Letter 425c

425c. Georg Michael Klein to Caroline in Munich: Würzburg, 5 October 1807 [*]

Würzburg, 5 October 1807

I would have answered your cordial missive earlier [1] had I not allowed myself . . . to be persuaded into taking a journey to the wine country. [2] . . . In Weinheim we lingered in the house of Frau von Stabo, [3] and I myself . . . stayed in the same room in which Windischmann spent time correcting the proofs of his most recent work. [4] Steward Badt [5] . . . recounted to me in considerable detail what I already related to you in person about Windischmann and which I will not repeat here; let me remark only that Windischmann genuinely did put the bookseller Zimmer at ease by promising him at least 2 favorable reviews in the scholarly Litteratur-Zeitungen, [6] including one by Schelling. He is setting great store by his book. [7] . . . –

Badt is an ardent admirer of Herr Schelling, whose works he has . . . diligently studied; his greatest dream would be to make his and your personal acquaintance; were Munich not so far from Weinheim, the two of you would certainly not regret spending a few months in Weinheim itself. [8] . . .

The university in Heidelberg does not currently enjoy the most cheerful of prospects; [9] the powers in Karlsruhe have not yet abandoned the plan of reducing it to its old foundation and transferring the other teachers to Freiburg. . . .

Although the majority esteems Görres, he has hitherto sought to collect his salary there in vain; he has, however, abandoned his plan to leave Heidelberg and has announced lectures again for this coming winter. Creuzer believes and hopes they will finally acknowledge and support him. We were assured in Weinheim that he is very sorry not to be able to win Schelling’s respect and friendship. Windischmann, too, spoke quite disparagingly of him, and since he was unable to offer any response to the objections that were raised, he took recourse in crying out [?] — “Well, now! Is Schelling’s judgment worth nothing? Because Schelling will have nothing of him, then surely there is nothing special about him.” —

Görres recently published a piece with the title Die deutschen Volksbücher that quite commendably sets itself apart from his previous works [10]

I was greatly pleased to read in your letter that Herr Schelling will, as it were, make his first public appearance with an independent treatise in the newly opened Academy; [11] it pains me exceedingly that I cannot attend that meeting, since I am sure the presentation will enjoy universal acclaim . . . both because of its universally interesting subject matter and because of its classic treatment. . . .

. . . Please be so kind as to pass along my most cordial regards to Schelling and commend me to his friendship, and please permit me to be commended to your own as well, for which you are hereby urgently petitioned by

Your . . . sincerest friend,
. . . Klein


[*] Source: Fuhrmans 3:453–54; original in the Berlin Schelling Nachlass (literary estate). Ellipses from Fuhrmans, N.B. whose ellipses, however, do not always indicate deleted material. Back.

[1] Not extant. Back.

[2] Klein’s references to wine, Weinheim, and Heidelberg in this letter show that he is speaking about an excursion to the general area of what is known as the Bergstrasse, the route adjoining the Odenwald forest basically between Darmstadt and Heidelberg east of Würzburg itself, where Klein was still living. Weinheim is located along this route and has long been known for its excellent wines (Neueste Post. Karte von Deutschland und den angrenzenden Laendern [Vienna 1805]):


In 1886, the guidebook of John Murray (Firm), Handbook for North Germany: From the Baltic to the Black Forest, and the Rhine, from Holland to Basle (London 1886), 384, remarks (illustration: “Market Scene, Weinheim,” Frank Leslie’s Sunday Magazine xviii [1885] July to December 1885, here: p. 28):


Weinheim . . . An ancient town, surrounded by towers and a ditch [moat]; it lies on the Weschnitz River, and has 7100 inhabitants. A handsome modern Church. Its wealth consists in the orchards and vineyards around. The best white wine of the Bergstrasse is the Hubberger, which grows near Weinheim; the best red wine being known as Lutzelsachsener, from the village of that name, about 10 miles north of Heidelberg.

The Weinheim vineyard is situated in the environs of the town at the entrance to the romantic valley of the Birkenau, a district mentioned by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in “Hyperion” [1839], and commanded by the old ruined castle of Windeck, remarkable for its cylindrical donjon tower (fine view). Pretty excursion through the Birkenau valley to Fürth; diligence daily.

See from 1801 Wilhelm Render, A Tour Through Germany, 2 vols. (London 1801), 1:239, who remarks concerning Weinheim:

This little town, seated ten miles north of Heidelberg, stands in the centre of the most charming spot in all the Bergstrasse. Near this town we beheld a beautiful wood of chesnut-trees, which is about three miles and a half in circumference. The country round it is in such repute for the salubrity of its air, that many persons after indisposition go there for the more speedy recovery of their health. The town consists of about five hundred and fifty houses. The magistracy here, as in most parts of the Upper Palatinate, consists of six Papists, three Calvinists, and three Lutherans.

Of all the different sorts of wines growing in the Bergstrasse, the country of Weinheim produces the best; but it does not require long keeping, as that of Rhingaw [sic], and other Rhenish wines, which must be kept a considerable time before they are fit for use; and thus, with the expence of tillage, runs away with a great part of the profit; for which reason the inhabitants of the Bergstrasse turn their wine to as good account as those of Rhingaw, by means of the quick sale. The former selling theirs on the spot three times cheaper than the latter. The rents of estates in this country are, for the most part, paid in wine, and other produce of the land.

The warmth of the climate, and goodness of the soil, in the Bergstrasse, are such, that after rye harvest the land may be sown a second time with spelt, buckwheat, or oats, which are always reaped the same year. Back.

[3] Unidentified. Back.

[4] Karl Joseph Hieronymus Windischmann, Von der Selbstvernichtung der Zeit u. d. Hoffnung zur Wiedergeburt. Philosoph. Gespraeche (Heidelberg 1807). Back.

[5] Unidentified. Back.

[6] The Heidelbergische Jahrbücher der Literatur, which Johann Georg Zimmer published and whose initial issue appeared in 1807. Back.

[7] The anticipated vol. 2 of Windischmann’s Ideen zur Physik, which never appeared. See Windischmann’s letter to Caroline in May 1806 (letter 411), note 4. Back.

[8] Caroline and Schelling never took such a journey. Back.

[9] Klein had also visited Heidelberg during this same trip to the wine country. Back.

[10] Die teutschen Volksbücher: Nähere Würdigung der schönen Historie-, Wetter- und Arzneybüchlein, welche theils innerer Werth, theils Zufall, Jahrhunderte hindurch bis auf unsere Zeit erhalten hat (Heidelberg 1807), conceived as a pendant to Des Knaben Wunderhorn of Achim von Arnim and Clemens Brentano, a collection of folk songs vol. 1 of which had been published in Heidelberg in 1805. Back.

[11] Schelling’s speech at the public assembly of the Academy of Sciences and Humanities on 13 (12?) October 1807, Ueber das Verhältniss der bildenden Künste zu der Natur. Eine Rede zur Feier des 12ten Oktobers als des Allerhöchsten Namensfestes Seiner Königlichen Majestät von Baiern gehalten in der öffentlichen Versammlung der Königlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu München von F. W. J. Schelling (Munich, Landshut 1807). See Schelling’s letter to his father on 11 October 1807 (letter 425d), note 5. Back.

Translation © 2018 Doug Stott