Letter 383i

383i. Adalbert Friedrich Marcus to Schelling in Würzburg: Bamberg, 15 June 1804 [*]

Bamberg, 15 June 1804

Herr Count von Thürheim was here but said not a single word about either you or the university. . . .

Poor Kilian here has been terribly anxious and upset since Spazier declared that he was the author of an article contra Würzburg in his newspaper. [1] Kilian is cursing and swearing and insisting that he had no part in that essay, and is pushing for an investigation. After all is said and done, however, nothing will come of it, for even I have now become convinced that Kilian is innocent. Some unknown hand presumably misused his name. But it is not particularly pleasant to be interrogated by Spazier. —

I would bet that the whole thing has been perpetrated by a student. It would be . . . quite fun were he to reveal himself. [2] . . . There has been trouble between Frank and the students . . . Frank [3] had someone post on the university announcement board to the effect that the students in the preparatory classes would . . . prove that Sextus or Berg was incapable of comprehending or construing a philosophical system. I myself attended the disputatorium. [4] . . . I am daily becoming more convinced that without polemic one simply cannot get these people off one’s neck, or at least maintain their respect. . . .

[*] Source: Fuhrmans 3:85–87.

Intrigues, political maneuvering, sneering newspaper articles from adversaries, books critical of the philosophy of nature, and university politics, coupled with Schelling’s inability or at least unwillingness to maintain his distance or silence from such provocations, increasingly contribute to the Schellings’ dissatisfaction in Würzburg and loss of support in the Bavarian administration (“South West Germany and North Italy: The War of the Second Coalition 1798–1801,” The Cambridge Modern History Atlas, ed. A. W. Ward, G. W. Prothero, Stanley Leathes, and E. A. Ben [London 1912], map 88; [University of Texas, Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection]):



[1] Namely, in the Zeitung für die elegante Welt. Therese Huber mentions this same article in a letter to her daughter Therese Forster on 10 May 1804 (see Wilhelm Schlegel’s letter to Sophie Bernhardi on 15 May 1804 [letter 383f], note 32), suspecting that Caroline was its author. See below. Back.

[2] As if Schelling’s situation in Würzburg were not already tense enough, Marcus was now inadvertently drawing him into yet another scandal, one in which, though Schelling was not personally involved, he became tainted by association, since it was well known that Marcus had facilitated his appointment in Würzburg in any case.

To wit, Marcus himself had published an anonymous article, “News from Würzburg,” in the Zeitung für die elegante Welt (1804) 47 (Thursday, 19 April 1804), 374–75, and is obviously not being straightforward here with Schelling about the author.

In the article, Marcus remarks ironically that “the famous Bouterwek” was expected to receive an appointment in Würzburg, creating an “admixture with other scholars to counter the “dubious unity of scholarly disciplines,” moreover, that the Julius Hospital, which in its own turn was already suffering from so many inherent ills and which was seriously lacking “air, light, and space,” was determined to eliminate at least the “fools” from the institution. See supplementary appendix 383f.1.

To make matters worse, Schelling himself became involved in a minor scandal with Konrad Joseph Kilian on the occasion of the latter’s insinuation (in Kilian’s book Über die innere Organisazion der Heilkunst: Als Einleitung in meine Zeitschrift für die gesammte Medizin [Bamberg 1804], 159) that a student of Schelling’s in Jena, Ignaz Paul Vitalis Troxler, had plagiarized Schelling in a publication (Troxler’s Ideen zur Grundlage der Nosologie und Therapie [Jena 1803]). In the Intelligenzblatt of the Jenaische Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (1804), 133 [no dates in 1804], 1119–20, Troxler requested a public refutation from Schelling, which the latter did indeed provide in the Intelligenzblatt (1805) 3 (7 January 1805), 31. Back.

[3] Uncertain identity. Back.

[4] “Sextus or Berg” refers to Franz Berg. The moniker “Sextus” derives from Berg’s Sextus oder über die absolute Erkenntnis von Schelling. Ein Gespräch (Würzburg 1804); the later response was the anonymous (Johann Kaspar Götz) Anti-Sextus, oder über die absolute Erkenntnis von Schelling (Heidelberg 1807).

This same Franz Berg ignited the bitter controversy through the review, in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (1802) 225, of his book Lob der allerneuesten Philosophie (Nürnberg 1802) (Encomium for the Most Recent Philosophy), which had insinuated that Schelling had contributed to the death of Auguste in July 1800. Concerning Berg’s role as Schelling’s adversary in Würzburg, see the section in Kuno Fischer’s discussion of Bavarian Catholic opposition to Schelling. Back.

Translation © 2017 Doug Stott