanying note; on 20 April 1801 (letter 310), with note 23; and on 18 May 1801 (letter 317) with note 51. Back.

[40] Friederike Unzelmann departed Berlin on 24 July 1801 for Breslau, where she appeared in twelve performances before the end of August (see Wilhelm’s letter to Goethe on 14 August 1801 [letter 327c]). It was as yet by no means settled or even under serious discussion that she would come to Weimar in September for guest performances, though see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 11 May 1801 (letter 315), note 10 (Post Karte Durch ganz Deutschland, ed. J. Walch [Augsburg 1795]):



[41] Uncertain allusion. As mentioned earlier, Tieck and Wilhelm exchanged several letters during this period (spring, early summer 1801); in none of Tieck’s does an allusion to Friederike Unzelmann seem to appear. Caroline’s reference may be to an oral communication about which Wilhelm had told her. Back.

[42] That is, a separate sheet of paper. Judging from how it is folded, Erich Schmidt, (1913), 2:634, surmised that the separate quarter-sheet addendum beginning with “Here an economical by-waggon” is probably to be positioned here.

Concerning “by-waggon,” see 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) s.v. Beywagen (also the orthography Caroline uses here), here 1:389:

A By-Waggon to the ordinary Post Waggon or Stage-Coach, in Case this should not be able to take in all the Passengers and Packets. Back.

[43] The fundamental form of the hexameter is the following (Ivo Braak, Poetik in Stichworten, 6th ed. [Kiel 1980], 107):

/ / / / / /

Or, Caroline’s version: – etc.

German poetic theory generally understood it as 6 dactyls with the freedom to replace any of the 2 short syllables in the first 4 feet with a long syllable with the exception of the penultimate (5th) foot, the final syllable generally being a trochee.

See the initial lines of Goethe’s “Reineke Fuchs” (trans. J. Wolf, Reynard the Fox: After the German Version of Goethe [London 1853]):

Pfingsten, das liebliche Fest, war gekommen; es grünten und blühten

(“The pleasant feast of Whitsuntide was come; / The woods and hills were clad in vernal bloom”).

Caroline has mentioned hexameters in several letters to Wilhelm during the spring and summer of 1801; see esp. her letter to him on 15 May 1801 (letter 316). Back.

[44] Erich Schmidt, (1913), 6:624–25, notes that although the attached sample is missing, Caroline does offer a sample in the Homeric style of hexameter just before the final paragraph in the letter. Back.

[45] Rent to Friedrich Immanuel Niethammer for the apartment at Leutragasse 5. Erich Schmidt, (1913), 2:625, however, identifies this house as “the Eckardt house on the Kirchplatz (Ratsapotheke) in Jena” (Plan der Stadt Jena und ihrer nächsten Umgebung, 7th ed. [Jena 1922]):


This identification derives from Schelling’s letter to Hegel on 23 May 1802 (letter 360b), in which he gives instruction to Hegel regarding Caroline’s return from Berlin after a visit to Wilhelm during the spring of 1802. He identifies the owner of the house as “Eckard,” whom both Schmidt (who spells it “Eckhardt”) and Brigitte Rossbeck (who spells it “Eckard” following Schelling, Zum Trotz glücklich: Caroline Schlegel-Schelling und die romantische Lebenskunst [Munich 2008], 210), take to be the lawyer Johann Christian Eckhardt, who owned the house at Am Kreuz 4, to which Schmidt here refers.

Caroline, however, was still living at Leutragasse 5 at the time (summer 1801), and would not move until the spring of 1802, following her trip to Berlin, into a house on Lutherplatz owned by the tanner “Eckardt.” This confusion, which is addressed in detail by Peer Kösling, Die Frühromantiker in Jena, 32–34, is mentioned again later in connection with Caroline’s move and the pertinent letters around May 1802. Back.

[46] Apparently not extant; for a similar example of her household finances, however, see her letter to Wilhelm on 21 January 1802 (letter 342). Back.

[47] Caroline’s business in Weimar and Burgau is not known. Julie Gotter similarly mentions the visit in her letter to Luise Gotter on 29 June 1801 (letter 322b).

Burgau is situated just south of Jena (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 ca. 1780 by Christian Gotthilf Immanuel Oehme, Beym Gasthof zu Burgau [ca. 1780]; Sächsische Landesbibliothek – Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden):




[47a] Representative illustrations of such utensils ([1] Martin Engelbrecht; Augsburg, Städtische Kunstsammlung; [2] Anonymous, “Küche” [19th century]):




[48] An otherwise unidentified Jena merchant to whom, however, Friedrich and Dorothea continued to owe money and with whom they otherwise experienced aggravation. See Friedrich’s letter to Wilhelm on 20 or 21 December 1800 (letter 277a), note 8. His name occurs in numerous letters in Friedrich and Dorothea’s correspondence during this period (see the index of KFSA 25 s.v.). Back.

[49] Au pied [instead of pire?] de la lettre, Fr. “literally.” Back.

[50] Viz., in his anticipated play Ion mentioned earlier in the letter. Back.

[51] The sticky problem of hexameters, though this line does not follow the anticipated pattern in any case:

Eines verkünd’ ich Dir nur und Du bewahr es im Herzen.

Caroline has wrestled with the problem of hexameter earlier as well (see esp. her letter to Wilhelm on 15 May 1801 [letter 316], note 15). It seems Caroline is here practicing the sequence of dactyls with a concluding trochee. Back.

[52] The lease for the apartment at Leutragasse 5. Caroline did indeed end up moving in May 1802. Back.

Translation © 2015 Doug Stott