Letter 374e

374e. Schelling to Wilhelm Schlegel in Berlin: Jena, 31 January 1803 [*]

[Jena] 31 January 1803

You yourself will be glad that I did not pass along the received notice to the A.L.Z., [1] for Schütz is working on a brochure in response to your Rebuke. [2]

It profoundly pains me both for your sake as well as for ours.

I will arrange for you to receive a copy as soon as it appears; since I prefer not to be totally disrupted in my present activities, I simply cannot read it now, and will instead, should such be necessary, wait for the appropriate moment to take whatever measures against it that are called for.

Since reading the sonnets from you, we have taken turns translating our favorites. I am sending you one that is Caroline’s work even though it is in my handwriting, and another by me. Although I also translated the one about the old man who pilgrimages to see the veil of Saint Veronica, I am not yet sufficiently satisfied with it to send it. [3]

In the meantime, because the dispensation from having to make a personal appearance for you and Caroline has arrived, one might hope that tomorrow everything will come to an end. I send my regards; stay well. [4]


. . . With regard to Schütz’s defamatory piece, I can now relate to you only what I have heard from others. First, he did indeed reprint both your letter to him to him as well as his response, a response you must have received, since Madam Bernhardi allegedly issued a recepisse, which he mentions in an annotation with whose particulars I am not familiar. [5]

His intention is then to demonstrate that he is neither the author nor otherwise a pasquinian. He then critiques both Marcus’s and Röschlaub’s opinions in the matter, [6] with respect to which he draws from information from Würzburg that, by all appearance, derives from Berg, though presented only in the form of gossip and prattle. And the whole thing full of invectives of the most vulgar sort against you and me.

In any event, that is what friends have related to me. The title is something to the effect Species facti oder Beweis, dass Herr Pr. Schlegel durch seine Beschuldigung etc. nur sich selbst beschimpft habe. Jena und Leipzig in Kommission der Kummerschen Buchhandlung (i.e., Kotzebue’s publisher). [7] I cannot have a copy sent to you; moreover, the only ones here are allegedly those he himself distributed. Otherwise perhaps you can obtain it sooner through a different source.


Let me implore you not to let this inferior mongrel upset you, he who is spit upon by everyone here with any sense of justice. You have done everything for me you can, the rest is up to me, and I will attend to it as soon as I have the time to do it properly. Hence for the time being I have also chosen not to read the Schützian pasquinade. [8] I will discuss my response with Röschlaub and not do anything precipitately. [9]

You yourself have no need to take further measures against this pathetic person. If given this subject’s extreme degree of wickedness it seems it might be fun to scold him a bit, I would not mind seeing your well-known sonnet form. [10] He would never dream of this form, knowing well that his own personal particulars are too filthy for anyone to touch. —

I offer my services in implementing it. If you like, I could have it printed on the dustcover of my journal [11] and at the same time have it sent to him himself from elsewhere for insertion in the A.L.Z. I would have it placed in the form of an announcement of “contemporary poems,” of which that one would be included as a sample, and with various necessary changes, e.g., with respect to the person to which it is alluding, to whom one could refer with “xxx,” and perhaps with some addendum by you or me.

I will save for a later letter what else I might add; time is short, and I must hasten not to miss the postal carriage. . . .


[*] Sources: Plitt 1:447–49; Fuhrmans 2:485–87. Back.

[1] Uncertain reference. Back.

[2] Christian Gottfried Schütz, Species facti nebst Actenstücken zum Beweise dass Hr. Rath August Wilh. Schlegel der Zeit in Berlin mit seiner Rüge, worinnen er der Allgem. Lit. Zeitung eine begangne Ehrenschändung fälschlich aufbürdet, niemanden als sich selbst beschimpft habe / von C. G. Schuetz. Nebst einem Anhange über das Benehmen des Schellingischen Obscurantismus (Jena, Leipzig 1803). See below concerning the title.

This publication was Schütz’s response to Wilhelm’s To the Public. Rebuke of a Defamation of Honor Perpetrated in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (letter/document 371b). Back.

[3] Wilhelm was currently translating sonnets of Petrarch as well as Calderon’s Devotion of the Cross for his later publication Blumensträusse italiänischer, spanischer und portugiesischer Poesie (Berlin 1804) and circulating them among friends.

Ludwig Tieck remarks in a letter to him from Ziebingen in January 1803 (Lohner 126): “Just a few words in haste; your translations from Petrarch have edified us all, and Calderon delighted us, and we all read Ion with reverence.”

See the supplementary appendix on Caroline and Schelling’s Petrarch translations. Concerning St. Veronica, see note 2 there; Schelling’s translation is no. 2 in that supplementary appendix. Back.

[4] I.e., the dispensation from having to make a personal appearance before the High Consistory in Weimar regarding their divorce petition. See Schelling’s letter to Wilhelm on 21 January 1803 (letter 374d).

Things did not immediately “come to an end,” however, since further complications arose even in this particular matter (see Schelling’s letter to Goethe on 9 February 1803 [letter 374g] and esp. that to Wilhelm on 11 February 1803 [letter 374h]). In any event, the divorce itself was not granted until mid-May 1803. Back.

[5] Fr. (récépissé), “receipt, acknowledgement (for documents, papers, letters, etc.).” Wilhelm was residing with the Bernhardis in Berlin but was not home when Schütz’s letter arrived. Back.

[6] Whose affidavits in support of Schelling’s actions with respect to Auguste’s illness in Bocklet in July 1800 were included at the end of Wilhelm’s To the Public. Rebuke of a Defamation of Honor Perpetrated in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (letter/document 371b). Back.

[7] The full title of Schütz’s piece (Schelling adds the bibliographical information with the name of the publisher) translates: “Species facti [the particular character or peculiar circumstances of the thing done] along with documents proving that Herr Rath August Wilhelm Schlegel, currently residing in Berlin, rebuked no one but himself with his Rebuke, in which he falsely accuses the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung of having committed a defamation of honor / by C. G. Schuetz. With an addendum concerning the comportment of Schellingian obscurantism” (the latter expression an allusion to Schelling’s “The Comportment of Obscurantism contra the Philosophy of Nature”). Back.

[8] On Schelling’s own copy of Schütz’s piece, which Erich Schmidt, (1913), 2:640, found in Schelling’s literary estate, Schelling had written, “Not read, coming as it does from a dishonorable person.” Back.

[9] Schelling never published anything further in the matter. Back.

[10] Wilhelm had, e.g., earlier done a satirical sonnet contra Garlieb Merkel; see supplementary appendix 252.1. Back.

[11] Schelling’s Zeitschrift für die neuere Physik or Kritisches Journal der Philosophie. Back.

Translation © 2016 Doug Stott