Letter 335b

335b. Adalbert Friedrich Marcus to Caroline in Jena: Bamberg, 10 December 1801 [*]

Bamberg, 10 December 1801

Let me take up my quill as quickly as possible, my dear Madam Schlegel, that I may relate to you my purest and warmest feelings of gratitude. [1] Could I but describe to you the impression the sight of this excellent portrait had on me, that in itself would provide the most convincing proof that I am not entirely unworthy of both your attention and the possession of this jewel. [1a]

My wife shares the feelings that any recollection of this gracious, unforgettable young girl cannot but evoke in the soul of every person who knew her. The delicate, reflective femininity that cloaked this transfigured creature in life is expressed with incomparable beauty in the drawing. [2]

I read Schlegel’s Offerings for the Deceased with, as Friedrich is wont to say, devotion and religion while sitting beneath this picture, which is hanging in a private chamber near my living room.

If I move to the Altenburg in the spring, this picture will surely accompany me. [3] Three handsome silverleaf poplars are to be planted at the Altenburg to honor Auguste’s memory, at the most beautiful and intimate places. If you should ever return to Franconia, let us dedicate a tear there to the Transfigured. [4]

Martinengo is still in Aschach. From what he recently said, it seems nothing has yet been decided concerning the memorial. [5] I am inclined to believe that no query concerning it has been made yet. If you would like Martinengo to take more resolute steps in this regard, you will need to give him a more concrete idea that he can then use in his conversation with the prince. Then there will be no more hindrances to the actual execution.

The Almanach is the most beautiful garland I have had the pleasure to possess in a long time, and Schlegel’s poems, especially those to Auguste, the most sublime and pure things I have ever read in this genre. [6] — But who can Bonaventura be? I have my intimations and suspicions. [7]

Please pass along to our beloved friend Schelling in my name the most tender and kind wishes. There is doubtless no other town in Germany where he could have as many true admirers than in Bamberg. Reubel, also a Swabian, is currently lecturing publicly on the philosophy of nature. I myself went to the prince to request the favor of allowing Reubel to lecture here, pointing out that I myself intended to attend. The prince not only granted my petition — the only one, by the way, I have presented to him under his administration — but he is himself now also a patron of the philosophy of nature. Reubel’s auditorium consists of fifty attendees and is increasing daily. Apart from my own humble self, his audience also includes most of the professors. [8]

Röschlaub is thus here again and will remain here. Probably nothing will ever come of his employment in Landshut. [9] As of yesterday he is now a married man, to wit, with a young widow by the name of Haass. — —

The Bamberg Calendar will soon makes its humble and due appearance in the company of hymns and legends supplied by Herr Bardele[?]. [10]

Greetings and love, your


[*] Source: Georg Waitz, (1882), 94–96. Back.

[1] Caroline had sent Marcus a drawing of Auguste; see her letter to Wilhelm Schlegel on 10 December 1801 (letter 335), also with note 33 there. Back.

[1a] Attention in French in the original. Back.

[2] Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, illustration for Taschenbuch zum geselligen Vergnügen (1799):



[3] Concerning Marcus’s move to Altenburg Castle just outside Bamberg, see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm Schlegel on 10 December 1801 (letter 335), note 35. — The fate of this drawing of Auguste is unknown. Back.

[4] Caroline and Schelling spent several days in Bamberg again in May and September 1803. That her letters contain no mention of having visited Marcus at Altenburg Castle does not exclude the possibility. Back.

[5] At issue is the possibility of erecting a memorial to Auguste in Bocklet, which is near Aschach. The efforts never came to fruition, and the memorial ended up in the Bertel Thorvaldsen Museum in Copenhagen.

Concerning Martinengo, see Dorothea Veit’s letter to Schleiermacher on 19 November 1801 (letter 330a), note 6. Back.

[6] Marcus is again speaking about the previously mentioned cycle Offerings for the Deceased. Back.

[7] Bonaventura was Schelling’s pseudonym in the Musen-Almanach für das Jahr 1802; see his contributions in the project bibliography. Back.

[8] An ominous bit of news.

Joseph Reubel’s presence and activities in Bamberg, his identification as a follower of Schelling’s philosophy of nature, and especially his interpretation of that philosophy eventually prompted considerable sharp criticism and ridicule, including in print, whose effects unfortunately extended to Schelling himself and even became a topic in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung.

Although these developments play a major role later in this correspondence, see the public attack against Schelling discussed in Urban Wiesing’s essay on the scandal surrounding Auguste’s death. Back.

[9] Marcus was mistaken. Röschlaub accepted an appointment at the university in Landshut in 1802 as professor of pathology and medicine and also practiced as a general physician. Back.

[10] Presumably the Bamberger Hof- Staats- und Standskalender für das Jahr 1802. Such publications traditionally also included prayers and devotional pieces for the months and days of the year. Herr Bardele is otherwise unidentified. Back.

Translation © 2016 Doug Stott