Letter 409

• 409. Caroline to Schelling in Munich: Würzburg, 9–10 May 1806

[Würzburg] Friday, 9[–10] May [1806]

|453| Today I received your aphorisms as a kind of introduction to my trip, my most amiable friend, and now have such good directions that I am like someone who has been shown the way — “then turn right, then left” — but whose power of imagination simply cannot catch up, and who therefore, though doubtless shown the proper way, resolves to keep solely his goal in mind, focusing only on how, with God’s help, he can reach it. Among all possible places of lodging, only one |454| can truly restore me, and that is when I finally reach your arms. [1]

As for the other, I will see to it that I implement one of the previously discussed plans properly and efficiently. [2] Madam Liebeskind has not yet answered me, and I am not bound to anything insofar as I already wrote to her again a couple of days ago that you had advised me to travel by way of Augsburg, which had thus obviated my own modest considerations — I was also prudent enough to prohibit her in any event from doing me the same degree of honor as you. But I will probably be traveling by way of Ansbach and have given Madam Liebeskind instructions to secure a carriage from there. Köhler would very much like to go along far as Augsburg; nous verrons. [2a]

[Business matters. Schelling’s crates.] Ah, how deliciously will your diminutive wife respect this somewhat neglected small sofa from now on! And by the way, worry not, I will certainly know how to have fun with such proper, efficient economizing; I have doubtless not entirely lost this talent. But what about you? —

The only thing I would really like is that for the time being we be able to have our food prepared, and that I be able to enjoy the same carefree manner one enjoys on the journey itself. And where, in any case, would you get access to kitchen facilities? Or do you have one of those in which one can turn fire into water? [3]

Yesterday while I was sitting in the twilight and waiting for tea, I hear a knock on the door; [3a] I call out several times — and rather loudly — “Come in,” but then must go to the door myself, where I find — Gries, who unfortunately had not heard my “Come in.” [3b] Well, you can easily enough imagine the surprise on my part. Because he thought we had long departed, he had already spent several hours with Paulus before hearing from them, or rather overhearing, that I was still here, whereupon he promptly hastened to me and, when my old tea machine was brought, he almost embraced it out of sheer, tender gratitude |455| for all the good cups of tea. [4]

He has gotten quite fat and looks like a gnome if one were to dress it in a linen shirt and an elegant English cloth coat. He says Jena is now utterly unbearable, that everything there is now lifeless and gloomy. Of course, he himself will be going to Heidelberg. [5] Apparently he spent the entire winter in a sort of lethargy. [6] Schelver was living in a single room with his wife and otherwise with no one else. Hegel was basically managing, no one could really say how. [7] He himself now simply set forth out of despair; [8] a bit of this may be attributable to the subject himself, for the dear fellow is now quite deaf, which is probably also the reason he has gotten so corpulent.

Goethe was very ill several times during the past winter, suffering from the old cramps caused by the destruction of one of his two kidneys. He is aware of his condition and once remarked to the younger Voss, who sees him daily: “If only heaven would bestow upon me the healthy kidneys of one of the Russians who died in the battle of Austerlitz!” Voss did not know whether to weep or laugh at this wish. The physicians maintain that he can nonetheless live quite a long time with only half a kidney. [9]

It occurred to me to inquire concerning Sonnenberg, and things are essentially just as we thought. He was crazy and living with the pastor in Drakendorf; the Ziegesars referred to him merely as Herr von Sonnen-stroke. After he had gotten even worse and was being held locked up in his room, he jumped out the window and was unfortunate enough to land on palisades, which pierced him straight through his heart, but also fortunate enough to die immediately. A friend from Leipzig, Dr. Grupe or something like that, wrote the beautiful eulogy in the Halle Zeitung. But his poems are allegedly nothing but pure prose and craziness, one after the other. [10]

|456| After Gries had refreshed himself for a while, he went back to see Paulus, where he had an invitation. Today Shylock paid me an extremely honette compliment. [11] He was going to the library, I was in the window directing those taking care of the barrel [Bedding]. [12] Klein ate with Lurz yesterday — who knew the entire story with Shylok. I do remember that you had told it to someone or other who would doubtless pass it on — but I no longer remember who it was.

