Letter 383k

383k. Schelling to Carl Joseph Windischmann in Aschaffenburg: Würzburg, 26 June 1804 [*]

Würzburg, 26 June 1804

My dear friend, despite the urgent request, born as it was from my anticipatory sense of guilt, not to conclude from my silence anything more than the mechanical or intellectual impossibility of writing, you will nonetheless still not know what to think of my stubborn, obdurate, and indeed highly reprehensible silence. And you have even more reason to wonder because, contrary to all promises, I have retained for an unseemly long time the books you were so generous as to loan me.

But please be not excessively angry with me; the books will depart on tomorrow’s postal carriage, along with a copy of Bruno, on vellum, if I am not mistaken [1] — and I myself will doubtless follow shortly after them. It has hitherto been impossible for me to make that short trip; the few free days I have at the end of this week will be spent on a trip involving family matters — and yet I may well unexpectedly descend upon you with the next month or so. [2]

I have already long realized that it would be prudent, or indeed even to a certain extent my obligation, to lay the small publication at the feet of your noble prince elector — such will also be my first gesture of this sort — hence please simply let me know again (please do not be angry at this second request) what address and title are to be used. [3] . . .

Things look increasingly more colorful, even crazy here, and this wine-laden plain is indeed a pernicious nest. I spared no effort in securing Ackermann an appointment and in keeping the Loderian famulus, Herr Fuchs, away [4] — but I was unsuccessful and harvested only annoyance and vexation for my trouble. [5] Hence Ackermann may as well stay in Jena, since he likely has no great desire to be the 14th or 15th professor of medicine among so many inferior ones in any case. Perhaps this dreadful state of affairs in medicine here will soon collapse and be reorganized, which is the general wish of all who understand what is going on.

We both send our regards to you and your wife and hope you are doing well.



[*] Sources: Plitt 2:18–19; Fuhrmans 3:89–90. This letter is Schelling’s response to several earlier letters from Windischmann (not included). Back.

[1] Schelling’s Bruno; oder, Über das göttliche und natürliche Princip der Dinge: Ein Gespräch (Berlin 1802). Back.

[2] Schelling was about to take his sister, Beate Schelling, back to Murrhardt, who had accompanied Schelling and Caroline to Würzburg back in the autumn (Franz Ludwig Güssefeld, Neue und vollstaendige Post-Carte Durch ganz Deutschland [1804]; Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Cartes et plans):


Otherwise Aschaffenburg, where Windischmann was residing, is located ca. 60 km northwest of Würzburg (Neueste Post. Karte von Deutschland und den angrenzenden Laendern, ed. T. Molls [Vienna 1805]):



[3] Though Schelling and Windischmann essentially remained friends, this request unfortunately provides the occasion for Schelling to exhibit an unpleasant side of his personality that recurs in other discussions with Windischmann in succeeding letters, namely, his sometimes insufferable arrogance and self-conceit. See Windischmann’s response to this present letter on 30 June 1804 (letter 383l), and Schelling’s response to Windischmann on 14 July 1804 (letter 383n). During this same period, Caroline exchanges several letters with Windischmann’s wife, Anna Maria Windischmann. Back.

[4] See Schelling’s letter to Windischmann on 7 April 1804 (letter 383b). Back.

[5] Viz., the rebuke from Count Friedrich von Thürheim on 22 April 1804 (letter 383c). Back.

Translation © 2017 Doug Stott