Letter 357a

357a. Adalbert Friedrich Marcus to Schelling in Jena: Bamberg, 3 May 1802 [*]

Bamberg, 3 May 1802

My dear, beloved friend,

I have so much to tell you, my dear Schelling, that I do not really know where . . . to begin. Well, first of all let me speak about what is dearest to my heart. I cannot adequately describe for you the joy I felt at the sight of your likeness. [1] It recalled all the pleasant and joyous memories that your unforgettable stay here once provided for me. [2] I found myself quite involuntarily drawn to the rejuvenated image standing so handsomely and serenely before me; I wanted to hold fast to it, but it disappeared, or rather: it was torn from me in the midst of my enjoyment. To put it less lyrically: Professor Röschlaub had so violently taken control of your brother that he was treating him like a political prisoner, letting him out of his sight for hardly a single moment.

Your brother seemed especially pleased with the hospital, giving me reason to hope that we may see him here again. I will do everything I can to make his stay as interesting and pleasant as possible.

Bamberg was one of the first public medical institutions where patients were treated according to the spirit of the Brunonian system. Bamberg must now also become renowned for having demonstrated at the bedside itself just what elements of the philosophy of nature are already being applied to the healing arts and indeed will be even more so in the future. [3] This is why I am always so pleased to have young men around me who have penetrated into the spirit of the philosophy of nature.

I am already quite firmly convinced that we will be progressing even further down this new path than one can imagine at present. In precisely this point, my dear friend, I myself also presume to have a voice, one that I will soon make public, albeit yet quite softly. If the results end up being as one can hardly otherwise expect, Germany will know who their initiator is and to whom it owes this progress. [4]


[*] Sources: Plitt 1:366–67; Fuhrmans 2:401–2 (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):


Marcus’s letter here is noteworthy insofar as Schelling has increasingly more contact with the science of medicine and with university-trained physicians than with professional philosophers, and at the same time becomes more closely associated with variant understandings of his own philosophy of nature, including from the perspective of medicine and often with serious consequences. Because Caroline’s life is now essentially intertwined with his, these developments also directly affect her life as well. Back.

[1] Karl Schelling, Schelling’s younger brother, had concluded his medical studies in Jena and intended to continue them in Tübingen. Back.

[2] In the summer of 1800, when Auguste died in Bocklet. Back.

[3] Marcus is referring broadly to Schelling’s numerous publications on the philosophy of nature since 1797. Back.

[4] Unfortunately, such is precisely what happened, for Schelling himself was soon held responsible for having contributed directly to Auguste’s death in Bocklet in July 1800 and indirectly to the proliferation of allegedly nonsensical doctoral dissertations in Bamberg among the “young men” of whom Marcus here speaks in a general sense. Back.

Translation © 2016 Doug Stott