Letter 437c

437c. Schelling to Friedrich Frommann in Jena: Munich, 14 January 1809 [*]

Munich, 14 January 1809

The description of your hibernal life in Jena in the letter from Madame Frommann almost aroused our old yearning for the quiet, happy life that one unfortunately encounters less frequently here. Part of the character of this region is that all pleasures are of the coarser sort excepting music, in which regard Munich is indeed a veritable paradise. Tieck alone has evoked anew some of that former, inspiring entertainment [1] — except that he has unfortunately been laid up again with gout for four weeks now, and must remain, if not in his bed, at least in the room and armchair, from which he can hardly stand up. [2]

The brother had experienced difficulties during his eastern journey, and after we had become persuaded that the earlier, momentary opinion of things had likely completely disappeared and that at least here there was no longer anything to worry about, we convinced him to stay here, where everyone already is long familiar with him, where he has a great many friends who can testify to his innocuousness, and where until now he has indeed lived quite undisturbed. Such considerable distance could not really be prolonged for any significant length of time in any case, indeed, it would almost make him wish to make his peace once and for all. Should his sister still be unsettled by all this, I do believe she can now put herself fully at ease. [3]

My wife sends her kindest regards to Madam Frommann, and wishes to thank her for her last letter, [4] which she will answer very soon. . . . I, too, ask you to pass along my regards to your spouse. Her reminder of earlier, more cheerful days gladdened us both exceedingly; if only we were together again, there should be no lack of pranks and fun or even more at least from my side. [5]

Enclosed is a billet to Oken; and warm greetings and friendship from



[*] Sources: Friedrich Johannes Frommann, Das Frommannsche Haus und seine Freunde 1792–1837 (Jena 1870), 109 (excerpt); later edition: Freundliches Begegnen. Goethe, Minchen Herzlieb und das Frommannsche Haus, ed. Günther H. Wahnes (Stuttgart, Jena 1927), 73–74 (excerpt); Fuhrmans 1:434 (excerpt); 3:577–78 (full letter), here 578. —

See Schelling’s earlier letter to Frommann on 2 October 1808 (letter 435a) and Caroline’s undated letter to Johanna Frommann in November 1808 (letter 437). Schelling spends the first part of the present letter speaking about Frommann’s considerable help with his, Schelling’s, ongoing lawsuit in Jena with the Leipzig publisher Christian Ernst Gabler. Back.

[1] Caroline, too, mentions the entertainment Ludwig Tieck had been providing with his readings esp. of dramatic pieces for his friends since his arrival in Munich in mid-October 1808 (Taschenbuch für gesellschaftliche Spiele; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):


See Caroline’s letter to Pauline Gotter on 23 November 1808 (letter 436); her letter to Johanna Fromman in November 1808 (letter 437); Schelling’s letter to Wilhelm Schlegel on 2 December 1808 (letter 437a); and the supplementary appendix on Ludwig Tieck’s talent for reading aloud. Back.

[2] Franz Ludwig Catel, Herrmann mit den Eltern und dem Prediger – Terpsichore (ca. 1790); Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Graph. A1: 1394d:



[3] Although Fuhrmans, 3:578, identifies “the brother” as Friedrich Tieck and “the sister” as Sophie Bernhardi, such attribution is impossible both chronologically and with regard to content. Friedrich Tieck had been in Coppet since October and would not arrive in Munich until ca. mid-April 1809, having journeyed to Coppet from Rome (westward rather than eastward) back in early October; see Schelling’s letter to Wilhelm Schlegel on 12 December 1808 (letter 437a), esp. with note 1. Friedrich Tieck, moreover, as attested by his letter to Wilhelm cited in that note, was not at all well known in Munich.

In her own turn, his sister, Sophie Bernhardi, who had arrived in Munich after essentially fleeing Vienna ahead of a court order from August Ferdinand Bernhardi demanding custody of her children, had in late December had that court order served in Munich by the police and had lost custody of her son Wilhelm while being allowed to retain custody of her son Felix Theodor, and was perhaps least concerned about her brother in Coppet; she was, in her own words, hardly able to get herself sufficiently together even to write about her miseries to her former lover Wilhelm Schlegel in Coppet (n.b. mentioning her brother Friedrich Tieck, whom she knew to be in Coppet at the time, only at the very end, and then only to solicit his help), but somehow writing it anyway, concluding with (Krisenjahre 2:6):

Oh, my friend, and so this letter is finished, one I have written amid unspeakable torments of the heart . . . My brother Friedrich, God, he should come soon lest I perish.

On the other hand, Carl Friedrich von Rumohr had just been detained on the Bohemian border (northeast of Bavaria) for having made imprudent political remarks and was soliciting help from friends in Munich (Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, Veranlassung zu Einsamkeit und Nachdäncken [ca. 1773]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Chodowiecki Sammlung [1-45)]:


He had already spent time in Munich and become friends with the Schellings before leaving precipitately in mid-summer 1808. Caroline had just informed Johanna Frommann of his situation in her letter to Johanna in November 1808 (letter 437).

Rumohr’s sister Friederike had in the meantime herself moved to Jena along with relatives of Johanna Frommann (see esp. note 14 there), and would understandably have been worried about her brother after hearing the news of his plight from Caroline’s letter (Frauenzimmer Almanach zum Nutzen u Vergnügen für das Jahr 1803; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):


Rumohr is also known to have taken an interest in Ludwig Tieck’s illness in Munich during precisely this period, visiting him regularly and otherwise seeing to his needs, and was already well acquainted with Tieck (Roger Paulin, Ludwig Tieck: A Literary Biography (Oxford 1986), 182–83; see also Rumohr’s letters to Tieck on 26 September 1807 [letter 425b]; and to Caroline in early 1808 [letter 427] and on 7 March 1808 [letter 430]).

That is, Rumohr seems already to have been back in Munich for some time, as Schelling here suggests.

Concerning the itineraries and problems of the three Tieck siblings during and following this period, see Caroline’s letter to Pauline Gotter on 23 November 1808 (letter 436), note 11. Back.

[4] Not extant. Back.

[5] Frauen Zimer Calender Auf das Jahr 178[8]; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung:



Translation © 2018 Doug Stott