Letter 377e

377e. Schelling to Wilhelm Schlegel in Berlin: Jena, 13 May 1803 [*]

[Jena] 13 May 1803

. . . The suggestion was not that the sum had to be paid out to Caroline immediately. [1] Tieck can pay it to Frommann at his convenience, who in any event will be taking care of several things here for us.

The consistory in Weimar seems intent on expressing its guile by not publishing the duke’s resolution. [2] Caroline at least has received no news yet in that regard, which is extremely annoying. [3]

After the publication you will be receiving all the necessary information from your attorney. [4]

Caroline already wrote you earlier about the memorial. [5] You cannot misinterpret it in any way if she wishes to reserve this purely for herself and wants solely to follow her own feelings with respect to it. You will thus make do with the wish Caroline herself expressed. —

Goethe was out of town when the drawings were last sent to him; [6] he has been back only since yesterday, so will probably be receiving them only today.

For the middle bas-relief, Caroline would like a different concept, with whose composition Tieck too, was not yet satisfied. It does not express her idea, since she does not view the memorial as a means to express her own grief, preferring instead to view it only as the beloved child’s final earthly adornment. And indeed there is something not quite pure and beautiful in this narrative and incident compared with that particular intention. [7] According to his initial statement, Goethe would certainly be willing to help, and even to compose the inscription if we wish.

Please be so kind as to encourage its completion among the myriad other work distractions Tieck has in Weimar. — Caroline will still be able to approve of the drawings in any case, since we will be staying in Swabia until the middle of August even should the war for now not make further travel impossible. [8]

I know not whether I already wrote that in the case that we do indeed make the journey, and should the 600 Thaler that you currently have not be sufficient for executing the memorial, Cotta has been instructed to cover the balance. [9]

In the hope that you will assure me that our cordial relationship will continue through future letters and missives (as I hope you will permit me to do in my own turn), let me ask that you address your next letters (insofar as we are thinking about departing before the end of next week) to the “Prelature Murrhardt via Stuttgart,” or, since letters to the Empire from Berlin take such long detours, [10] to send them directly to Frommann to forward.

If one reads Ion on the title page backward, it reads “No.1,” and in that case one already has a presage of the future sequence of your works. [11]

May I yet have the pleasure in Germany of enjoying some of the fruits of your spirit!

At the occasion of the book fair, I will take the liberty of having an issue of the Kritisches Journal sent to you with a short essay on Dante, and a copy of my lectures on academic study. [12]

This is all I was able to produce amid the distractions of lecturing last winter and those of preparing for our departure this spring.

May the next stretch of leisure time that I am hoping to enjoy bring to fruition products of a general sort!

Stay well and remember cordially your true and sincere admirer



[*] Sources: Plitt 1:460–62; Fuhrmans 2:502–4. — When Schelling wrote this letter, he had not yet received Wilhelm Schlegel’s letter of 7 May 1803 (letter 377d); moreover, Wilhelm’s letter to which this one is the response is also missing. Back.

[1] Presumably a financial settlement as reflected at the end of Schelling’s letter to Wilhelm on 22 April 1803 (letter 377b), or, perhaps more likely, the sum indicated earlier in that letter in connection with the memorial for Auguste. See below. Back.

[2] Granting Wilhelm and Caroline’s divorce petition (letter/document 371). Back.

[3] The resolution was published on 17 May 1803. Back.

[4] This alert was indeed forthcoming. Back.

[5] I.e., to assume all costs for the memorial for Auguste; see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm in June 1802 (letter 365). See also the gallery on the initial and final renderings for Auguste’s memorial. Back.

[6] Goethe had traveled to Lauchstädt on 3 May 1803 to check on various theater matters, then also to Halle, Merseburg, and Naumburg. He returned to Weimar on 12 May, Schelling visited him in Weimar on 15 May, dining with Goethe and Schiller at the midday meal. Finally, Goethe traveled to Jena that same day (with Schelling? Weimarer Ausgabe 3:3:72–73) (Ludwig Ravenstein, Atlas des Deutschen Reichs [Leipzig 1883], no. 5):



[7] Johann Gottfried Schadow had proposed a portrayal of Hades with the figure of Niobe grieving for her children (see Schleiermacher’s letter to Wilhelm on 6 December 1800 [letter 276c]), a motif Caroline rejected. The themes of the bas-relief were then also changed. Back.

[8] Concerning the war, see Schelling’s letter to Wilhelm on 22 April 1803 (letter 377b), note 1. Back.

[9] Schelling had indeed mentioned this eventuality in his letter to Wilhelm on 22 April 1803 (letter 377b). Back.

[10] I.e., letters to locales outside immediate Prussian territory. See Adalbert Friedrich Marcus’s letter to Schelling on 30 April 1803 (letter 377c), note 7. Back.

[11] The published version of Wilhelm’s play, which had premiered in Weimar on 2 January 1802, did not appear until 1803: Ion: ein Schauspiel (Hamburg 1803). Wilhelm had included a copy in his letter to Schelling, which Schelling mentions at the beginning of this letter (not included here). Wilhelm published no more plays. Back.

[12] Schelling’s “Ueber Dante in philosophischer Beziehung,” Kritisches Journal der Philosophie 2 (1803) no. 3:35–50. This issue (the final one) also, however, contained what were apparently Caroline’s own remarks on Karl August Böttiger.

In 1803, Easter fell on 10 April; the Leipzig “Jubilate” book fair took place three weeks later, i.e., on 1 May.

Schelling’s lectures on academic study were his Vorlesungen über die Methode des akademischen Studium [sic] (Tübingen 1803), given as lectures during the summer semester 1802 (On University Studies, trans. E. S. Morgan [Athens, Ohio 1966]). Back.

Translation © 2016 Doug Stott