Letter 381e

381e. Georg Friedrich von Zentner to Schelling in Würzburg: Munich, 22 November 1803 [*]

Munich, 22 November 1803

I was quite sorry not to have been able to effect the transfer of the university in Würzburg to Bamberg as your esteemed Sir and several other of your worthy colleagues, together with Count von Thürheim, had wished. [1] But if one but has patience at the beginning, the rest will fall into place!

The Allgemeine Zeitung, as you know, will now be published in Ulm. [2] I spoke with Cotta here, and his reasons for wanting to proceed discreetly in Würzburg with respect to his project do seem to me — without going into specifics concerning personalities — cogent, at least for a bookseller.

The Elegante Zeitung [3] has published some rather inelegant reviews of several opponents of your own system. You will no doubt disapprove with me of such — I would like for you to be both acknowledged and respected in Germany as the calm, dispassionate seeker of truth, i.e., as the true philosopher you are and which I myself have come to know in you. [4]

With these sentiments of the utmost respect and with sincere devotion I remain

Your esteemed Sir’s
most obedient servant,


[*] Source: Fuhrmans 3:26–27. Back.

[1] Caroline intimated her own preference for Bamberg in her letter to Luise Wiedemann from Murrhardt on 5 June 1803 (letter 379); Schelling’s preference derived from the professional possibilities associated with the Bamberg General Hospital and doubtless the reception he himself had enjoyed in Bamberg back in the summer of 1800 (Neueste Post. Karte von Deutschland und den angrenzenden Laendern [Vienna 1805]):



[2] Therese Huber was awaiting this news, namely, that the newspaper would forthwith be published in Ulm, with her husband, Ludwig Ferdinand Huber, as editor; see her letter to Schelling in November 1803 (letter 381d). Concerning the newspaper’s move, see her letter to Therese Forster on 17 September 1803 (letter 381a), note 1. Back.

[3] I.e., the Zeitung für die elegante Welt, ed. by Karl Spazier. Back.

[4] Such would unfortunately not be the case. See Fuhrmans 3:27fn2:

Schelling’s overall situation in the years 1803–6 was characterized not least by the vehement press campaign repeatedly waged against him from various quarters. On the one hand, there was the Munich Oberdeutsche allgemeine Litteraturzeitung, in which repeatedly — indeed, in virtually every issue — the Munich Enlightenment theologians Jakob Salat and Kajetan Weiller (rector of the Munich Gymnasium) published derisive, contemptuous reviews.

Yet another Enlightenment-oriented source opposing the Romantic awakening was Der neue Teutsche Merkur founded by Christoph Martin Wieland and now edited by Karl August Böttiger, and especially August von Kotzebue’s Der Freimüthige [in Berlin]. In their own turn, the Romantics, especially Wilhelm Schlegel, had access to Spazier’s Zeitung für die elegante Welt, which became involved in frequent controversies with Der Freimüthige. . . .

The Zeitung für die elegante Welt (1803) 117 (Thursday, 29 September 1803), 930–31, published the piece “Literarische Merkwürdigkeit aus München,” a satire of Kajetan Weiller’s book Der Geist der allerneuesten Philosophie der Herren Schelling, Hegel und Kompagnie: Eine Uebersetzung aus der Schulsprache in die Sprache der Welt . . . Zum Gebrauche für das gebildetere Publikum überhaupt, vol. 1 (Munich 1803). The book was called “a kind of rabies extract perfumed with eau de lavande [lavender water],” “a disgusting admixture of empty . . . school assertions and saccharine jests”; “the good gentleman from Munich is . . . not quite in his right mind.”

Jacob Salat was treated similarly in “Etwas Literarisches aus Baiern. An den Herausgeber,” Zeitung für die elegante Welt (1803) 130 (Saturday, 29 October 1803), 1037–38: “It is the sweetly insipid Salat . . . he and his worthy colleague Weiller . . . are trying with all their might to elevate their ego-ness to universality by means of the Oberdeutsche Literaturzeitung. What a shame that anyone . . . even listens to such prattle! They are joined . . . by their good Socher in Landshut, their kindred spirit, a man of insufferable self-importance and arrogance.” — Von Zentner apparently suspected that Schelling’s followers were behind such reviews.

See in this regard Caroline’s letter to Luise Wiedemann on 8—17 September 1803 (letter 381), note 39. Because these journalistic battles occupy such considerable space in Schelling’s correspondence during these years, a general reference to them here must suffice in lieu of translations of the correspondence itself except where Caroline makes specific references in her own letters.

In any event, such boisterous, self-righteous, at times infantile academic squabbling was precisely what Zentner and others in Munich were concerned with thwarting (Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, “Die Philosophen” [The philosophers], Illustrationen zu Erasmus’ Lob der Narrheit in sechs Abteilungen [1780]; Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum; Museums./Signatur DChodowiecki WB 3.31):



Translation © 2017 Doug Stott