Letter 382f

382f. Schelling to Goethe in Weimar: Würzburg, 17 March 1804 [*]

Würzburg, 17 March 1804

. . . You can, esteemed Geheimer Rath, easily enough imagine our other circumstances here. — Because there was no consistency in the initial appointments, nor could there be, what has emerged is a university composed of an extremely disparate and rather remarkably assembled collection of appointees. That said, however, one has gradually become more secure against the threat of inferior company. At first everyone flocked to the new institution, viewing it as a safe haven, and the machinations of selfishness did indeed enjoy considerable and extremely animated free-play amid such indeterminate circumstances.

For example, Professor Paulus, among others, had the effrontery to demand a professorship in medicine for his brother-in-law; though things did not succeed quite that far, he was accepted and appointed a private lecturer. [1]

Given the unconditional spirit of progress within the government, one can — even should that spirit occasionally, in certain individuals, tend in a false direction — doubtless anticipate that extraordinary things will be realized, albeit only over the course of time. The personal characteristics of our head administrator, Count von Thürheim, his receptivity and correct assessment even of scholarly plans and ideas, as well as his charming ability to win over hearts as well as minds, provide for us all a secure surety for the future. — From the very outset he has dealt especially with me with an extraordinary degree of trust and has also demonstrated considerable favor toward me.

There are, of course, those who look askance at such, nor is there any lack of effort to diminish his favorable disposition toward me; but his steadfast character has hitherto rendered such attempts unsuccessful. [2] If on the appropriate occasion you might be so gracious and also be so inclined, assuming, off course, that you yourself, as I do hope is the case, are so persuaded, to put in a word or two to the effect that I do indeed merit such trust and am proceeding with the best of intentions with respect to all scholarly matters, such an attestation on your part might indirectly promote some favorable developments in this regard.


[*] Sources: Goethe und die Romantik 1:239–40; Fuhrmans 3:63. Back.

[1] Karl Paulus ended up occupying the apartment on the fourth story of the Borgias Building originally intended for Schelling and Caroline when they decided to remain in their original apartment (Neuester Plan der Kreishauptstadt Würzburg, mit nächster Umgebung und Angabe der Stadt Strassenbau-Projecte [n.d.]):


As illustrated above, the Borgias Building was directly behind the Neubaukirche. In the illustration below, Schelling’s auditorium is located immediately above the ground-floor library in the edifice adjoining the church on the left, his and Caroline’s apartment on the two floors above that (Historisches Album der Stadt Würzburg. Zweiunddreissig photographische Ansichten, ed. V. Jos. Stahgel, introd. Franz X. Wegel [Würzburg 1867], illus. 15):



[2] Schelling was, however, already falling from favor with Count von Thürheim. Back.

Translation © 2017 Doug Stott