Letter 371d

371d. Goethe to Schelling in Jena: Weimar, 9 October 1802 [*]

[Weimar, 9 October 1802]

The draft of the supplication is herewith returned, with a few changes; [1] I now await the mundum [2] and will see to it that it is properly delivered.

The wish to avoid the personal appearance will likely create problems we will have to hope are not insurmountable. It has never yet been granted, and even a mere year ago the consistory refused such. [3] . . .


[*] Sources: K. H. Hahn, “Zwei ungedruckte Briefe Goethe’s an Schelling,” Goethe. Neue Folge des Jahrbuchs der Goethe-Gesellschaft 19 (1957), 219; Fuhrmans 2:454. — Goethe was personally handling negotiations for Caroline and Wilhelm with Karl August, Duke of Weimar, with respect to their divorce (Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, Scheidung [“divorce”] [1788], Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum, Museums./Signatur DChodowiecki AB 3.775):



[1] Wilhelm and Caroline’s petition for divorce to Karl August (letter/document 371). Back.

[2] Latin, “clean copy final copy.” Back.

[3] I.e., a personal appearance before the Weimar consistory. Here Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki’s illustrations of (1) a meeting of hierarchical consistory members ca. 1774, and (2) an individual having to appear before such a consistory (“Ein hierarchisches Konsistorium,” 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 LXXIII d; Sebaldus vor dem Consistorium [1774]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Chodowiecki Sammlung [1-51]; both illustrations Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Chodowiecki Sammlung [1-15]):



Schelling discusses this issue at length in his letter to Wilhelm on 24 September 1802 (letter 369j). Although wives were regularly excused from such appearances, husbands were not. Wilhelm, of course, was currently residing in Berlin and had no interest in returning to Weimar as such a supplicant before the consistory, whose members included his adversary Karl August Böttiger as well as Herder. Back.

Translation © 2016 Doug Stott