Letter 329j

329j. Sophie Bernhardi to Wilhelm Schlegel in Jena: Berlin, ca. 30 September 1801 [*]

[Berlin, ca. 30 September 1801]

Dear friend, I intended to write sooner but have not been well for some time now, nor am I yet, and am, moreover, also quite anxious because my little Wilhelm is very sick with his eyeteeth, and so please excuse me if I only very briefly relate what you need to know.

Gratenauer has answered you, and I am enclosing the letter. [1] Your lectures will certainly come to fruition, I will send you the list as soon as I can; although Madam von Berg is very interested in them herself, she believes you will not be able to begin until the middle of November because it is not until then that many people return to the city from the countryside. [2]

As far as your accommodations are concerned, we can discuss in person how to arrange things. You can, of course, stay with us at first or with Schütz and then see how things develop. [3] There is a very elegant hall on Leipzigerstrasse, and that is also a very nice section of town. [4] I will send the brandy on Tuesday; I have not yet been able because I could not get it any earlier. [5]

Since you will be returning here so soon, to which I am really looking forward, [6] I will wait until then to show you the poem about which I wrote and which I had sent to my brother. It did not find his approval, and he has suggested a different way to use it, so let me ask that you take no further notice of it. [7]

Will my other brother not yet be coming? [8] All my brothers treat me so ill. That you do not write I can easily enough explain, since you are seeing Madam Unzelmann. [9]

Eventually there will be even more than 60 attendees, but even that would be enough. [10] Stay well, do whatever you like with Bernhardi’s poem. [11]

I cannot write anything more today, my heart is so anxious, if only my poor child does not die. The little old man is now finally starting to have more of a youthful appearance, which pleases me greatly, since now you may no longer make such fun of him. [12]

Write soon and come soon; that is my final request. Adieu

S[ophie] Tieck [13]


[*] Source: Krisenjahre 1:25. — Sophie is responding here to Wilhelm’s letter of 18 September 1801 (letter 329e), though it crossed his next (first) letter of 3 October 1801 (letter 329k).

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] Grattenauer was Wilhelm’s attorney in his suit against Friedrich Unger (see supplementary appendix 309.1); the letter Sophie mentions here has not been preserved. Back.

[2] The reference is to a list of committed attendees for Wilhelm’s lectures; Sophie mentions the list in her letter of late September 1801 (letter 329i).

In his letter to Sophie on 24 August 1801 (letter 327f),Wilhelm mentioned he would be sending her printed announcements for, among others, Caroline von Berg, along with the request that she recruit attendees from among their acquaintances (see Wilhelm’s letter to Sophie on 21 August 1801 (letter 327f). He similarly mentions the “dozen of the printed announcements” for Caroline von Berg in his letter to Sophie on 24 August 1801 (letter 328).

In any event, Wilhelm did not commence the lectures until 1 December 1801 (see Caroline’s letter to Luise Gotter in late November 1801 [letter 333]). Back.

[3] Wilhelm ended up residing with the Bernhardis at Oberwasserstrasse 10, as he did during the summer before returning to Jena. See the supplementary appendix on Wilhelm’s residences in Berlin. Back.

[4] Caroline von Berg lived on Leipzigerstrasse at the Potsdam Gate in Berlin (Krisenjahre 3:25; Körner, [1930], 2:81; here the location in an excerpt from G. D. Reymann, Neuester Grundriss von Berlin [1810]; the location of the Bernhardi residence at Oberwasserstrasse 10 at right):


The first series of lectures (1801–2) were held in the hall of a certain Herr Bölke on Französische Strasse no. 43 in Berlin (see Wilhelm’s letter to Sophie on 18 September 1801 [letter 329e], note 21). Back.

[5] In his letter to Sophie on 4 September 1801 (letter 328e), Wilhelm had requested three types of brandy. Sophie queried him further about this order in her letter to him on ca. 10 September 1801 (328h); see esp. (also concerning her Berlin source for filling the order) notes 1 and 2 there. Back.

[6] Wilhelm did not depart on his return trip to Berlin until 3 November 1801 (on 2 November 1801, he writes from Jena to Ludwig Tieck in Dresden [Lohner 95] that he would be “departing for Berlin tomorrow”). Back.

[7] Presumably “Lebenslauf,” which appeared in August Ferdinand Bernhardi’s quarterly Kynosarges (Berlin 1802), 17, and is mentioned in several letters during this period. See Sophie’s letter to Wilhelm on ca. 10 September 1801 (letter 328h), note 15. Back.

[8] Friedrich Tieck did not return to Berlin until 2 December 1801, accompanied by Friedrich Schlegel. Friedrich remained until 17 January 1802 (Aus Schleiermacher’s Leben3:288n*), Friedrich Tieck until 12 June 1802 (Edmund Hildebrandt, Friedrich Tieck: Ein Beitrag zur deutschen Kunstgeschichte im Zeitalter Goethes und der Romantik [Leipzig 1906], 33).

See Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm, who himself had since returned to Berlin, on 23 November 1801 (letter 331), in which she mentions their return there as well (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):



[9] Friederike Unzelmann gave guest performances in Weimar between 21 September and 1 October 1801.

Concerning the background to Friederike Unzelmann’s guest performances in Weimar, see Wilhelm’s letters to Goethe on 14 August 1801 (letter 327c), and to Friederike Unzelmann herself on 7 September 1801 ( letter 328g).

For her performance schedule during this visit, see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 11 May 1801 (letter 315), note 10.

See also Caroline’s letter to Luise Gotter in September 1801 (letter 329). Back.

[10] In his letter to Sophie on 18 September 1801 (letter 329e), Wilhelm had written that if by the middle of October he had forty subscribers for his lectures, he would begin making plans to return to Berlin. Back.

[11] The reference is to August Ferdinand Bernhardi’s poem “Der Traum,” discussed in several earlier letters (see Wilhelm’s letter to Sophie on 4 September 1801 [letter 328e], note 9).

On 18 September 1801 (letter 329e), Wilhelm had queried Sophie concerning whether Bernhardi wanted his own name put under the poem, a ficitious name, or a cipher in the Musen-Almanach für das Jahr 1802; the poem ended up with the initial “B” (p. 272). Back.

[12] Although Sophie’s first child, Wilhelm, did recover from his teething problems, her second, Ludwig (the “little old man”), did not. On 28 February 1802, it died allegedly while teething (see Wilhelm to Ludwig Tieck on 1 March 1802 [letter 349a]) (illustrations in order: Nehm er ihm hin der uns ihn gab [1790]; Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum; Museums./Signatur DBerger WB 3.4; Totes Kind [1774–75]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Chodowiecki Sammlung [1-56]):




[13] For the first time, Sophie signs her letter using her maiden name, a small but significant gesture (Digitale Edition der Korrespondenz August Wilhelm Schlegels):



Translation © 2015 Doug Stott