Letter 342

• 342. Caroline to Wilhelm Schlegel in Berlin: Jena, 21 January 1802

[Jena] Thursday, 21 January [18]02

|280| My dear Schlegel, you must not take it as a personal affront that I have changed my mind since Monday and returned to my initial position. [1] It was ill-considered of me to think I could wait so long with the money, since I knew that I along with Professor Schelling did not have any more. I merely flattered myself thinking that lecture fees would trickle in for him, of which over 100 rh. are still outstanding (a wretched part of lecturing here); but that did not happen, and I feared problems would develop within these next 1–2 weeks (since Schelling will also not get anything from Cotta before then). [2] Later there will be no such problems. [3]

In short, I had Paulssen give me 5 Carolins, or rather 32 1/2 rh., which you must now pay back out to the Schreckler brothers. [4] I cannot help you. Nor should I believe it might or could put you in an awkward position, since, at worst, in addition to the 9 louis d’or from Hufeland you have also deposited money with the Bernhardis. [5]

For my part, I am in an awkward position only for the moment. As soon as I receive money, and you need it sooner than I am able to come, I will send some back to you with an assignation. The thing with the shawl for Madam Loder will also take about as long to bring about as I could anticipate having nothing. [6] And you will easily enough be able to make arrangements in that regard such that it all does not become too much for you all at once.

I am forced to send you this missive today because Paulsen’s avis to the merchant will also be going out today, and I am hoping you will receive this earlier that you might be properly informed. [7] I could have taken a smaller loan from him, but Paulsen was not interested. It is possible that you will be receiving my letters of Monday and today on the same day; [8] if so, please do let me know.


Today Spatzier sent Schelling the reprint of Ion with the most devoted expression of thanks for the interesting essay and the preferential treatment he thereby demonstrated for the Elegante Zeitung, and included a request for more of the same. [9] (After the performance of Turandot, I will probably send him more; [10] you can insinuate to him that Schelling is sending something only at your intercession.)

My delicate account actually stands out quite nicely. I am assuming that you immediately see the Zeitung there in Berlin and hence will not enclose it even though I could probably do so, trusting in the goodwill of the lame postal official, |281| who only charged me 3 Gr. for my last one with the Litteratur Zeitung. [11]

That he put above it Ion. Play after Euripides was actually Spatzier’s wise idea. My own bit of stupidity, however, was that I did not mention the play being repeated. [12]

Goethe is here but has let Schelling know that he is deeply engrossed in his work and wants to see him only when he has more leisure time. [13] So I cannot yet relate anything to you. [14] Had he any news from Berlin concerning Ion, he surely would have written it to Schelling. Madam Unzelmann probably does not see Iffland anymore, but surely Madam Meyer must have been in a position to hear something.

Madam Veit has sent the books that Friedrich, according to the list you gave me to keep, had from you. Excepting Galathea and Calderone, which he took along with him to Berlin. [15]

The wood porter just declared that Madam Veit (I honestly have no better news concerning her than this) would be departing on Monday. [16] You have no doubt put aside the wretched task of writing to Charlotte. I just hope everything manages to go the way it is supposed to and that the splendid freight arrives successfully even without an avis. [17] If Charlotte finds her tolerable, or even likes her, it can only be because Madam Veit has exploited her weak side and engaged all her endless flattery. It is not otherwise possible in any genuinely honest fashion.

My sister has considerable worries. They are afraid, that is, of being transferred to Helmstädt quite soon by His Grace, for the duke offered Roose the same advantages for Helmstädt that he would have in Kiel, but nothing for Braunschweig, absolutely nothing, since they are firmly convinced that Roose’s wife would prevent him from leaving the area where her parents are, to whom she is devoted just as she is to her entire family. But he will do it anyway, |282| and the decision is already as good as made. Now, however, because the position of anatomist in Helmstädt is still unfilled, the sword is now hanging over Wiedemann’s head. The alternative is to acquire a bad, chicaneux person in the Upper Medical College as one’s colleague, [18] who would replace Himly, and to lose Roose. [19]

Friend, the weather here is stormy and awful. Wind, rain, snow, ice, slippery, wet, and high humidity as well. How different it must become before I can travel! [20] I am as anxious about the journey itself as I am looking forward to actually being there. I have been thinking about the Lüneburg Heath. [21]

A beautiful fur, a dozen bonnets and caps are all in the works; Luise is making them for me. You can see how serious I am about it. [22]

Stay well, my dear, good friend; may God keep you. I hope you have recovered from the fright you received at the beginning of this letter. Schelling sends his warm greetings. Stay very well.

I forgot to mention an extraordinarily well-composed and adroit manifesto by Cotta contra Nicolai, which the former sent Schelling for the jacket of his 2nd issue. [23] It is directed against the statements Nicolai made in his rejoinder concerning Fichte’s piece. It has presumably already been published elsewhere. Do you know anything about it? [24]

I would think Nicolai would soon be stoned to death.

