Letter 334

• 334. Caroline to Wilhelm Schlegel in Berlin: Jena, 3 December 1801

[Jena] Thursday, 3 December [1801]

|223| My dear friend, let me in all haste try to post this time with the Leipzig coach to see whether it might perhaps arrive earlier, |224| since the other mail seems to be terribly slow these days. Although I really have neither the time, quills, nor, until a few moments ago, even paper, my enormous gratitude has overcome all these obstacles. My dearest, dearest Schlegel, you did not forget me! You sent everything, and selected such a clever occasion for it all! [1]

Ah, but how ashamed I am for having entreated you in my last letter with such half-ill humor. But I was in an ill humor, and you must forgive me, even if the letter as a whole did not particularly cheer you. There were just so many things that came at me at once.

But they have all long departed again. I did not, moreover, have need of your mareschino, for I received it only today. Schelling is about to lose his mind in heartfelt gratitude; the Breslauer already got rid of his headache this morning. [2]

Catel just left here. He came this morning and put up with our company and such, for which he had to tell us about the Maid and also about you. [3] He claims to have heard that you allegedly helped the maid herself learn the role (truth be told, she would have needed lessons in virginity as well as fencing). [4] If the Diminutive One finds out about that, will she not be bitterly angry? [5] despite her diminutive size? I recently read A Midsummer-Night’s Dream and tried to imagine how terrific it would be were the two of them to perform the roles of Hermia and Helena in the same performance. [6]

The picture of Iffland royally diverted us. Everyone recognized it immediately even without the signature. Schelling sent it to Goethe, and the other has been ordered as well. I just gave the Shakespeare copies to Catel to take with him. What is good about the little picture is that it is not a distorted image, and that Iffland’s hunched back is raised up only a very little bit. [7]

|225| I greatly enjoyed your last letter and am quite anxious to get the next one. Catel maintains that you succeeded far beyond his expectations with getting your lectures going [8] — and regrets only that because it has indeed been so successful, it is a shame you did not ask 4 Louis d’or, then you would have had the entire nobility there and perhaps even the queen herself. [9]

How very good of you that you intend to send money as well. Let us hope you will soon have everything together so that it not inconvenient you. In any event, here is Philipp’s letter and assignation to Hufeland. Thanks to you, the gid-sick sheep has written a letter to my brother that speaks about the sum he is “herewith” transferring over to him, though there is no money and none assigned. [10]

I am not, by the way, suffering from any serious lack with regard to daily needs, though I would admittedly like to receive 100 rth soon for some outstanding expenses and firewood. On the debt ledger I sent along to you, you can already strike off the wine, the cooper, and the Academic Bookseller, which is not listed there. By the grace of God, I was already able to take care of all this.

I have now taken care of all your errands except for sending your books to you, which I am still planning to do, since there and back it will doubtless cost at least a few Carolin. What Friedrich was able to bring along for you is but a trifle, and, I believe, taken care of in a rather disorganized fashion in any case, since Madam Veit did not really pack and send them until the other day, and several volume 2s have already been returned to me. [10a]

Now, however, Catel yet intends to bring at least a dozen books along with him in two weeks, for which I will be selecting what I believe to be the most necessary ones, or you yourself can let me know. But even then, more will remain behind than can fit in the previously mentioned suitcase. — But do at least let me know whether you have the Blätter von deutscher Art and the Propyläen with you there; [10b] I can find neither, and the latter are not even on the list in any case. It occurred to me that Tieck may have received them from you.

Well, all of you have now finally gotten Tiek, which greatly pleases me, since now, finally, all the distress has been alleviated [11] — except that concerning his shabby clothes. For it is quite true that he cannot allow himself to be seen in public and must immediately have an entirely new wardrobe. Only how can his sister get so down about it? How very touching and funny. [12]

Please do write and tell me how everything is going. Regarding the bust of Mademoiselle Arnsteiner, Catel believes it is sooner a piece of roguery perpetrated by the vain, tricky little Jewish princess than by Schadow. [13]

I hope you have not forgotten to pass along Schelling’s query to Fichte about an announcement regarding his eternal litany, namely, that those who at that time claimed they would follow him are in fact still here. [14]

Schelling’s Journal is already being printed. He will be sending it to you. [15]

I did not see Nathan. [16] The weather was good, I was well, but we just did not want to go; or waste 1 Carolin on it. Schelling made an unfortunate remark to me about it that dampened any interest I had, namely, about how it was just something to see, as it were, like Mahomet, and that one could get neither hot nor cold about it. [17]

They allegedly performed well, especially Graf and Vohss. I will probably end up seeing it. [18] Schelling asked Goethe to let us know something definite about Ion. [19] |226| The thing with the Grattenauer hall and logis is very good indeed. [20]

