Letter 329i

329i. Sophie Bernhardi to Wilhelm Schlegel in Jena: Berlin, late September 1801 [*]

[Berlin, late September 1801]

My dear friend,

Bernhardi thought I might suggest to you that we also put an announcement in the newspapers indicating where one can secure entry tickets to your lectures. [1] I simply cannot comprehend the Berliners’ simple-mindedness, for it is written on all the announcements that Schütze is distributing them, and yet everyone is complaining that although they do indeed want to attend the collegium, they do not know who to turn to in this regard. [2]

No one is doubting that you will attract enough attendees, it is just that people are so silly that since there is still so much time, they do not yet want to pay, so to protect you we have arranged to start a list in which everyone has to register who intends to participate, and I will send you this list next time.

Bernhardi was unable to get the essay by Tempelhof. [3]

Has my brother not yet written and sent you my poem? [4]

Please forgive this extremely brief letter; I am quite in haste. I hope you are still as healthy and happy as you recently wrote. I cannot say the same for myself; on the contrary, despite all the fortifying remedies I am becoming weaker by the day. [5] That notwithstanding, I am hoping to send you the comedy soon. [6]

I very much hope your wife will get better and might decide to accompany you to Berlin. [7] Stay very well and give us the pleasure of seeing you in Berlin soon.

S.[ophie] B[ernhardi]


[*] Source: Krisenjahre 1:24. — In this letter, Sophie uses Sie, the formal form of address. Concerning the use of Sie and du, the informal form, in her correspondence with Wilhelm, see the editorial note to Wilhelm’s letter to her on 14 August 1801 (letter 327a). Back.

[1] An announcement was indeed placed in the Neue allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek 63 (1801) no. 2, issue 6, 472; for the text, see Wilhelm’s letter to Sophie on 21 August 1801 (letter 327f), note 18. Concerning the entry tickets, see note 19 there. Back.

[2] Collegium, Latin: “lecture series.” Back.

[3] Wilhelm’s (now lost) double letter of 7 September 1801 (see Wilhelm’s letter to Sophie on 4 September 1801 [letter 328f], note 16, and on 18 September 1801 [letter 329e], note 29) must have contained such a request. It is uncertain which essay by the Prussian military writer Georg Friedrich von Tempelhoff is meant. Back.

[4] Presumably “Lebenslauf,” which appeared in August Ferdinand Bernhardi’s quarterly Kynosarges (Berlin 1802) 17. See Sophie’s letter to Wilhelm on ca. 10 September 1801 (letter 328h), note 15. Back.

[5] Frey, Babioles Lithographiques (ca. 1850); Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Graph. C: 319c:


Concerning fortifying agents in the Brunonian method, see Wilhelm’s letter to Sophie on 21 August 1801 (letter 327f), note 12 with additional cross references. Back.

[6] The comedy of intrigue Wilhelm was hoping to enter in Goethe’s competition. See Wilhelm’s letter to Sophie on 14 August 1801 (letter 327a), note 16, and Sophie’s letter to Wilhelm on ca. 28 August 1801 (328c), note 6. Wilhelm will address the issue yet again in his (first) letter of 3 October 1801 (letter 329k). Back.

[7] In his (second) letter to Sophie on 4 September 1801 (letter 328f), Wilhelm remarks that “since things do stand thus, I really ought not too forcefully try to persuade her [Caroline] to accompany me back to Berlin. Moreover, as I now see, she genuinely is too weak for such just now.” See also note 6 there. Back.

Translation © 2015 Doug Stott