Letter 375a

375a. Schelling to Goethe in Weimar: Jena, 20 February 1803 [*]

Jena, 20 February 1803

. . . The two attorneys involved in the Schlegel matter have been observing such obdurate silence that absolutely nothing can be learned concerning the course of things, nor whether, and, if so, how long they have instituted a new delay.

I infinitely regretted not being able to attend the performance of the Mohrensklavin. [1]

On that occasion, perhaps I could have received some instructions in person from your kindness concerning the matter in question. If, however, there is still time with respect to the hearing, I will definitely come over to Weimar beforehand; if, however, some step should become necessary before the end of the week, might I request some brief word you? [2] . . .



[*] Sources: Goethe und die Romantik 1:231; Fuhrmans 2:492. — At issue in this brief letter is the course of the divorce petition between Caroline and Wilhelm Schlegel and esp. the delays incurred because of the High Consistory’s insistence, despite the invention of Duke Karl August, in having Caroline and Wilhelm appear personally to provide “sufficient reasons” for the divorce being granted. See the sometimes frantic previous correspondence between Schelling and Goethe, on the one hand, and between Schelling and Wilhelm, on the other, esp. since Herder’s summons to Wilhelm on 14 December 1802 (letter 373b). Back.

[1] Friedrich Hildebrand von Einsiedel’s play Die Mohrin (Leipzig 1806), a comedy after Terence, had been performed in the Weimar theater on 19 February 1802 (Das Repertoire des Weimarischen Theaters 46), at which time Schelling would have had the opportunity to speak with Goethe in person.

Here the playbill for the performance on 7 March 1803 (Landesarchiv Thüringen, Hauptstaatsarchiv Weimar, “Kunst und Wissenschaft – Hofwesen”; Nr: A 10419/2; Blatt: 69):



[2] Goethe responded on 22 February 1803 (Paul Raabe, “Zwölf Goethe-Briefe,” Jahrbuch der Goethe-Gesellschaft. Neue Folge 20 (1958), 248; Fuhrmans 2:493): “The attorneys will not miss anything with regard to the dates, of that one can be quite sure; at the same time, however, it is always an uncomfortable feeling knowing oneself to be in their hands.” Back.

Translation © 2016 Doug Stott