Lurz remarked that you paid him quite properly — and then he praised both you and me as well! Indeed, when one comes and goes, everything is fine, but in between, expectations fall asleep. The entire endowment office has been exquisitely courteous to me. I just wish they would demonstrate it a bit more actively. [13] But you are hesitating so long with the petition that in the final analysis it cannot possibly get resolved before my departure. [14] The trustee, who visited me today, said that I ought simply to draw it up myself, since it will have to come before the minister and then it might be too late. [15] [Business matters.]

Fuchs writes that Marcus is inquiring a great deal about you, and is doing so with genuine interest, and he also told him that the count, before he went to Ansbach, also inquired with considerable goodwill just how things stood with your position, remarking that if you would put forth even a small bit of effort you would certainly be appointed to the Academy with a salary of 2000 fl.; there would in any case be no delay in the maintenance of your previous salary. Fuchs, too, repeated the same utterances from the count that Marcus reported. [16]

10 May

[Moving arrangements.] Crate no. 1 contains your books, with about 40 more still here, including Plato and Böhme; |457| your papers are also in there — you can open this one without me if you want. The small crate contains the pictures: yours and Auguste’s. . . .

Klein is making an enormous contribution to my efforts in all sorts of ways and is well on his way to martyrdom. Several favorably inclined members of the department proposed awarding someone the doctorate on the present occasion and suggested Klein as by far the most worthy candidate. Fischer then remarked that they could not possibly make someone a doctor who had declared support for a “sect” [17] — he, Wagner, and Rückert did not come to the advisory meeting. But here Metz objected in the most uncouth fashion, prescribing certain conditions that all the others rejected but which he entered into the protocol as his expressed opinion. Andress vehemently contradicted him, but when the discussion turned to the matter of non-compensation, he would have none of it. [18] The final resolution was that if Klein would pay 100 fl. and present a treatise, he could receive the doctorate. But he does not want to have to do that, and it would be nice of you if you could bring it about in Jena, where he would rather pay 72 fl. than 100 here for it. [19]

Seuffert was supposed to be sent to Munich, and everything seemed settled. — But now he is not going after all, but rather a certain Herr von Frankenstein. I suspect that the Bavarians rejected him, since she mentioned that the Bavarians had paid her husband the compliment [20] that he alone would cause them embarrassment in a legation position. You should write to him soon.

Jesus Mary Joseph! The 270 fl. from Krüll genuinely did just arrive. I will be sure to put them under my pillow every night. Krüll has requested that I alert His Excellency My Spouse about it soon, so I am herewith requesting that Said Excellency relate to Herr Krüll that I have done just that. [21]

|458| I am assuming you will see to it that there is a full supply of wood in the house as well as a bed frame, 1 table, a chest of drawers that can be locked, and a chair.

I will wait till tomorrow at the latest. Tomorrow evening, if I do not have your petition, I will draw up one myself and turn it in the following morning. Today is again one of my bad, indeed extremely bad days — I can hardly even open my eyes to see. Everyone has said I will not be well again until I am once again with you. [22]

Gries told me about Ritter’s crazy speech. [23]

I will bring a small quantity of coffee along with me — since it is doubtless even more expensive in Munich than here.

Your letter with the petitions just arrived; very good. That which I cannot tell you today about the particular modum of my journey, [24] I will tell you tomorrow. But I want to go ahead and get this letter off quickly.


[1] Gynäologie: Erstes Supplement oder XIV. Bändchen; Die Kunst mit Weibern glücklich zu seyn; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung:


The initial installment of aphorisms was the “Aphorismen zur Einleitung in die Naturphilosophie von Schelling,” Jahrbücher der Medicin als Wissenschaft1 (1805) no. 1, 3–88.

