Letter 329g

329g. Friedrich Schlegel to Schleiermacher in Berlin: Jena, 21 September 1801 [*]

Jena, 21 September 1801

It is certainly good to see that you are finally at least somewhat satisfied with respect to the Karolinian controversy and now no longer think we are so completely in the wrong. For even if one must not really be angry that, out of fear of being unjust toward the evil principle, you often are overly kind toward evil (that simply being how you are, toward both yourself and others), such disapproval (which so easily arises through non-approval deriving from an excessive sense of fairness) does nonetheless suffice at a distance to create an element of alienation, and no longer merely in appearance. —

But I am almost too weary to write anything more about it. I would still write the letter to Charlotte even were it not already written. [1] That is all I can say about it now, though I do think that in person I could persuade you, too, that it was the right thing. [2] . . .


[*] Sources: Aus Schleiermacher’s Leben 3:292–93; KGA V/5 210–11; KFSA 25:292–93.

Friedrich is here responding to Schleiermacher’s answer (not preserved) to Friedrich’s undated letter to him written before mid-September 1801 (letter 328j), in which Friedrich discusses at length how he believes Caroline had influenced Schleiermacher negatively against both him and Dorothea Veit. Back.

[1] Charlotte Ernst had presumably heard Wilhelm Schlegel’s version of the quarrel and possibly also Caroline’s. Back.

[2] Friedrich’s conviction that Schleiermacher had correctly understood the quarrel with Caroline was short-lived. See his and Dorothea Veit’s lengthy letter to Schleiermacher on 25 September 1801 (letter 329h). Back.

Translation © 2015 Doug Stott