Letter 329r

• 329r. (was 329a) Schelling to Wilhelm Schlegel in Berlin: Jena, 9 November 1801 [*]

Jena, 9 November 1801

Today Caroline is again not feeling well, and has such a headache as to make it impossible for her to write. All the same, you are not to go without news as well as our greetings, though you will have to make do with my writing instead of hers.

You are probably already settled in Berlin, and are again, as we all hope and wish, feeling quite at home. Tieck worked on my portrait until yesterday evening. [1] Even up to the final moment, he himself was not entirely satisfied with it. A couple of well conceived changes, however, managed to transfer it from a condition of infelicity to one of proportional felicity, replacing the element of unfamiliarity with a most striking resemblance. He returned to Weimar today.

Since your departure, Goethe has remained here until today. I spent yesterday evening with him, and he was in quite a jesting mood. [2] Among other things, he said, “The Schlegelian Almanach, as far as I can tell, is managing to creep in almost everywhere successfully despite the naughty names on its title page.” —

But there was too much blood and too many wounds in it for his own taste. Paganism simply runs too deeply in his blood. — He went to considerable effort with the Jungfrau von Orleans to avoid saying what he thought about it. — Among other things, he remarked that women found it quite pleasing because for once it was a virgin rather than a wh***. [3]

Only imagine, the River God will not be receiving any prize, which will instead be divided between Hoffmann and Nahl for Achilles on Skyros. [4] At least that is what we heard. He himself did not tell me. [5] He was also interested in abusing Schadow here, as he put it, on your behalf. [6] As far as I know, however, it never got that far. He highly praised Tieck’s portrait; Loder, who saw it there, was quite smitten by the astonishing resemblance. [7]

One rather comical incident of late was a souper that the newly arrived foreigners gave for all the professors. Goethe also attended. The old gentlemen, every last one of them, wept tears of gratitude and joy, whereas the others merely more or less revealed their inner baseness and bestiality. [8] And now this honor is to be reciprocated with a ball. —

Yesterday Julchen was also at a ball. She went and returned there with Madam Loder, and had a very entertaining time. [9] I hope you can make do today with these petty, simple bits of news and my hasty writing. Stay well. My warmest regards.

[Postscript from Caroline.]

|210| All these things might certainly have provided material enough for me to write you the most charming letter in the world. I would especially have enjoyed relating to you a great many more quite wicked jokes from Goethe, which Schelling in his own turn related to me; but it will just not happen today, since in addition to my headache there is yet another guest in the room who is bothering us a bit even though he is not making himself as insufferable as the headache.

It is one of Julchen’s cousins (though not Mr. Hof). [10] We spent the time in a wholly entertaining fashion with Tiek, who hardly ever left us. [11] Tomorrow week he is planning to depart along with Friedrich. But if the latter does not |211| stir, then neither should all of you count on the former. [12]

I honestly cannot hold the quill any longer and can think of nothing more than to send a thousand good wishes to you and as many greetings to your housemates. [13]

On Wednesday I will be receiving a letter, will I not? [14]


[*] Sources: Caroline’s postscript was originally letter 329a in Erich Schmidt, (1913), 210–11. Entire letter is found in Plitt 1:348–50, and in Briefe 2:1:384–85. Schelling’s letter without Caroline’s postscript is found in Fuhrmans 2:358–60.

From this point forward, the manuscripts for all of Caroline’s letters to Wilhelm Schlegel in the edition of Erich Schmidt, (1913), are housed in the Saxon State and University Library Dresden (Sächsische Landesbibliothek – Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden, SLUB).

Wilhelm, who had been in Jena since 11 August 1801, had returned to Berlin on 3 November 1801 (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):



[1] Friedrich Tieck had returned from Paris in August 1801 and had been in Weimar since early September 1801; neither Wilhelm Schlegel nor Schelling had ever met him before. He did the bust of Goethe in September 1801, and in November the portrait of Schelling. Back.

[2] Goethe had been in Jena since 31 October 1801. His diary notes that he met with Wilhelm and Friedrich Tieck on 1 November, with Friedrich Schlegel on 6 November (apparently at the art exhibition that morning), and with Schelling the evening of 8 November 1801. It also notes, however, that Goethe himself departed Jena on the afternoon of 10 November, not 9 November (Weimarer Ausgabe 3:3:39–41). Schelling may have dated his own letter incorrectly (Post Karte Durch ganz Deutschland, ed. J. Walch [Augsburg 1795]):



[3] Schiller had finished his play Die Jungfrau von Orleans. Eine romantische Tragödie (Berlin: Unger, 1801) in May 1801, and it premiered in Leipzig on 11 September 1801.

Caroline derides it frequently (to Wilhelm on 7 May 1801 (letter 314); 23 November 1801 (letter 331); 3 December 1801 (letter 334). See esp., however, supplementary appendix 329p.1, also Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 11 May 1801 (letter 315). Back.

[4] Both Plitt and Fuhrmans read Stahl rather than Nahl. Back.

[5] The reference is to the annual, thematically focused competition for painters held by the Weimar Friends of the Arts. Joseph Hoffmann (Cologne) and Johann August Nahl (Kassel) had already won in 1800 as well. Friedrich Tieck was also entered in the 1801 competition. See esp. Caroline’s letters to Wilhelm on 16 November (letter 330) and 23 November 1801 (letter 331), and supplementary appendix 330.1. Back.

[6] Concerning the relationship between Wilhelm and Johann Gottfried Schadow in Berlin, see supplementary appendix 326.1. Back.

[7] Concerning Friedrich Tieck’s bust of Goethe, see similarly supplementary appendix 326.1. Back.

[8] The “newly arrived foreigners” were students from Livonia and Courland (see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 16 November 1801 [letter 330]). Back.

[9] Julie Gotter had been staying with Caroline in Jena since the spring. She mentions her attendance at this ball in her letter to her mother, Luise Gotter, on 10 November 1801 (letter 329u). Back.

[10] Presumably a reference to Carl Ernst Adolph Hoff from Gotha, strictly speaking the cousin of Julie’s mother, Luise Gotter rather than of Julie herself. The cousin is instead Karl (otherwise unidentified), whom Julie herself mentions in her letter home to her mother on 10 November 1801 (letter 329u). Back.

[11] Friedrich Schlegel similarly remarks in his letter to Ludwig Tieck on 5 November 1801 (letter 329q) that Friedrich Tieck “has been in Weimar for a while, and now and then also here, where I have seen him a few times, though not much, since he is lodging with Wilhelm and is kept tightly tethered there.” The implication is that Friedrich Tieck was consciously being kept him away from Friedrich by having him lodge at Leutragasse 5. Back.

[12] “All of you”: August Ferdinand and Sophie Bernhardi, with whom Wilhelm was living. Friedrich Schlegel and Friedrich Tieck departed together for Berlin on 29 November 1801, where they arrived on 2 December (KFSA 25:631). Back.

[13] Wilhelm was again residing with the Bernhardis in Berlin. Here an undated drawing of their house at Oberwasserstrasse/Jungfernbrücke 10 on the right just past the bridge (Jungfernbrücke von Norden; Landesgeschichtliche Vereinigung für die Mark Brandenburg e.V., Archiv Berlin-Mitte):


See especially the supplementary appendix on Wilhelm’s residences in Berlin 1801–4. Back.

[14] I.e., on Wednesday, 11 November 1801. Back.

Translation © 2015 Doug Stott