Yesterday Herr and Madam Niethammer had tea here with me, also Möller, who visits me often and who, as I have already mentioned, is a wonderful person. [25]


[1] In her letters to Wilhelm on to 14 January (letter 340) and 18 January 1802 (letter 341), Caroline had discussed financial issues, changing her position slightly in letter 341 enabling Wilhelm to use money from some of the sources discussed. Back.

[2] For publication of the first issue of Schelling and Hegel’s Kritisches Journal der Philosophie (Tübingen 1802–03). Back.

[3] Erich Schmidt did not include in his edition the text that begins here and extends to “Today Spatzier sent Schelling.” 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):

Kurz ich habe mir von
Paulßen 5 Carolin geben lassen
oder vielmehr 32 [written over “23”] 1/2 rh. und diese
mußt du Gebrüder Schreckler wieder auszahlen
Ich kann dir nicht helfen. Und sollte
auch nicht glauben daß es dich in Verlegen
heit setzen würde u könnte, da du
im äußersten Fall außer den 9 louis’d.
von Hufel. auch bey Bernhardis Geld
deponirt hast. Mir ists auch nur
den Moment. Sobald ich Geld erhalte,
und du das fruher bedarfst als ich kommen
kann, assignire ich dir welches zurück.
Mit dem Schawl von Mad. Loder
das dauert eben auch so lange Zeit,
als ich in der Aussicht seyn konnte
nichts zu haben. Und du wirst ja
da mit leicht ein arrangement treffen,
daß dirs nicht zuviel auf einmal

Diese Notiz bin ich gezwungen
dir heut zu geben, weil heute auch
Paulßens Avis an den Kaufmann
weggeht, und hoffentlich du dieß früher
erhälst, um benachrichtigt zu seyn.
Ich hätte mir können weniger geben
lassen, aber das wollte P. nicht.
Es ist möglich daß du meine Briefe
von Montag u heut an demselben Tage
erhälst; davon benachrichtige mich doch Back.

[4] The Schreckler brothers (or perhaps Schreckler Brothers, a firm), presumably in Berlin, are not otherwise identified. Back.

[5] Wilhelm had collected money from the Berlin physician Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland for Caroline’s brother Philipp Michaelis; this otherwise unspecified debt has been a topic of various letters over the past several months. Wilhelm was residing with the family of August Ferdinand Bernhardi in Berlin; see the supplementary appendix on Wilhelm’s residences in Berlin. Back.

[6] In her letter to Wilhelm on 18 January 1802 (letter 341), Caroline had asked Wilhelm to solicit the Berlin actress Friederike Unzelmann to pick out a shawl for Louise Loder. Back.

[7] Avis, Latin-Fr., notice to the recipient of a pending mailing or parcel. Back.

[8] The letter on Monday was her letter to Wilhelm on 13 January 1802 (letter 341). Back.

[9] The reference is not to the play itself Ion: ein Schauspiel, but rather to a reprint of Caroline’s review of the play that appeared in the Zeitung für die elegante Welt, of which Karl Spazier was editor.



[10] Schiller’s Turandot. Prinzessin von China. Ein tragicomisches Mährchen nach Gozzi (Tübingen 1802), an adaptation of Carlo Gozzi’s (1720–1806) Turandot (1762). It was to be performed in Weimar on Duchess Luise’s birthday, 30 January 1802 (Das Repertoire des Weimarischen Theaters, 42). Back.

[11] I.e., for the enclosure of an issue of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung. Back.

[12] Ion was performed a second time in the Weimar theater (after the premiere on 2 January 1802) on 4 January 1802 (Das Repertoire des Weimarischen Theaters, 42). Back.

[13] Although Goethe, who had been in Jena since 17 January 1802, was indeed quite busy during this particular week, he did nonetheless have time enough for visits and socializing, including with Justus Christian Loder, H. E. G. Paulus, Gottlieb Hufeland, Karl Gustav Himly, Friedrich Immanuel Niethammer, and Karl Friedrich Ernst Frommann (Bergisches Taschenbuch für 1798 zur Belehrung und Unterhaltung; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):


Schelling did, however, dine with Goethe two days later, namely, on 23 January 1802 (Weimarer Ausgabe 3:3:46–47) (Der Freund des schönen Geschlechts: ein angenehm und nützlicher Taschenkalender für das Jahr 1808):



[14] Namely, about any reaction from the Berlin theater direction (viz. August Wilhelm Iffland, with whom Wilhelm did not have a particularly smooth relationship at the time) about Wilhelm being divulged as the author of Ion. See Wilhelm’s letter to Goethe on 19 January 1802 (letter 341a), notes 6 and 7. Back.

[15] Friedrich Schlegel had been in Berlin since early December 1801.

