Letter 356e

356e. Mother (Johanna Christiane Erdmuthe) Schlegel to Wilhelm Schlegel in Berlin: Hannover, 18 April 1802 [*]

[Hannover] 18 April 1802

Dearest Wilhelm,

By now you probably have your dear wife with you again and hopefully feel quite happy, for she doubtless arrived quite healthy and well. You two are probably thinking about staying quite long in Berlin, since you did not announce any lectures in Jena. [1] Write and let me know about this.

The main reason I am writing today, my dear son, is to voice my grief to you about something and then also to find comfort and assurance from you. The matter with Friedrich and Madam Veit has always caused me such grief and worry. My good children are so considerate of me, and presented the matter to me such that I came to terms with it at least a bit. [2] But there is much about it all that does grieve me greatly.

A divorced woman, a Jewess, much older than Friedrich, and so on. There are so many connections between here and Berlin, all of you have so many enemies, Ifland’s family is here, [3] Stieglitz, the Elrichs, [4] they and perhaps several others must have painted a terrible picture of this thing. — —

Is Madam Veit one of the philosopher Mendelson’s daughters? She wrote a very good letter to me and asked for my maternal blessing. And I answered her from my maternal heart, and my good wishes and prayers are accompanying her now. It was only afterward that people frightened and upset me so.

Now I hope you will soon reassure me if you can, but you must tell me nothing but the truth. Please give my regards to your dear wife, and may you continue to fare well, dear children.

Mother Schlegel


[*] Source: Georg Waitz, (1882), 97. Back.

[1] I.e., for the summer semester 1802; Caroline earlier mentioned the possibility of such lectures, and Schelling was apparently trying to ascertain the feasibility.

See Caroline’s letters to Wilhelm on 16 November [1801] (letter 330), note 19; on 4 January 1802 (letter 339): “We are now thinking about how of the success of Ion can provide a foundation for your lectures here”; and on 18 January 1802 (letter 341).

In any event Wilhelm did not return to Jena to lecture, continuing instead his Berlin lectures until the spring of 1804. What Mother Schlegel did not know, of course, was that Caroline was not only not going to stay in Berlin with Wilhelm, Caroline was not even staying with him in Berlin at the moment, but rather with the family of Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Grattenauer at Lindenstrasse 66, whereas Wilhelm was residing with the Bernhardis at the Jungfernbrücke (Oberwasserstrasse 10).

See the supplementary appendix on Wilhelm’s residences in Berlin. Back.

[2] See Mother Schlegel’s letters to Wilhelm on 5 January 1800 (letter 258b) and on 12 February 1800 (letter 258l). Back.

[3] Although August Wilhelm Iffland’s father, Johann Rudolf Iffland (1714–75), an administrator in the war chancellery in Hannover, and mother, Carolina Iffland, née Schröder (1725–79), were both deceased, his brother, Christian Philipp Iffland (1750–1835), was still a director in the upper court of appeals and for a time also mayor of Hannover (ADB) (W. R. Shepherd, Historical Map of Central Europe about 1786 [1926]):



[4] Unidentified, possibly a Hannover merchant. Back.

Translation © 2016 Doug Stott