Letter 435a

435a. Schelling to Friedrich Frommann in Jena: Munich, 2 October 1808 [*]

Munich, 2 October 1808

Enormously delighted at your kind letter, my valued friend, I hasten to alert you to that I received the package [1] and also immediately took care of the request with respect to Jakobs, who arrived back here the day before yesterday. [2] Gries has not yet shown up here, and since the package itself took so long to get here, I still hesitate to send the letter to Bern immediately. [3]

Your friend Dr. Klinger seems to have been here for several days, at least I think I remember seeing his name on a registry of non-resident visitors. [4] Everyone you commend to me will be more than welcome, all the more so such a man as he. [5]

Among my most pleasant memories of Jena, your house and the friendship you demonstrated toward me occupy a position right at the top; [6] how wonderful it would be could you but fulfill your own wish, one we certainly share with you, of someday spending a couple of summer months here with us. Munich is in many respects now genuinely worthy of such a trip, and you would also find so many acquaintances and friends already here. [7]

I confess that after Jena, Munich is the place where I have lived the most freely and contentedly. Were you indeed to come, we would renew those former scenes from Jena at least to a certain extent. Excursions into our Bavarian mountain region would vividly recall the wonderful excursions we took in Jena. [8] How Madam Frommann and the rest of your family would delight in the magnificent lakes between these high mountains here! [9] And the splendid paintings of old German artists, not to speak of the others, which admittedly cannot presume to compete with those in Dresden, though certainly those would be the first comparison! [10]

Our own thought and wish has always been for you to move here entirely. Should I succeed in elevating the sciences and humanities here, one of the very first solicitations I would make would be to you. Things are pathetic here as far as the bookselling trade is concerned, though it is bearable here only because it is pathetic everywhere. . . .

My wife will answer Madam Frommann on another occasion, one that will arise soon. [11] Just now she has neither language nor words as a result of the wretched change of residence, which seems to roll around here virtually every year. [12] She does in the meantime commend herself to both you and yours.

Please extend my warmest regards to Madam Frommann, and accept my gratitude as well for your most recent kind favor, and be assured of my steadfast respect and friendship.

Your devoted,

P.S. Perthes intends to have the new printing of my piece Von der Weltseele done at your press. Let me know when you would like to begin the printing. [13]


[*] Sources: Fuhrmans 1:421–22 (excerpt); 3:542–44 (entirety).

The date of this letter (2 October 1808) suggests that the dating of Caroline’s letter to Johanna Frommann to “November 1808” (letter 437) may perhaps be too late, since at the beginning of that letter she writes: “Since Schelling just announced to me that he is writing a letter to your husband, let me hasten to do something I have long intended by seizing the opportunity here and now to write . . . ,” the assumption being that the present letter is indeed the letter to which she is referring. At the same time, however, Schelling remarks in this letter that Caroline would be writing Johanna Frommann “on another occasion, one that will arise soon,” which may simply mean “when she finds the time.” Back.

[1] Perhaps a package with files from Schelling’s lingering lawsuit with the bookseller Christian Ernst Gabler in Jena (later paragraph not included in this letter). Back.

[2] From his trip to Geneva. Caroline had written to Pauline Gotter on 16 September 1808 (letter 435):

Jakobs has journeyed to Switzerland along with his two eldest sons in order to find a place for them to stay, perhaps in Geneva, after not quite knowing what to do with them here. They are quite unwilling to accommodate themselves to being taught anything, and the boys do indeed have a rather unbridled nature.

For Jacobs’s account of the journey, see note 22 there. Back.

[3] The package for Johann Diederich Gries was possibly proofs for the final volume of his 4-volume edition of Ludovico Ariosto’s Orlando furioso, translated by Gries as Rasender Roland , 4 vols. (Jena 1804–8). After finally hearing from a former friend during the early summer of 1808, Gries had responded in June (Aus dem Leben J. D. Gries 81):

Ad vocem [Latin: “to this word (one may remark)”] translations: since you mention my Ariosto, let me report that you will very soon receive all four volumes at once; I sent the final manuscript to Jena and have thus returned home from this enormous trip around the world [i.e., the translation of all four volumes].

