Letter 422

• 422. Caroline: “The undersigned has promised that for 100 fl. etc.,” late May 1807 [*]

|498| The undersigned has promised that for 100 fl. (a hundred Guilders) [1] she has not only copied everything that she has copied up to the present date, but will also copy what she will copy [what is assigned her to copy — Schelling], up to 31 May 1807, of that particular manuscript that her spouse [himself composes and edits — Sch.] submits for publication or keeps for his own use [or — keeps Sch.].

Having received 50 fl. toward the above sum,


With the clauses inserted above

Ratifié par Moi, Souverain, de ma Femme

Frederic [2]


[*] The background to this contract-like missive with its intentionally parodic language and turns of phrase is not entirely clear. Schelling, whose handwriting was not the most legible, regularly used Caroline as his copyist. Schelling writes commensurately to Carl Joseph Windischmann on 21 December 1805 (Plitt 2:77): “My wife sends her apologies for not writing to yours; at the moment, she is once again functioning as privy chancery clerk with respect to the Jahrbücher [Jahrbücher der Medicin als Wissenschaft, ed. F. W. J. Schelling and Adalbert Friedrich Marcus (Tübingen 1805/08)].”

Here a typical scribe in the mid-eighteenth century with a cleric and others (anonymous, Geistlicher und andere Herren bei einem Schreiber [ca. 1726–50]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Graph. Res. A: 50.1):


Caroline functioned in a similar capacity (and not just as co-translator) for her and Wilhelm Schlegel’s edition of Shakespeare. It may be remembered that Julie Gotter had earlier functioned as a copyist for Wilhelm Schlegel’s play Ion: ein Schauspiel; see her letter to Cäcilie Gotter on 4 January 1802 (letter 339b) (anonymous eighteenth-century illustration):



[1] The Florin was the French designation for the Guilder. Back.

[2] Fr., “Ratified by me, the sovereign of my wife.” Schelling’s signature here (thus Erich Schmidt, [1913], 2:658) playfully parodies that of Friedrich II of Prussia (Frederick the Great), known not least for his admiration for French culture. Back.

Translation © 2018 Doug Stott