Caroline is here referring to the second installment, which appeared in early May 1806 (see also her letter to Carl Joseph Windischmann on 14 May 1806 [letter 412]) and bore the title “Aphorismen über Naturphilosophie von Schelling: Der Naturphilosophie Erster oder Allgemeiner Theil; A. Von dem Wesen der Natur; der Wirklichkeit der Dinge; der Materie und der Bewegung,” aphorisms i–xcv, Jahrbücher der Medicin als Wissenschaft1 (1806) no.2, 3–36 (Sämmtliche Werke 7:198–220).

See also Caroline’s letter to Carl Joseph Windischmann on 31 October 1805 (letter 398), note 1. Back.

[2] These plans have in extant letters nowhere been spelled out precisely. See Caroline’s letter to Schelling on 30 April–1 May 1806 (letter 405), with note 4. Back.

[2a] Fr., “we will see.” Back.

[3] Anonymous, “Küche” (“Kitchen”), ca. 18/19th century:


“Turn fire into water”: perhaps an allusion to the thinking of Jakob Böhme, with whom Schelling was already so intimately familiar? Back.

[3a] Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, study of woman reading from 1779; Rijksmuseum:



[3b] Ilustration of the proper form of greeting before entering a residence (Die Haushaltung [1780]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Uh 4° 47 [130]):



[4] I.e., for all the cups of tea he had previously enjoyed with Caroline in Jena; Gries greatly admired Caroline and was a close friend of the Schlegels there (Chodowiecki, Titelvignette zu Bunsen’s Siegfried von Lindenberg [1790]; Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum; Museums./Signatur DChodowiecki AB 3.850):



[5] Gries was relocating from Jena to Heidelberg (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]; illustration: Pieter Hendricksz Schut, Heidelberg [ca. 1639–90]; Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum; Museums./Signatur PHSchut Kopie AB 3.23):




[6] Johann Diederich Gries had already visited Caroline earlier in Würzburg, apparently several times. See her letter to Beate Gross on 2 September 1804 (letter 387), esp. note 15 there.

During 1805 Gries had finished volume 2 of his translation of Ariosto, which was finally published at the Michaelmas book fair during the autumn of 1805 (Orlando furioso [1516, 1532], trans. Johann Diederich Gries as Rasender Roland , 4 vols. [Jena 1804–8]). Over the course of the spring and summer of 1805, Gries, who had a convivial nature, had been distracted from the translation because of his active social life in Jena, a situation that changed, however, during that autumn.

Elise Campe, Aus dem Leben J. D. Gries, 57–59, 74, picks up the narrative that provides a commentary to Caroline’s comments here, in connection with which one might point out that Gries never married, i.e., remained a lifelong bachelor (“Der Hagestolz” [“The bachelor”], from the Allmanach auf das Jahr nach der gnadenreichen Geburt Jesu Christi 1786; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):


The autumn of 1805 again brought not inconsiderable changes for Jena that Gries, too, keenly felt. The newly organized university in Heidelberg was drawing the best faculty away from Jena, just as Würzburg had done two years earlier. Fries had already accepted an appointment that spring, and although he was not really part of the more intimate circle of Gries’s acquaintances, they had nonetheless long been acquainted. Ackermann, Loder’s replacement [in Jena], similarly departed, and finally also Thibaut, whose loss most grieved Gries insofar as he had enjoyed a quite close relationship with both Thibaut himself and his family through their love of music.

(Gustav Heinrich Schneider, Die Burschenschaft Germania zu Jena [Jena 1897], 17; Theodor Körner at the piano in August 1813, the night before he fell in battle; see the biogram of his sister, Emma Körner):


And in August, the younger Voss, too, had departed for Heidelberg, [Johann Christian Jakob] Spangenberg had completed his studies, and [Christian Gerhard] Overbeck [1784–1846] and [Friedrich Adolph von] Kamptz [1786–1858], both of whom lived in the same house as Gries, similarly moved to Heidelberg. Gries was especially attached to Kamptz, indeed, these relationships with his younger friends had become extremely important to him. These were the last friends with whom he was yet able to continue the former, more carefree student’s life at least to a certain extent.