Concerning Cervantes, La Galatea (1585), and Calderon, see Wilhelm’s letter to Johann Diederich Gries on 16 March 1800 (letter 258r), note 14.

Concerning Friedrich’s interest, see his letter to Caroline in early March 1799 (letter 224b), note 2. The first volume of Wilhelm’s Spanisches Theater (Berlin 1803) contained three works by Calderon. Back.

[16] The reference is to Dorothea’s tentative departure for Dresden on Monday, 25 January 1802; Friedrich would depart Berlin for Dresden on Wednesday, 27 January 1802. They were to stay with Friedrich and Wilhelm’s sister Charlotte Ernst (Post Karte Durch ganz Deutschland, ed. J. Walch [Augsburg 1795]):



[17] Caroline is being catty. The “freight” or parcel is Dorothea herself. Back.

[18] Fr., “caviling, petty, quibbling.” In the line above “chicaneux person” Caroline added the incomplete phrase “and professed.” Back.

[19] In 1802 the Braunschweig physiologist Theodor Georg August Roose was offered an extremely attractive appointment in Kiel. He decided to remain in Braunschweig, however, for which he was made a Ducal-Braunschweig Hofrath.

Luise’s husband, Christian Rudolph Wilhelm Wiedemann, remained in Braunschweig as well (i.e., did not accept a position in Helmstedt), but did accept a position in Kiel in 1805, where he remained for the rest of his life.

Karl Gustav Himly, who had begun to teach and practice in Braunschweig in 1795, had only recently (1801) become professor of medicine in Jena as the successor of Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland, who had gone to Berlin. Himly would, however, move to Göttingen in 1803 (Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, Besetztere und illuminierte Landkarte von Deutschland Elementarwerk, from the (Kupfersammlung zu J[ohann] B[ernhard] Basedows Elementarwerke für die Jugend und ihre Freunde: Erste Lieferung in 53 Tafeln. Zweyte Lieferung in 47 Tafeln von L bis XCVI [Leipzig, Dessau, Berlin 1774], plate xlv):



[20] Schauplatz der Natur und der Künste, vol. 2 (Vienna 1775), plate 32:



[21] Caroline had travelled through the Lüneburg Heath on her way to Harburg and Hamburg in the spring of 1801. See her letter to Wilhelm on 4–5 April 1801 (letter 304), note 9. Back.

[22] That is, “in the works” for the trip to Berlin.

Here (1) two women in 1790 and 1805 wearing various pieces of fur accessories and (2) the latest headware fashions for 1801 and 1802 ([1] left: Journal des Luxus und der Moden 5 [1790]; [right] ibid. 21 [1806]; [2] left: Almanac de Goettingue pour l’année 1801; right: Berlinischer Damen Kalender auf das Iahr 1802; both: Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):




[23] Of the Kritisches Journal der Philosophie 1 (1802) 2. Back.

[24] See the supplementary appendix on 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).

Nicolai responded with a lengthy supplement to the Neue Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek with an equally lengthy title, “Ueber die Art wie vermittelst des transcendentalen Idealismus ein wirklich existirendes Wesen aus Principien konstruirt warden kann. Nebst merkürdigen Proben der Wahrheitsliebe, reifen Ueberlegung, Bescheidenheit, Urbanität und gut gelaunten Grossmuth des Stifers der neuesten Philosophie,” Neue Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek (1801) 61, supplement, 1–66 (“Concerning the manner in which by means of transcendental idealism a genuinely existing being can be construed [solely] from principles; along with noteworthy examples of the love of truth, mature reflection, modesty, urbanity, and cheerful magnanimity of the founder of the most recent philosophy”).

In his conclusion, he turned against Cotta as a publisher (here 64–66). Cotta’s rejoinder accompanied Schelling’s Kritisches Journal der Philosophie 1 (1802) 2. For both pieces, see section 3 in the supplementary appendix on Fichte’s piece. Back.

[25] The paragraph originally following this present, final paragraph in Erich Schmidt’s edition has not been included here.

Erich Schmidt, (1913), 2:282–83, identifies the final paragraph in his edition of this present letter (letter 342), a paragraph mentioning costs Caroline incurred attending the performance of Ion in Weimar, as part of ledger and invoice attachments.

Those ledgers, though not contiguous with this present letter, are nonetheless included as part of it in the Digitale Edition der Korrespondenz August Wilhelm Schlegels. They seem, however, instead to belong to Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 14 January 1802 (letter 340) and have thus been included there along with the other ledgers. See note 70 there for an explanation. Eckart Klessmann, “Ich war kühn, aber nicht frevelhaft.” Das Leben der Caroline Schlegel-Schelling, rev. ed. (Bergisch Gladbach 1992), 240–44, published parts of these ledgers in connection with this present letter. Back.

Translation © 2016 Doug Stott