My dear friend, do let me know when you now are actually expecting me and would like for me to come. My own idea is not to come before Christmas, but rather perhaps at the end of January. I write that only as a provisional suggestion. We still need to make further arrangements in that regard and also consider the financial side. [21]

But tell me, am I permitted to sell individual volumes of Shakespeare to Schelling? [22] Only 2 copies of volume 5 and 1 of volume 6 are here. I now have proofs for volume 8; if you send me a title page for it, it will be a complete volume. [23] I have again earned some money from books, 3 rh. Apropos, I will also go ahead and sell Fichte’s Nicolai. [24]

Stay well, very well, my dear, my good Schlegel. I must close, since this needs to be mailed, but I will write again soon in a more proper fashion. We send our warm regards to you and also to Tiek and Madam Bernhardi. [25]


[1] In her letter to Wilhelm on 26 November 1801 (letter 332), Caroline had asked, rather desperately, about an anticipated shipment from Berlin of liqueurs and tea. See below concerning the liqueurs. Back.

[2] Concerning this shipment of spirits, see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 16 November 1801 (letter 330) (“but just see that you stay well and send liqueurs soon, for which I feel a certain yearning, and nothing further will be able to trouble me”), note 30. Back.

[3] Schiller’s Die Jungfrau von Orleans. Eine romantische Tragödie (Berlin: Unger, 1801) (Eng. The Maid of Orleans), which had premiered in Leipzig on 17 September 1801 and in Berlin on 23 November 1801. Back.

[4] A veiled reference to the actress Henriette Meyer, who performed the title role in the Berlin performances of Schiller’s play. Caroline otherwise similarly inclines to jest with the notion of the heroine of Schiller’s play being a virgin. Back.

[5] Concerning the actress Friederike Unzelmann’s considerable vexation at the distribution of roles in the Berlin performances of Schiller’s play — Henriette Meyer being assigned the title role — see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 23 November 1801 (letter 331), note 10. Here, of course, Caroline is also alluding to the romantic relationship between Wilhelm and Friederike Unzelmann. Back.

[6] In Shakespeare’s Midsummer-Night’s Dream, act iii, scene ii, Hermia, the “little one,” squabbles vehemently and threateningly with “tall” Helena. Friederike Unzelmann was of diminutive stature, something Caroline similarly notes in her letter to Wilhelm on 23 November 1801 (letter 331) (Almanach für Theater und Theaterfreunde, ed. August Wilhelm Iffland [1807]):


Caroline is musing on how the scene might play out with Friederike Unzelmann as Hermia and Henriette Meyer as Helena, with the attendant pique deriving from real life.

The scene involves Lysander, Hermia’s beloved, and Demetrius, who has professed his love for Helena, who would return his love.

Hermia and Lysander, unable to marry in Athens, conspire to meet in a wood and marry elsewhere. Hermia tells Helena of the meeting, and Helena Demetrius, who follows them into the wood, reproaching Helena for, in her own turn, following him. In the meantime, the sprite Puck has, through a love potion, inadvertently made both Lysander and Demetrius fall in love with Helena.

Neither Hermia nor Helena knows about the potion, and Helena, feeling herself mocked by Lysander, thinks Hermia part of the ruse (Frank Howard, The Spirit of the Plays of Shakspeare exhibited in a Series of Outline Plates Illustrative of the Story of Each Play, vol. 1 [London 1833], plate 12 to A Midsummer Night’s Dream):


For the full text of this scene, see supplementary appendix 334.1. Back.

[7] Uncertain allusion. Concerning Iffland’s stature, however, see the following illustration of Iffland in Molière’s comedy The Miser, act i, scene 3, ca. 1810 (Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen, Mannheim):



[8] Wilhelm’s Berlin lectures seem to have commenced on 1 December 1801; see Wilhelm’s letter to Sophie Bernhardi on 21 August 1801 (letter 327f), note 18. Back.

[9] Wilhelm was charging 2 Friedrichs d’or, on which see Caroline’s letter to Luise Gotter in late November (letter 333), note 7.

Erich Schmidt did not include in his edition the text that begins here and extends to “Well, all of you have now finally gotten Tiek.” The omitted text reads as follows in the manuscript (Digitale Edition der Korrespondenz August Wilhelm Schlegels; line breaks as in original; transcription by the translator and Hedwig T. Durnbaugh):

Du bist recht gut daß du auch Geld
schicken willst. Hoffentlich bekommst du
bald alles zusammen, so daß es dich nicht
geniert. Auf allen Fall ist hier Brief u
Anweisung auf Hufeland von Philipp. Dank
dir, das Drehschaf schreibt meinen[m] Bruder
einen Brief und spricht von der Summe
die er ihm hiebey übermache, liegt aber
kein Geld drinn und s[t]eht keins drauf.