After their departure, he felt more abandoned than ever, and had to admit that he felt himself on the path toward becoming a proper philistine. . . .

(Jena students enjoy an evening together in 1760; illustration from Ernst Borkowsky, Das alte Jena und seine Universität [Jena 1908], 107):


Ed. note: the association of the term “philistine” with someone comfortably indifferent to or even scornful of the arts and culture originally derived from a confrontation between university students and townspeople — “philistines” — in Jena itself in the 17th century (Ernst Borkowsky, Das alte Jena und seine Universität [Jena 1908], 10, 87):

Students were wont to call the guards at the town gates “ape keepers,” and during one encounter on this count in 1624 the townsfolk in fact killed a student. The general superintendent Götze delivered the funeral sermon on the text “Philistines upon you” [Judges 16:9–20], and quickly at all the German universities all the enemies of youthful ebullience and boisterousness were thereafter labeled as “philistines.”

Students looked down on the philistine with the same contempt with which the aristocracy and administrative official looked down on the war-ravaged citizenry. Students knew that the princes treated their university like a pet child, and that this child was also protected by the privilege of academic legality.

As seen esp. in this present correspondence, the term gradually came to be applied to more ostensibly genteel members of the bourgoisie who were, however, perceived as being broadly stuck in a self-satisifed, arguably superficial and pedestrian cultural and intellectual stasis.

The narrative of Gries’s life now continues:

Most of his friends were now dispersed to the four winds for the sake of pursuing their more practical professional lives, and his relationships with them, given these circumstances, could not remain the same with respect to the emotional intimacy the poetic nature of our friend would have preferred. . . . The departure of most of the foreign students from Jena, and the complete dissolution of this former carefree lifestyle, seemed to him to constitute the loss of everything he held dear in Jena, and the strict path the administration was now rigorously following could not provide any hope for change in Jena, at least for now. And yet Gries himself remained. . . .

We can only view the disquiet that befell our friend during the spring of 1806 and prompted him to move to Heidelberg as a favorable gesture from heaven of which even he was not aware; for how much worry and anxiety, perhaps even danger did he thus escape, and how vehemently would the misfortune of his beloved Jena during the frightful October days of that year have disturbed him!

Although Gries did indeed move to Heidelberg and was presumably visiting Caroline on his journey there, he later returned to his beloved Jena just as he always had ([1] Ernst Borkowsky, Das alte Jena und seine Universität [Jena 1908], 247; [2] Heinrich Schneider, Die Burschenschaft Germania zu Jena [Jena 1897], 151):




[7] Hegel and Schelling had been together in Jena from early 1801 till May 1803, when Schelling and Caroline departed for Würzburg. The Kritisches Journal der Philosophie that Hegel and Schelling edited together between 1802 and 1803 ceased with Schelling’s departure. Hegel continued lecturing privately, albeit for quite modest fees, hoping eventually to receive a faculty appointment, and during 1805–6 was lecturing on the history of philosophy and working on what would become his Phänomenologie des Geistes (System der Wissenschaft: Erster Theil, die Phänomenologie des Geistes [Bamberg, Würzburg 1807]). Though he had his coterie of followers, some quite loyal, he seems not to have made any more noteworthy impression on the students as a whole, as had Schelling. Until Gries’s departure for Heidelberg, the two seem to have been on good terms as acquaintances.

Hegel was, however, finally appointed professor extraordinarius in February 1805, and on 1 July 1806 — over a year later, and after Caroline’s letter here — drew his first (and last) salary of 100 Thaler.

During this same period, he drew up a plan for a critical journal to counter some of the contemporary journals whose direction and quality he did not highly value, to be called Maximen des Journals der Deutschen Literatur. Although Hegel announced that the journal would begin in July 1807, the events of October 1806 in Jena precluded such an undertaking (Karl Rosenkranz, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegels Leben (Berlin 1844), 146–227).