But let me request that you view this translation only as a first draft that only in a subsequent printing will approach as close as possible to perfection (that is, to the extent such is attainable through my own powers and in our language).

In a week, I will be leaving Heidelberg [Gries departed on 1 July 1808 for Switzerland; see below] and am considering returning to Jena next winter even though this prospect does not sit particularly well with me; but at present I know of none better, and am thinking I will be able to work there undisturbed on my Tasso [his other translation project].

Caroline relates in her undated letter to Johanna Frommann in November 1808 (letter 437) that Gries had in the meantime indeed been in Munich but had now returned to Jena (as it turns out, he spent two weeks in Munich in October). Gries, who had earlier been living in Heidelberg (concerning the itinerary that took him there, see Caroline’s letter to Schelling on 9–10 May 1806 [letter 409], note 6), had decided to move back to Jena.

Before doing so, however, he undertook a prodigious and remarkable journey to Switzerland and Italy whose itinerary and experiences are worthy of inclusion here because they likely broadly reflect the sort of journey that, in one form or another, Caroline and Schelling had since 1803 wished to make and indeed, as seen in several previous letters, were still actively planning and anticipating. Although Caroline regrettably nowhere mentions in extant letters the conversations in Munich during October 1808 that she and Schelling doubtless had with Gries about this journey (he also visited Rome), Gries himself recounts the journey in a letter to a friend from Jena in early 1809.

For the text of that account and illustrations of his itinerary, see supplementary appendix 435a.1.

On his return journey and before continuing on to Munich, Gries had stopped in Bern, where he visited Luise Wiedemann’s sister-in-law Charlotte Otth, née Wiedemann and her husband, Karl Emanuel Otth. Friedrich Frommann seems to have been broadly aware of Gries’s itinerary. Back.

[4] Schelling is correct. Dr. Klinger had arrived on 26 September and was staying at the inn Zum schwarzen Adler (Im schw. Adler below).

Such arrivals, along with the inn or hotel where a visitor was staying, were regularly noted in many towns’ newspapers, generally in the Intelligenzblatt or its equivalent section, the Fremden-Anzeige. Here the Fremdenanzeige for the Baierische National-Zeitung (1808) no. 230 (Wednesday, 28 September 1808), 942; note that Klinger’s name is misspelled as “Klieger”:


The announcement of the arrival of Clemens Brentano from Frankfurt at the same inn with his family two days later is similarly noted in the Baierische National-Zeitung (1808) no. 231 (Thursday, 29 September 1808), 948, which recounts that Brentano and his family arrived in the inn Zum schwarzen Adler on 28 September 1808:


Concerning this fateful visit and its complex and sometimes hair-raising background, see the supplementary appendix on Clemens Brentano and Auguste Busmann. Back.

[5] Caroline similarly mentions Franz Xaver Klinger’s presence in her letter to Johanna Frommann in November 1808 (letter 437). Back.

[6] Schelling is referring to the convivial social atmosphere at the Frommann’s house in Jena, where for many years their salon, particularly because of Friedrich Frommann’s position as a publisher, hosted many of the writers and academicians in and around Weimar and Jena (the classic source of information about this family and their salon in Jena is F. J. Frommann, Das Frommannsche Haus und seine Freunde [Jena 1870]; rev. 2nd ed. [1872]; 4th ed. Freundliches Begegnen: Goethe, Minchen Herzlieb und das Frommannsche Haus. Auf Grund von Fr. Frommann “Das Frommannsche Haus u. seine Freunde”, ed. Günther H. Wahnes [Stuttgart, Jena 1927]) (illustrations: [1] Der Freund des schönen Geschlechts: ein angenehm und nützlicher Taschenkalender für das Jahr 1808; [2] to Goethe’s novelle The Good Women [Die guten Weiber (1801), Goethe’s Works, trans. George Barrie [Philadelphia, New York, Boston 1885], vol. 3, 242):



Following map of the location of the Frommann house: Plan der Residenz- und Universitätsstadt Jena (1884); Thüringen, Städtische Museen Jena: Stadtmuseum und Kunstsammlung. Photograph of the Frommann house in 1970, reproduced by permission: Stadtmuseum Jena. Illustration of leisure activity on the Fürstengraben, which the house fronted along the northern town walls, from Carl Schreiber and Alexander Färber, “Am Fürstengraben 1779,” in Jena von seinem Ursprunge bis zur neuesten Zeit, nach Adrian Beier, Wiedeburg, Spangenberg, Faselius, Zenker u. A. von Carl Schreiber u. Alexander Färber: Mit Kupfern, Karten, Lithographien u. Holzschnitten (Jena 1850), plate following p. 208.