Von der Hand in den Mund fehlt mirs
übrigens nicht, aber ich möchte freylich gern
bald 100 rthl haben wegen zu bezahlender
Sachen u des Holzes. Auf den Schulde[n]zettel
den ich dir mitgegeben kannst du schon aus-
streichen den Wein, den Böttcher, und die
Akademische Buchh. die nicht drauf steht. Das
alles habe [ich] schon durch die Gnade Gottes

Alle deine Aufträge sind
nunmehr ausgerichtet, außer deine Bücher
dir zu über schicken, womit ich noch anstehe,
denn hin und her beträgt es gewiß
einige Carolin. Was dir Fr[iedrich]. mitbringen
konnte ist eine Kleinigkeit, und unordentlich
besorgt glaub ich, da es die V[eit]. am andern
Tag erst packte und nachschickte, und einige
zweyte Theile[?] wieder zu mir zuruck gekommen
sind. Nun will aber Catel noch
wenigstens ein Dutzend Bücher mit nehmen
in 14 Tagen, da will ich dir die nötigsten
nach meiner Meynung aussuchen oder du
giebst sie mir selbst indeß noch an. Auch
dann bleibt noch mehr zurück als in den
dir bewusten Koffer geht. — Melde mir
nur: ob du die Blätter von deutscher Art
und die Propyläen bey dir hast, ich kann
beyde nicht finden und die lezten sind doch [?]
nicht einmal im Verzeichniß. Mir ist eingefallen
ob sie Tiek von dir bekommen habe. Back.

[10] The reference is to an ongoing but otherwise unspecified debt Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland owed to Philipp Michaelis. Wilhelm was acting as the mediator in Berlin. See, e.g., Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 19–20 July 1801 (letter 326), note 35. This debt has been mentioned earlier and will continue to be mentioned over the coming months.

“Gid,” a fatal disease of sheep and goats, marked by loss of balance and caused by larvae of the dog tapeworm encysted in the brain (New Oxford American Dictionary). Back.

[10a] Uncertain reading; possibly a reference to copies of volume 2 of the edition of Shakespeare. Back.

[10b] Von deutscher Art und Kunst, a volume of five essays reflecting the new aesthetic sensibility of the German Storm and Stress movements published by Johann Gottfried Herder in 1773. Other authors included Goethe, Paolo Frisi, and Justus Möser. Herder’s two essays dealt with Ossian and Shakespeare, Goethe’s with Gothic architecture. — Propyläen. Eine periodische Schrift, herausgegeben von Goethe (1798–1800). Back.

[11] Friedrich Tieck spent the autumn in Weimar, from where he also visited Caroline in Jena, and was now back in Berlin. He had left Jena on about 29 November 1801 with Friedrich Schlegel and arrived in Berlin on 2 December 1801 (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):



[12] Concerning Friedrich Tieck’s “shabby clothes,” see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 16 November 1801 (letter 330), where she speaks similarly about his “shabby coat on which not a single thread scratches now when you pass your hand over it.” Back.

[13] Dorothea Veit uses similar incorrect orthography for this woman’s name on occasion, e.g., Franz Deibel, Dorothea Schlegel als Schrifstellerin im Zusammenhang mit der romantischen Schule, Palaestra XL (Berlin 1905), 166 (KFSA 24:279), in a letter from Berlin to Karl Gustav von Brinckmann on 4 May 1799, in which she suggests he “best address [any letters to Henriette Mendelssohn] directly to the Arnsteiner family in Vienna,” whither Henriette was to travel. See Auguste’s letter to Friedrich Schlegel and Ludwig Tieck in mid-April 1799 [letter 1799], note 2).

The reference is to a bust of Henriette von Arnstein in Vienna, married name Pereira, whose mother, Fanny, née Itzig, from Berlin, played a considerable role as salonière during the Congress of Vienna. The fate of the bust is uncertain. See Julius Friedlaender, Gottfried Schadow. Aufsätze und Briefe nebst einem Verzeichnis seiner Werke (Düsseldorf, Essen 1864; 2nd ed. (Stuttgart 1890), 120: “Bust of the Baroness von Pereira, née von Arnstein. A cast was once in the possession of Herr Geheimer Ober-Justizrath Friedlaender in Berlin. Loc. cit. and Verzeichnis der Kunst-Ausstellung 1802, 63.”

Wilhelm Schlegel reviewed the bust in “Ueber die berlinische Kunstausstellung von 1802,” Zeitung für die elegante Welt (1803) nos. 4–9 (Sämmtliche Werke 9:158–179, here 162–63). In an often quite critical assessment of the work of Johann Gottfried Schadow, Wilhelm first criticizes his bust of the actress Henriette Meyer, then moves on to that of Henriette von Arnstein:

To mention specifics concerning individual pieces, let me say that the actress Madame Meyer, portrayed as Galatea in Pygmalion at the moment she awakens to life, could unquestionably be rendered much more advantageously than she is here. It is in any event rather strange to try to present in a simple bust for which even the entire figure might hardly have sufficed.

