Letter 388

• 388. Caroline to Carl Joseph Windischmann in Aschaffenburg: Würzburg, 1 December 1804 [*]

W[ürzburg], 1 December [1804]

|395| Please speak not about your conscience, for that merely causes more difficulties for Schelling’s own. These are ill times indeed as long as I must function as scribe. You must simply have patience, just as we are certainly willing to have patience with you, — albeit not with your eye problems, the news of which causes |396| us no less pain as well. [1]

Döllinger is no doubt not particularly anxious to have you review him [2] despite the fact that there is indeed considerable sympathy and symmetry between you two insofar as his wife, after giving birth to 5 little boys just as your own to 5 little girls, has just given birth to a pair of both sorts.

Enclosed is a page that has been lying around here for some time now. [3]

Schelling will write to you very soon, but I must close, since the mail is about to depart. May all of you stay well; we are sincerely hoping to hear some better news about your eyes.

Caroline Schelling


[*] Despite the occasional disruption, Schelling’s relationship with Windischmann remained cordial during this difficult time in Würzburg, as did Caroline’s with Anna Maria Windischmann in Aschaffenburg (Neueste Post. Karte von Deutschland und den angrenzenden Laendern, ed. T. Molls [Vienna 1805]):



[1] Caroline’s apology presumably refers to Schelling’s tardiness in writing to Windischmann, who was waiting for Schelling’s opinion of his book, Ideen zur Physik, part 1 (Würzburg, Bamberg 1805); Schelling’s harsh assessment came in his letter to Windischmann on 7 December 1804 (letter 388b).

References to Windischmann’s eye problems recur in coming letters. Here illustration of eye doctors, “oculists,” from a slightly earlier period. Ophthalmology was in any case still not particularly advanced ([1] Christoff Weigel, Abbildung Der Gemein-Nützlichen Haupt-Stände Von denen Regenten Und ihren So in Friedens- als Kriegs-Zeiten zugeordneten Bedienten an biß auf alle Künstler und Handwercker Nach Jede Ambts- und Beruffs-Verrichtungen meist nach dem Leben gezeichnet und in Kupfer gebracht etc. [Regenspurg 1698], illustration following p. 146; [2] the French surgeon Jacques Daviel performing the first cataract surgery in 1747 [anonymous]):




[2] The reference is to Ignaz Döllinger’s book on physiology, Grundriss der Naturlehre des menschlichen Organismus. Zum Gebrauche bey seinen Vorlesungen entworfen von Ignaz Doellinger (Bamberg 1805). Schelling had written to Windischmann on 5 September 1805 (Plitt 2:72–74, here 73; Fuhrmans 3:252–53, here 253):

Might I make a suggestion for you with respect to the Jahrbücher? Namely, to review Döllinger’s book on physiology. I can send the book to you. I am very keen on having the misunderstood material in this book’s initial principles be clarified in the Jahrbücher and indeed even in general. The author’s entanglement in his own abstractions, according to which he views the organism as purely active, has almost completely submerged in the work the fruit of the philosophy of nature as such as well as the author’s own considerable expertise.

Döllinger is aware of my opinion in this regard and himself wishes to have his book exhaustively reviewed in the Jahrbücher. A concise but interesting assessment can be done without too great an expenditure of time by explicating the erroneous elements in those principles and by drawing attention to the unique, positive findings he seems to have made, e.g., in examining the empirical issues of assimilation, secretion, etc.

Windischmann reviewed the book in Schelling and Adalbert Friedrich Marcus’s Jahrbücher der Medicin als Wissenschaft 2 (1806) no. 1, 94–109. Back.

[3] Uncertain reference. Back.

Translation © 2017 Doug Stott