Letter 401f

401f. Schelling to Carl Joseph Windischmann in Aschaffenburg: Würzburg, 17 April 1806 [*]

W[ürzburg], 17 April 1806

Beloved friend,

The end of my time here has come, and I for my person will be departing tomorrow. My wife will be remaining here until I can pick her up at a specific locale. [1] All the agitation of moving from a place where one has lived for several years, along with several scholarly pieces I wanted to finish, have taken up so much of my time that for several weeks this has been the only moment I have found in which, with poor quill, I can say valet to you. [2]

I have written an essay for the Weltseele — which will now be appearing at the book fair — which I consider the best thing of this sort that has emerged from my spirit in a long time now. At the very least, it is again sincere and fresh philosophy of nature. [3]

Your Plotinus is still here; I recommended it to Caroline, but if you want it immediately, just write; otherwise it will come in 14 days with Schott. [4] . . .

Stay well, happy, and healthy. I still hope that we can see each other before I take leave of this area entirely. Regardless of where fate may take me, however, let us hold fast to each other and to what is right. Write to me or also to Caroline, but only to the address here, and do give my regards to your excellent wife. [5]



[*] Sources: Plitt 2:84; Fuhrmans 3:326. Back.

[1] Although Fuhrmans 3:327 suggests that Schelling probably left Würzburg on 17 April (the date of this letter), Schelling himself remarks here that he would not be leaving until the following day (18 April). Caroline departed Würzburg for Munich on 20 (22?) May 1806, and Schelling seems to have met her in Dachau, northwest of Munich (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]; A. von Coulon, Post-Karte von Post-Karte von Baiern [Munich 1810]):




[2] Latin, from valeo, here as a traditional epistolary closing, “Fare well.” Back.

[3] The essay, “Über das Verhältniß des Realen und Idealen in der Natur, oder Entwicklung der ersten Grundsätze der Naturphilosophie an den Principien der Schwere und des Lichts” (“On the relationship between the real and the ideal in nature, or a development of the initial principles of the philosophy of nature with reference to the principles of gravity and light”), was included in the second, revised edition (1806) of Schelling’s Von der Weltseele, eine Hypothese der höheren Physik zur Erklärung des allgemeinen Organismus (“On the world soul, a hypothesis of higher physics explaining the universal organism”) (Hamburg 1806), xvii–liv.


Schelling was pleased with the piece notwithstanding that it had been composed during an extraordinarily unsettled time in Würzburg with respect to both geopolitical and personal circumstances. Back.

[4] The reference is to a translated excerpt from Plotinus that Windischmann had sent Schelling on 29 August 1805 when returning the special printing of Schelling’s aphorisms, which Schelling had sent him (Fuhrmans 3:241); Windischmann had thought the aphorisms similar to Plotinus’s thought. Despite repeated requests, Schelling never returned it, and it is still in Schelling’s literary estate.

Not the Tübingen professor Andreas Heinrich Schott (17 February 1758–20 February 1831) is meant, who was appointed professor of theoretical philosophy in Tübingen in 1798, ending Schelling and Schelling’s father’s thoughts about Schelling possibly being appointed to that position. Caroline refers to Schott’s house in Würzburg in her letter to Schelling on 30 April–1 May 1806 (letter 405), and he is there similarly described as a “young husband.” Erich Schmidt, (1913) 2:653, points out that Schott was in any case not associated with the university in Würzburg. Back.

[5] It is worth noting that, the day before his departure from Würzburg, Schelling does indeed find time to say farewell to his friend Windischmann, with whom but a year earlier he had had such a rocky relationship. See the editorial note to Schelling’s letter to Windischmann on 5 September 1805. Back.

Translation © 2017 Doug Stott