Letter 395e

395e. Schelling to Carl Joseph Windischmann in Aschaffenburg: Würzburg, 27 August 1805 [*]

Würzburg, 27 August 1805

I read the review in the Leipziger Literatur-Zeitung in a society in which every volume needs at least thirty days to circulate; [1] so even if I could acquire it from the circle’s entrepreneur after it had made the rounds, it would still likely take considerable time. [2] I will inquire in a bookstore here whether the piece might be special-ordered.

In the meantime, it would probably be best if you would query Göbhardt in Bamberg, who receives this newspaper and can either send it over to you immediately or order for you on the spot. [3] It is indeed worth the trouble for you become personally acquainted with this product of the diabolical arts of falsification and lying of the sort that is admittedly becoming increasingly common, and that you yourself then present something decisive and universal against this class of literary villains.

I just finished your review of Weiller. [4] It is done in an upright, powerful, and well-rounded fashion, and pleased me better even that that of Berg. I believe all of us have had sufficient occasion to become convinced that only the most open, straightforward course of action in scholarly matters can ensure final victory in this sphere.

Friend Röschlaub found it appropriate not to visit me on his return trip, and instead to write me a letter from Bamberg replete with insolence. [5] I confess that I have long found repugnant the wholly personal and egotistical outbursts of this person. The whole idea of the Jahrbücher, which (God knows!) I conceived as nothing less than as a means to enter into rivalry with him, has put him completely beside himself; he is running around like a person possessed and griping and abusing me on every high- and byway. [6]

I have tried to keep him through patience and demonstrations of friendship, but now the matter must simply run its course, and my thinking now is that it would probably not be entirely without benefit for science were the divorce proceedings between him and me to be set in motion as well. [7] In any event, he is at least the man with whom the strength of a cause can be tested, since it has certainly been no great honor to get involved in that way with the others or previous ones. . . .

I share your joy at the increase of your household; on behalf of us both, please relate to your dear wife our joy and kind regards. [8]

It is difficult to say what catastrophes and confusion await us here. I am thinking that in the end I will probably have spent most of the time here. [9]

Commended to God by

Your true friend


[*] Sources: Plitt 2:69–70; Fuhrmans 3:237–38. Back.

[1] The reference is to the review of Windischmann’s book Ideen der Physik, vol. 1 (Würzburg, Bamberg 1805); see Schelling’s letter to Windischmann on 23 August 1805 (letter 395b).

Schelling was apparently a member of the lending and reading library in Würzburg. See Carl Gottfried Scharold, Würzburg und die umliegende Gegend, für Fremde und Einheimische kurz beschrieben (Würzburg 1805), 135–36:

Despite the popularity of reading among every class here, we have but a single lending library, namely, that kept by Herr J. B. Soelner in the Bronnbacher Hof. It consists of three thousand volumes of the most recent and best works both for serious study and light reading. Dues are 36 kr. monthly. Non-residents or persons not subscribing monthly etc. pay 3 kr. a day to check out a book. —

This lending and reading institute also includes the quite welcome arrangement whereby seventy journals, newspapers, monthlies, and weeklies covering various interests circulate constantly in town before also reaching aficionados outside town. The annual fee is 11 fl., the semi-annual fee 5 fl. 30 kr., to be paid in advance. Local members receive the publications from 5 to 5 days [?]; non-residents, however, on messenger days or through some other means.

Friends of reading interested in joining receive printed catalogues of the inventory of books, journals, etc.

The “reading society” (Lesegesellschaft) in Würzburg, on the other hand, was founded in 1803, bore the name Musäum, and was initially located in five consecutive, furnished, tastefully decorated rooms for reading and conversation in a building at Schulgasse 63 directly across the street from the university building where the Schellings’ apartment was located. It was moved at the beginning of 1805 to house no. 3 on the Market Place, then quickly again to house no. 2 on the Franziskanergasse, still just around the corner from the Schellings (upper left on the map below).

The society did in any case offer sixty to seventy journals and newspapers, though these could not, it seems, be removed from the premises (information from Carl Gottfried Scharold, Würzburg und die umliegende Gegend, für Fremde und Einheimische kurz beschrieben [Würzburg 1805], 136–37; address location for the initial building from Vollständiges Adreß-Buch der Churf. Haupt- und Residenzstadt Würzburg [Würzburg 1806], 173; map: F. Harrach and Leonhard Zertahelly, Plan Der Kreis-Hauptstadt Würzburg ]Munich 1845]):


Here the ex libris from a similar society in Stuttgart at the time (anonymous, Exlibris der stuttgartischen Lesegesellschaft [1801–1900]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Berlepsch Exlibris T. I, S. 264, Nr. 62):


The initial location in the Kapretz Building at Schulgasse 63 also housed a coffeehouse; here a contemporary coffeehouse in Leipzig (anonymous, Richters Kaffeehaus in Leipzig [ca. 1790–1800]):



[2] In his letter to Schelling on 25 August 1805 (letter 395d), Windischmann had asked Schelling to send him a copy of the journal with the review. Back.

[3] Joseph Anton Göbhardt in Bamberg, publisher of Windischmann’s Ideen zur Physik. Back.

[4] Windischmann’s review of Kajetan Weiller, Anleitung zur freyen Ansicht der Philosophie (Munich 1804), in the Jenaische Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung; see Windischmann’s letter to Schelling on 25 August 1805 (letter 395d), note 6. Back.

[5] In his letter to Schelling on 25 August 1805 (letter 395d), Windischmann mentions Andreas Röschlaub’s visit in Aschaffenburg on his, Röschlaub’s, journey from Frankfurt to Bamberg and Landshut (Post Karte Durch ganz Deutschland, ed. J. Walch [Augsburg 1795])


Windischmann assumed, incorrectly, that Röschlaub had similarly visited the Schellings in Würzburg. Schelling is referring to Röschlaub’s letter on 24 August 1805 (letter 395c). Back.

[6] Concerning the Jahrbücher der Medicin als Wissenschaft, see Caroline’s letter to Anna Maria Windischmann on 2 December 1804 (letter 388a), note 2; concerning rumors of a rivalry, see Röschlaub’s letter to Schelling on 26 January 1805 (letter 389b). Back.

[7] See Schelling’s (final) letter to Röschlaub in late September 1805 (letter 397b). Back.

[8] Windischmann’s wife, Anna Maria Windischmann, had given birth to twins on 31 July 1805, namely, Georg Karl and Anna Maria Franziska Windischmann (Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, Die berühmte Lady [1785]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Chodowiecki Sammlung [5-319]):



[9] On the day after Schelling is here writing, 28 August 1805, a special ordinance put the Austrian army on war footing in connection with the imminent war between Austria, Russia, and France, leading ultimately to the Treaty of Pressburg in December 1805, in the wake of which Caroline and Schelling ultimately left Würzburg.

With regard to Schelling’s statement here, see esp. the first section, “Mid-August 1805,” in the supplementary appendix on the Third Coalition and the Treaty of Pressburg, as well as the section August–December 1805, and, for earlier background, the editorial note there.

These geopolitical and military developments play an increasingly prominent, even determinative role in Caroline and Schelling’s lives and correspondence over the next several months. Back.

Translation © 2017 Doug Stott