Letter 361c

361c. Schelling to Julie Gotter in Gotha: Jena, late May/early June 1802 [*]

[Jena, late May/early June 1802]

Dearest Julchen, although I have resolved to write you countless times, I then always neglect to actually do so. You yourself, however, are already well acquainted with my neglectfulness and indeed have often enough forgiven me here in person; will you do so from a distance as well? [1]

That said, the reason I am only now answering your charming letter, with which you at once both surprised and shamed me, is not my neglectfulness at all, but rather an insuperable condition of inner turmoil and the impossibility of doing so before now — to wit, I returned from Berlin only a few days ago, where I visited Madame Schlegel and picked her up for the return journey. [2] I had previously postponed prompting you through a letter to remember me again because my perpetual plan was to visit you myself in Gotha during the break, [3] and for once, quite unexpectedly, to genuinely surprise you. I had already made all the necessary arrangements with Hegel when this other decision intervened. —

How can you make so many apologies with respect to Don Quixote [4] — could I but send you many such books. What little there is of this sort that I might have in my library will always be at your disposal.

I see you have sent me not only a glass for the lantern, but now also intend to enhance my household with sausages. Just send them to Madame Schlegel, and she will pass along some to me as well. [5]

Though I must close for now, I do ask that you patiently await a longer letter soon and in the meantime also send along my regards to your mother and sisters, especially little Pauline, who will certainly also be receiving a thank-you note composed in well-crafted expressions if she will yet accept such. [6]

Stay very well, my excellent Julchen, and please do also remain at least a little favorably disposed toward me.


[p.s. from Caroline] I, too, send you my warmest greetings, my dear, good Julchen, happy to be back in Jena, where things are utterly charming in my new apartment; I wish only that you had had it as good with me earlier as I now have it myself. [7]

On 15 and 16 May we were yet able to see Ion performed in Berlin, which went very well indeed, had a full house, and enjoyed grand applause. [8]


[*] Sources: Fuhrmans 1:255–57; Briefe 1:439–40. Back.

[1] Bergisches Taschenbuch für 1798: Zur Belehrung und Unterhaltung; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache Theodor Springmann Stiftung:


Julie Gotter had begun her stay with Caroline in Jena on 31 May 1801 and finally departed Jena for her home in Gotha on Saturday, 6 March 1802, when Caroline was about to depart for her visit to Berlin.

Concerning the background to her stay in Jena, see the editorial note to her letter to Cäcile Gotter on 8 June 1801 (letter 319b) (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):



[2] Schelling had followed Caroline to Berlin in late April or early May 1802 and then left with her and Wilhelm Schlegel on 19 May, returning to Jena by way of Leipzig with her alone on 24 May. Concerning this timeline, see the editorial note to Wilhelm’s letter to Caroline on 17 May 1802 (letter 359) (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):



[3] Viz., the break between winter and summer semesters. As emerges from Caroline’s letter to Julie on 2 January 1803 (letter 374), Schelling later also seems to have planned a visit to Gotha over Christmas 1802 with the Hungarian count Karl von Podmanitzky. Back.

[4] Ludwig Tieck’s translation, Leben und Thaten des scharfsinnigen Edlen Don Quixote von la Mancha, 4 vols. (Unger: Berlin 1799–1801). Julie had spent time reading it while staying with Caroline in Jena (Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, study of woman reading from 1779; Rijksmuseum):


See her letters to Cäcilie Gotter on 9 June 1801 (letter 319c) and to Luise Gotter on 26 June 1801 (letter 322a). Perhaps she had inadvertently taken the book with her back to Gotha. Back.

[5] In her letter to Cäcilie Gotter on 4 January 1802 (letter 339b), Julie had made the following request: “Adieu, my dear sister; please ask Pauline to send a pane of glass that fits into Schelling’s small lantern; his broke; and soon if possible. Perhaps the foot basket is finished and she can pack it inside.” Concerning the foot basket as well, see esp. note 23 there.

In any case, apparently such did not happen until Julie herself was back in Gotha (Johann Georg Pendel, Bewaffnete Herren mit Laterne [1807]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Graph. A1: 1980; Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, Tochter! [from Schiller’s play Kabale und Liebe] [1785]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Chodowiecki Sammlung [5-345]):


Here also an illustration of sausage production ca. 1777 (Schauplatz der Natur und der Künste, vol. 5 [Vienna 1777], plate 12):



[6] That is, thanks presumably for the lantern glass.

Schelling had met Pauline Gotter for the first and hitherto only time in September 1801 in Weimar, when she was but fourteen years old and when he, Caroline, Wilhelm, and Julie Gotter, along with Luise Wiedemann and Christian Rudolf Wilhelm Wiedemann, had gone to Weimar to attend the guest performances of Friederike Unzelmann, and Luise Gotter had also traveled over from Gotha with her other two daughters, Cäcilie and Pauline. Schelling did not see Pauline again until they married in 1812. See also Luise Wiedemann’s recollection of Pauline and this meeting in her memoirs. Back.

[7] An earlier illustration (1773; note the earlier fashion) that nonetheless evokes Caroline’s satisfaction with her new accommodations (Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, Von Berlin nach Danzig: Eine Künstlerfahrt im Jahre 1773, von Daniel Chodowiecki. 108 Lichtdrucke nach den Originalen in der Staatl. Akademie der Künste in Berlin, mit erläuterndem Text und einer Einführung von Wolfgang von Oettingen [Leipzig 1923], plate 77):



[8] The “we” in this passage presumably implies that Caroline, Schelling, and Wilhelm all attended both the premiere and the second-night performance of Wilhelm’s Ion in Berlin. Back.

Translation © 2016 Doug Stott