Additional referenes appear later in this correspondence about Hegel in connection with those events, not least concerning the manuscript of his Phänomenologie des Geistes. Back.

[8] This particular stop in Würzburg is not covered in Elise Campe’s Aus dem Leben J. D. Gries, allegedly because his diary entries cease before this period. Back.

[9] Caroline is referring — with surprising accuracy — to remarks the younger Johann Heinrich Voss had made in a letter in January 1806 (cited in P. J. Möbius, Goethe, vol. 2 [Leipzig 1903], 135):

Caroline: “wenn mir der Himmel nur die gesunden Nieren von einem der Russen bescherte, die in der Schlacht von Austerlitz geblieben sind!”

Voss: “Wenn mir doch der liebe Gott eine von den gesunden Russennieren schenken wollte, die zu Austerlitz gefallen sind!”

Voss remarks (Goethe’s garden house in 1777 with the surrounding park in Weimar by Rudolf Ridel, in Wilhelm Bode, Damals in Weimar [Jena 1912], 56):

Goethe is not as he should be. His kidneys are probably disorganized [viz., not in order]. His urine has blood in it daily, and often he cannot urinate at all, and is then quite ill. I myself believe that although he can indeed reach old age, he will never again be fully healthy. May God preserve his cheerful disposition for him. He recently said, “If only the good Lord would bestow upon me one of the healthy Russian kidneys who died at Austerlitz!” He assiduously attends the theater, and also goes for a walk each day in the park.


Paul Julius Möbius, writing in 1903, comments (Goethe, vol. 2 [Leipzig 1903], 135–36):

These painful attacks are what primarily preoccupy Goethe during the years 1805 and 1806. We learn from Goethe himself that the issue was kidney trouble. Because the younger H. Voss adds [above] that Goethe’s urine contained blood, the most probable diagnosis, apart from extraneous causes, is that of kidney stones. Concretions form in the kidneys that can cause bloody lesions and pain; such can enter into the ureter, become stuck, and cause tremendous pain. They can similarly cause disruptions in the ureter canals. Drinking wine is the most frequent cause of kidney stones. That Goethe was a prolific wine drinker accords with these considerations. We must point out, however, that no stone or fragments of stones were ever passed, and it is similarly striking that Goethe felt better from the shaking caused when riding and traveling in a carriage, which usually prompts such painful attacks. So no clear diagnosis is really possible here.

Concerning Goethe’s life in a broader sense at this time, see J. G. Robertson, The Life and Work of Goethe [London 1932], 226–27; illustration: Johann Christian Reinhart, Goethe und Schiller im Gespräch [1804]):

The death of Schiller made a deep incision in Goethe’s life, deeper perhaps than might have been expected in view of the limitations to their intimacy. But the stage of their friendship which meant most for both poets was obviously that of which the correspondence has little to tell us, the last years, when Schiller was Goethe’s immediate neighbour in Weimar, and the need for letters had disappeared.

Schiller did perhaps find his way to Goethe’s heart to a degree which is not to be read out of their correspondence; his death certainly left a blank which no other of his contemporaries was able to fill.


From 1805 onwards Goethe’s life took on soberer hues; he began visibly to grow old. As we have seen, he had himself been seriously ill in those tragic May days [1805] when Schiller died; indeed, he had never been more perilously near to death’s door since the catastrophe that brought his Leipzig student days to a close than he was now. Christiane was unwearying in her devotion to him; and he never forgot it. It helped to stay the widening of the breach between them. His recovery was accelerated by his old panacea for the ills of life: travel and change of scene.

In the late autumn of 1805 he paid a visit to Helmstedt and Brunswick; he was accompanied by the author of the famous Prolegomena to Homer, Friedrich August Wolf, between whom and the poet a warm friendship sprang up; and on the way home he sought out the old patriarch of German letters, the poet Gleim, in Magdeburg.

(Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):


In the years that followed, Goethe was frequently and often seriously ill — he suffered from abdominal and kidney trouble — and in the summers he regularly betook himself to drink the waters at spas such as Karlsbad, Marienbad, and Teplitz [Töplitz]. Here, too, away from Weimar, he was able to forget for a while in pleasant company the darkening political horizon; and in Jena, where he retained a room for himself, he constantly sought refuge from the irksome formalities and distractions of court life. Back.

[10] Sonnenberg was living in Jena rather than Drakendorf at the time of his death (Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, Blasius Stürtzt im finstern von einem zweyten Stock herunter [1775]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Uh 4° 47 [38]):


Caroline is referring to Johann Gottfried Gruber’s lengthy and eloquent “Nekrolog: Franz Anton Freyherr von Sonnenberg,” which appeared in the Intelligenzblatt of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (1806) 39 (Saturday, 8 March 1806), 305–12, i.e., filling the entire issue (N.B.: the Halle Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, not the Jenaische Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung; it is of some interest that Caroline was apparently still reading the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung.)

At the end of 1806, Gruber then reviewed Sonnenberg’s Donatoa: Epopöie, vols. 1 and 2 (Halle 1806) in consecutive issues of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (1806) 302 (Monday, 22 December 1806), 537–44; 303 (Tuesday, 23 December 1806), 545–50; 304 (Wednesday, 24 December 1806), 553–60; 305 (Wednesday, 24 December 1806), 561–65. Gruber begins the first installment of this multi-issue review with a few similar words about Sonnenberg:

The first half of the work of a young poet that prompted such anticipation upon its announcement in no. 39 of the Intelligenzblatt of this journal, a poet whose passing came much too early for the world of art, is now available to us, and our task is to apply to it the standard of rigorous criticism. No easy task considering that how much uncertainty still obtains concerning the theory of the epos, and considering that what we have here is the rare work of an unusual genius who died hoping to have assured himself an immortal place in the hearts of posterity.

Nothing is more natural than to pay no attention to such considerations, but also nothing more unreasonable and simultaneously oppressive for the distinguished among the striving spirits among us than to know that they may not be remembered with respect and love after their own passing.

Although criticism should not for that reason practice forbearance, it should nonetheless exercise caution lest it commit an injustice toward him who can no longer justify himself; criticism should neither conceal nor gloss over mistakes, nor create such where none exist; it should neither remain silent about errors nor fail to cast favorable light on what has genuinely succeeded and what is truly excellent; rather than merely criticize in an overly general fashion, it should instead zealously try at least to uncover the reasons that prompted an unusual mind to depart from customary paths.

An unusual mind, we say, since this case is not one of a mind of merely self-arrogated conceit, so to what purpose would one praise him undeservedly with such forbearance? For every page of his book tells us that here we are not dealing with an ordinary mind, even those pages that do no entirely succeed, which is why it is sacred justice itself rather than mere reasonable consideration that imposes these considerations on the critic as a serious obligation.

Speaking for a moment first of the poet himself in a general sense: he is undeniably a genuinely great poetic genius that offers depth and rare wealth, power and sublimity, and when portraying what is delicate and amiable, touching and emotional, he offers an ardent element of feeling common to very few others. His imagination leaps within rich, powerful rays, and many passages breath a vehement element of enthusiasm that presuppose an ardor in the breast of the poet that one might, with the poet himself and with hardly any exaggeration, call Vesuvian. His wealth is singular; he is deft in both that which is sublime and that which is playful; the most amiable and charming idylls stand alongside enormous, gigantic, frightful imagery of the sort offered by the towering alps in Switzerland. His soul must have been pure, his spirit sublimely tuned, his heart pure love. — And his errors? — Such must doubtless best be discovered through an explication of his plans and its subsequent execution. Hence let us begin!