The house is still standing today on the Fürstengraben just across from the former northern town walls. Caroline’s previous Jena residences were at Leutragasse 5 (on the map: center) and in the Asverus house next door to the inn Zum [schwarzen] Bären (on the map: top right):





[7] Ludwig Tieck, a former resident of Jena, arrived in Munich on 18 October 1808, albeit not with his wife, Amalie Tieck, but rather with his sister, Sophie Bernhardi. The family of Friedrich Immanuel Niethammer had already moved to Munich from Bamberg, and Johann Wilhelm Ritter had already been living in Munich as well. The Frommanns were likely also well acquainted with Schelling’s cousin, Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Breyer, who had lived and taught in Jena and was now a resident of Munich and a member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

Although Schelling does not mention it, Clemens Brentano and members of his family were now also in Munich. Schelling may have omitted this information because of Brentano’s unusual and not entirely pleasant circumstances. see footnote above. Back.

[8] Concerning the Schellings’ recent excursion, see Caroline’s letter to Pauline Gotter on 16 September 1808 (letter 435), also with note 13. Back.

[9] Here another view of the Schliersee, the lake Caroline mentions having visited with Schelling on an excursion (in her letter to Pauline Gotter on 16 September 1808 [letter 435]; illustration: Max Hushofer, Oberbayern: München und bayerisches Hochland, Land und Leute: Monographien zur Erdkunde 6 [Bielefeld 1900], plate following p. 88):


Concerning the lakes and mountains in the Bavarian highlands generally: here four more examples of the sometimes breathtaking scenery of which Schelling here speaks; regrettably, neither he nor Caroline speak more extensively about their excursions (Herman Schmid and Karl Stieler, The Bavarian Highlands and the Salzkammergut [London 1874], in order: the Eidsee and Walchensee: following pp. 20, 24; the Königssee: p. 64; an d the Obernsee: p. 68):






[10] Concerning the artistic offerings in Munich: see the supplementary appendices on the transfer of the Düsseldorf art gallery to Munich in January 1806 and the Munich Art Gallery at the Royal Gardens arcade. An exhaustive, hall-by-hall guide to the complete royal galleries in 1810 can be found in A. Klebe, Skizze von München im Jahre 1810 (Munich 1810), 124–45. Back.

[11] Caroline (undated) to Johanna Frommann in November 1808 (letter 437). Back.

[12] The Schellings were about to move into their fourth apartment since arriving in Munich in the late spring of 1806. After living at Karlsthor 7 and in the apartment of Heymann Pappenheimer (see esp. his letter to Schelling on 10 May 1808 [letter 432b], note 1), they were about to vacate the apartment at Behind the Art Gallery no. 63 ¾ in the house of the court confectioner Dieterich. The new address was “Im Grotenthal,” i.e., Im Rosenthal 144. Back.

[13] Friedrich Perthes published the third, revised edition of Schelling’s piece Von der Weltseele, eine Hypothese der höheren Physik zur Erklärung des allgemeinen Organismus Über das Verhältniß des Realen und Idealen in der Natur oder Entwickelung der ersten Grundsätze der Naturphilosophie an den Principien der Schwere und des Lichts, 3rd, revised ed. (Hamburg 1809).


When Friedrich Frommann moved to Jena in 1798, he combined his publishing company with the printing company of his brother-in-law Johann Karl Wesselhöft, printing materials not only for Friedrich Perthes in Hamburg, but also for Johann Friedrich Cotta in Tübingen, includes works by Goethe. Back.

Translation © 2018 Doug Stott