If such is to be done, however, the expression would have to be much more energetic and joyful instead of portraying flat naiveté tending toward simpleness. The lower eyelids have been drawn up much too far, something which in some countenances is indeed a trait of the original but which here is quite ill chosen, since it makes the eyes, which are already not particularly large, seem even smaller against the cheeks. —

Fräulein von Arnstein from Vienna, a quite distinguished beauty, can hardly be recognized as such in this bust. Her face is tilted excessively forward, and her upper eyelids droop so far forward themselves that the two features together evoke the appearance of a blind, sleeping, or at least extremely sleepy person. I can see easily enough that the sculptor was trying to disguise the lineaments on the chin, mouth, and nose that tend excessively upward inwardly from the profile; but if such are indeed visible in the first place, the artist is certainly obliged to render them.

If the head is otherwise genuinely beautiful, a noticeable or striking element of individuality will merely make it even more piquant, and any genuine characteristic of this nature will inevitably ennoble everything. The rather pronounced thickness of the upper eyelid was similarly to be reduced by means of the forward tilt; but this merely makes it more visible, and the eyelids now really do lie like pillows on the eyes. Bosom and nape are far removed from having been treated with the appropriate care, something to be expected all the more precisely here insofar as a feminine nape of such beauty is indeed something rare. Back.

[14] An allusion to the faculty members in Jena who had threatened to resign their positions in Jena if Fichte were dismissed back in the summer of 1799 but were in fact still in Jena. Although none left immediately in the wake of his dismissal, several significant members did migrate to other universities over the next few years. See the supplementary appendix on Fichte’s atheism dispute and H. E. G. Paulus’s later remarks concerning the dissatisfaction of certain faculty members in Jena ca. 1803. Back.

[15] Schelling and Hegel’s Kritisches Journal der Philosophie; see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 23 November 1801 (letter 331), note 16. Back.

[16] Schiller’s adaptation of Lessing’s play Nathan der Weise (n.p. 1779). See Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 16 November 1801 (letter 330), note 6. Back.

[17] Concerning Goethe’s translation of Voltaire’s Mahomet, see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 1–2 March 1801 (letter 293), notes 15 and 16. Back.

[18] The next (and final) performance at the Weimar theater was on 14 December 1801 (Das Repertoire des Weimarischen Theaters, 41–42). Caroline did not attend that performance either (see her letter to Wilhelm on 20–21 December 1801 [letter 336]). Back.

[19] The reference is to Wilhelm Schlegel, Ion: ein Schauspiel (Hamburg 1803). See Schelling’s letter to Goethe on 29 November 1801 (letter 333a). Back.

[20] Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Grattenauer, the Berlin attorney who had helped Wilhelm earlier in the latter’s dispute with Johann Friedrich Unger (see Wilhelm’s letter to Caroline on 18 April 1801 [letter 309] and supplementary appendix 309.1), had put a hall in his residence in Berlin at Wilhelm’s disposal for the latter’s lectures on the fine arts. Caroline also stayed in his home during her stay in Berlin during the spring of 1802 (Berlinischer Damen-Kalender auf das Schalt-Jahr 1804; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):


See also Sophie Bernhardi’s letter to Wilhelm on ca. 10 September 1801 (letter 328h), note 3. Back.

[21] Caroline did not make the trip to Berlin until mid-March 1802. Here a view down Brüderstrasse in Berlin from the Hôtel de Paris toward the Church of Saint Peter ca. 1806 by Franz Ludwig Catel (attribution uncertain):



[22] That is, individual volumes of the edition of Shakespeare.

Erich Schmidt did not include in his edition the text that begins here and extends to “I have again earned some money.” The omitted text reads as follows in the manuscript (Digitale Edition der Korrespondenz August Wilhelm Schlegels; line breaks as in original; transcription by the translator):

Es sind nur noch 2 vom 5ten und 1 vom 6ten
da. Nun habe ich Aushängebogen vom
8ten, schick mir ein Titelblatt dazu. Back.

[23] Caroline mentioned the missing title page to volume 8 in her earlier letter to Wilhelm on 26 November 1801 (letter 332) Back.

[24] Fichte’s Friedrich Nicolais Leben und sonderbare Meinungen: Ein Beitrag zur Litterargeschichte des vergangenen und zur Pädagogik des angehenden Jahrhunderts, ed. A. W. Schlegel (Tübingen 1801); see esp. the supplementary appendix on this piece. Back.

[25] Wilhelm was residing with the Bernhardis in Berlin. See the supplementary appendix on Wilhelm’s residences in Berlin. Back.

Translation © 2016 Doug Stott