In 1807 Gruber published a separate and even lengthier (nearly 200 pages) eulogy on Sonnenberg’s biography and character, Etwas über Franz von Sonnenbergs Leben und Charakter (Halle 1807), which also recounts in detail Sonnenberg’s final days. Back.

[11] Honette ( honnête), Fr., “honest, upright, decent, respectable.”

Concerning the Schellings’ reference to H. E. G. Paulus as Shylock, see Schelling’s letter to Paulus on 13 March 1806 (letter 401a), also note 1 there, and Karl Eberhard Schelling’s letter to Schelling on 24 March, 6 April 1806 (letter 401b). Caroline uses the same epithet in her previous letter to Schelling, on 9 May 1806 (letter 408).

At the time, the Schellings were not on particularly good terms with the Pauluses. The “entire story” and “payment” Caroline now mentions in connection with Johann Baptist Lurz refers to the quarrel over book loans and returns mentioned in these cross references. Back.

[12] The library (with arcades) was on the ground floor of the wing of the old university in which Caroline and Schelling’s apartment was located.

Caroline was presumably standing in a window of her third-story apartment directing the carters in the inner courtyard; as they were packing things for transport to Munich, Paulus arrived ([1] Historisches Album der Stadt Würzburg. Zweiunddreissig photographische Ansichten, ed. V. Jos. Stahgel, introd. Franz X. Wegel [Würzburg 1867], illus. v; [2] Schauplatz der Natur und der Künste, vol. 4 [Vienna 1776], plate 317):



See the supplementary appendix on the Schellings’ residence in Würzburg. In her letter to Schelling on 9 May 1806 (letter 408), Caroline mentions the barrel of bedding she was having sent to Munich along with some of Schelling’s books. Back.

[13] Caroline mentions the issue with Johann Baptist Lurz in her letter to Schelling on 9 May 1806 (letter 408); the issue seems to involve compensation or reimbursement for furniture in their apartment. See her letter to Schelling on 15 May 1806 (letter 413). Back.

[14] Uncertain reference; Caroline also mentions this petition in her letter to Schelling on 4–5 May 1806 (letter 407). Back.

[15] The trustee is possibly Christian Johann Baptist Wagner. Identity of minister uncertain, and the nature of the petition is similarly uncertain. Back.

[16] Concerning Friedrich Karl von Thürheim’s presence in both Bamberg and Ansbach, see Caroline’s letter to Schelling on 30 April 1806 (letter 405), note 24. Back.

[17] Klein’s Beyträge zum Studium der Philosophie als Wissenschaft des All, nebst einer vollständigen und fasslichen Darstellung ihrer Hauptmomente (Würzburg 1806) was overtly Schellingian. Bonaventura Andres had announced its publication in the Chronik des Churfürstenthums Würzburg 1 (1806) 4 (19 April 1806), 53. Back.

[18] Compensation here: a fee as part of the degree requirements with the university. Back.

[19] Professor Christian August Fischer, imagining that he might hereby curry the favor of Count Friedrich Karl von Thürheim, had early begun agitating against Schelling. Schelling then wrote a long article concerning yet another quarrel in which Georg Michael Klein was involved, namely, concerning the rejection of his petition to be appointed to a position at the university after being dismissed as rector of the secondary school (Gymnasium). See the Intelligenzblatt of the Jenaische Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (1807) 6 (Monday, 19 January 1807), 41–45 (letter/document 420d), in which Schelling attacks the reactionaries Franz Berg, Franz Oberthür, Andreas Metz, and Joseph Rückert by name. Back.

[20] Compliment in French in original. Back.

[21] See Caroline’s letter to Schelling on 9 May 1806 (letter 408), note 37.

Clemens Maria Tangerding, Der Drang zum Staat: Lebenswelten in Würzburg zwischen 1795 und 1815 (Cologne 2011), in his chapter on publications as a source of income for Würzburg professors (ch. 2.4), 113–14, remarks:

Hence in any given individual case it is often difficult to determine just how important money [from publications] was for the existence of a professor, it is doubtless clear that any change of government [such as was the case for the Schellings] might easily put an end to a professor’s position or reduce his pay, and publications might then acquire more importance as an alternative source of income.

Hence publications as a source of income played a role even for renowned scholars. When Caroline Schlegel-Schelling [sic] informed her husband by letter concerning the arrival of 270 Gulden for one of Schelling’s works and was herself visibly excited about the large sum, then certainly also because Schelling as yet had no definitive commitment for his acceptance in the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Back.

[22] In her letter to Schelling on 9 May 1806 (letter 408), Caroline had tediously pointed out that “although I am not sick as my friend fears, I am healthy, so to speak, only from one day to the next” Taschenkalender für Damen auf das Jahr 1799; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung:



[23] Johann Wilhelm Ritter had been accepted into the Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Munich in the summer of 1805. On 28 March 1806, on the anniversary of the founding of the academy, he delivered the speech “Die Physik als Kunst” (“Physics as art”), which then appeared in print as Die Physik als Kunst. Ein Versuch, die Tendenz der Physik aus ihrer Geschichte zu deuten. Zur Stiftungsfeyer der Königlich-baierischen Akademie der Wissenschaften am 28sten März 1806 (Munich 1806).

See the description of Ritter’s lecture in Maximilian Bergengruen, “Magischer Organismus: Ritters und Novalis’ ‘Kunst, die Natur zu modificiren,'” in Ästhetische Erfindung der Moderne? Perspektiven und Modelle 1750–1850, ed. Britta Herrmann and Barbara Thums (Würzburg 2003), 39–54, here 51–52:

A year later, in the spring of 1806, Ritter delivers a lecture with the title “Physics as Art.” Physics, he maintains — picking up an idea from Novalis — is the fifth and highest form of art alongside sculpture, painting, music, and architecture. It merits this designation because it is the “actualization of that particular, highest form of life and action.” Physics, that is, is not merely an act of “knowing,” but also a “capability.” It not only explains nature, but also creates it anew — as an organic unity.

Thus does it follow that when the organism is temporized and linked to the discovery of its theory, ultimately it is merely an artistic product of him who creates it. Similarly following the lead of Novalis, Ritter simultaneously now also revalues speculation above empirical reality: If those who seek nature will but first “recognize more fully what is intrinsically theirs in their own interior being, nature will then also increasingly disclose its own interior to them.” If the organism is temporized and developed into the third stage of a triad, then there must also be a beginning or first stage back to which nature strives. This stage, as with Novalis, is natural magic or magically ordered nature.

In an earlier age (which Ritter does not specify more closely) — thus Ritter continues — the “Earth Spirit itself . . . emerged from the ancient house’s restrictions,” and “the course of the stars determined the age of the earthly and of human beings.” As with Novalis, references and arguments of natural magic are engaged to describe that past unity of nature. Ritter conjures the Earth Spirit and understands that past age as a macro-microcosmic connection of stars and human beings.

The contemporary age, too, toward which nature strives, is to be understood under magical premonitory signs: The Voltaic column, “in whose tones a universe resounded,” produces the music of the spheres discerned by the Rosicrucian Fludd. Ritter’s own discoveries similarly contribute toward moving nature closer to its perfection and completion. The shapes produced in water during electrolysis now do not simply refer to the “combination of different metals,” but rather are themselves signatures of nature. The “infinite forms and shapes” in which “multifarious nature is so wondrously ordered” are now cast in water.

In a double metaphor, the organic animation of nature is described through concepts commensurate with the grandeur of this upheaval. These are magical changes that Ritter himself believes he is experiencing. At the same time, and again like Novalis, he discerns the epistemological analogies between natural magic and a Galvanically conceived theory of the organism. Back.

[24] Latin (modus), “mode, manner, fashion, method, modality,” viz., of her travelling arrangements (Taschenbuch für das Jahr 1835: Der Liebe und Freundschaft gewidmet; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):



Translation © 2018 Doug Stott