Letter 441

• 441. Caroline to Luise Wiedemann in Kiel: Munich, 17 March 1809 [*]

[Munich, 17 March 1809]

|550| Our letters crossed en route, my dear Luise, and although the same thing may happen again this time as well, I do not want to wait to write because one cannot know how soon the roads will be blocked. [1] Perhaps that will not be the case this time.

Here we are living in that respect with an element of uncertainty one can imagine only with difficulty there at a distance. All the external signs of war are there. The French |551| envoy has left Vienna, while the Austrian envoy here, Count von Stadion, who once studied in Göttingen, has departed, and the troops are assembling. Word has it that the French will move in here on the 20th. At first one thought it would be those from your area, under Pontecorvo, but now it seems it will be those under Davoust. [2]

At court, there is talk of removing to Mannheim, and the art gallery is also being packed up again. [3] Given our proximity to Austria, we must admittedly probably be prepared for the enemy to advance here, as composed as one may otherwise be concerning the outcome. [4] I have no trouble admitting, by the way, that I am decidedly uneasy with regard to the next developments. I am simply too inexperienced with such distresses of war, since, strange as it may seem; only once during the long course of this war, [5] namely, in Würzburg, did I have to lodge and feed two upright Bavarians and a couple of Bohemians, who were so innocent that when they left they asked how much they owed me. [6]

Here the burden may be much more serious, and the expenses more considerable. We may even get into a situation in which we are not paid for a time. I have also written to Philipp and asked that he make sure to provide money for me, which at this particular moment I need most among all of you. [7] You no doubt see that under these circumstances, there can be no thought of our trip to the south. [8] I am genuinely worried that I may end up like Moses. [9]

How very much would I like to invite you here — could I but hope it would not turn out to be merely empty words. And you are invited to come as soon as you can and want to. I can lodge all of you under our current living arrangements. [10] Nor is it entirely impossible on your end either, since in the final analysis you have more means for such excursions than we and certainly a better capacity for making bold resolutions. [Family matters.]

We have already had spring here once, and now there is snow on the ground yet again, which contributes |552| nothing toward making our immediate prospects any more inviting. [11] Illness is rampant here. Just this week, the most beautiful girl in the city died, an only child, one in whom her parents, for whom she had often been their only comfort, had invested all their love from her earliest youth, even restricting their own needs for the sake of her upbringing. They are not yet really advanced in years, and the daughter herself was only 17. I felt a painful tightness in my chest when I thought of their despair, despair which, given their disposition, will never be assuaged by any interest of the mind or heart they may yet have. [12]

They are émigrés, though both are of German descent. Although their circumstances have often been wretched enough, their present situation was good, and their daughter provided a connection with the most distinguished part of society here. The pride that had become mixed in with their love was certainly pardonable. The father genuinely worshiped the daughter, so much so that he was not even trying all that hard to marry her off. And the girl herself really was quite beautiful and demure. [12a] One cannot imagine a more joyless, pointless existence now than that of these poor parents, not least because it was only through the child that the mother was even still living with the extremely brusque father, nor can one probably expect any comfort from higher places as far as they are concerned. [12b]

All the Tieks are still sick. I think I already brought you up to date on the necessary details recently. [13] Although I cannot say for sure whether they have become Catholic, it is not really necessary as far as formal conversion is concerned. This much is certain, however, namely, that they have turned the entire business into a commercial undertaking. To wit, they presented a proposal to the papal vicar general to the effect that for a predetermined pension they would prompt all the German artists in Rome to convert. They claimed the pension was necessary that they might thereby set up a household |553| and entice these people to come to them. The pope, however, had other concerns. [14]

Although Tiek himself is quite miserable, it is impossible to have any genuine sympathy for him. Even his face, which has lost any trace of well-being or social amiability, now reveals an element of guile and rage. The sculptor is still not here, nor is Knorring. [15] The war may very well put these people into considerable distress insofar as they are being cut off from all their financial resources. [16]

Of course, were the Austrians to come, they would be in their glory, since they have thrown in their lot utterly with the house of Habsburg and are hoping that Germany’s salvation will eventually also emerge from that quarter. [17] Otherwise all this “faith, hope, and love” is to be taken only poetically as far as they are concerned, for they make little of either God or the world as long as they are able to elevate themselves a bit and as long as there is no lack of money. I have never seen more impious people or people less committed to God than precisely these “believers.” [17a]

The sister in particular has a thoroughly rebellious disposition, so much so that one is inclined to take as a judgment from heaven even that which she does not incur directly through her own transgressions and which is instead imposed on her through illness and that sort of thing. [18] These three siblings, each endowed with considerable talent, born in the hut of a tradesman and in the sand of the Mark Brandenburg, could be a beautiful sight were their souls and bodies not infected with such pernicious immorality and profound irreligiosity. [19]

Frau Bernhardi has a little boy 6 years old who, at least as far as one can judge at this point, is endowed with the best elements of the other three. He is a magnificent child who often softens my heart even for her and of whom Schelling is enormously fond. [19a] Since such a child can be touched more through speech than through actions insofar as it as yet has no real oversight or understanding of the latter, |554| so also has he genuinely appropriated all the sweetness of speech. His disposition is wholly noble, heroic, and courageous, and he speaks and expresses himself far beyond his years.

He has, moreover, also inherited his uncle’s talent for mimic expression and an unbelievably agile and mannerly physical disposition. There is something of a comedian and actor in him, though surely also a more profound and extremely good principle as well; and may heaven protect it! Of course, he is already being harmed by so often having to witness the bitter and vehement attacks against those who have erred toward his mother, at least in her way of thinking, and perhaps by even being instructed, on the other hand, not to take any notice of it. —

Along with all his plans involving genuine reality, his head is also full of poesy that he considers real as well. He is firmly convinced that his uncle and King Rother slew a great many giants together, and that Little Red Riding Hood really was eaten by a wolf who disguised himself as her grandmother. [20] But he wants to become a field marshal rather than a poet, and when Schelling praised the life of a poet and writer to him, he said — “What? You would not rather stain your fingers with blood than ink?” — a combination he came up with entirely on his own. [21]

But this poor boy, too, has been very ill. His name is Felix, and he has brown eyes and blond hair, like his mother, but not a single feature from his father — so that he actually seems to have no father at all, nor does he even know that he has one. [22] To him, Bernhardi is merely “that fat gentleman.” She already seems to have forgotten the oldest boy, whom Bernhardi took with him. [23]

There is never the slightest mention of Tiek’s own wife, whom Frau Bernhardi hates so much that, as she herself told me, she simply has not asked her brother about her. At the beginning, he told me she was staying with her mother in Silesia and that he had had yet another little daughter. [24] According to Madam Bernhardi’s |555| insinuations, Frau Tiek lived with Burgsdorf during her husband’s earlier absence, on whose estate (Ziebingen) Tiek himself afterward also went for nourishment. [25]

She maintains that a kind of “female community” has been established there. Three Counteses von Finkenstein live nearby, [26] though unmarried. That is why Friedrich Schlegel has called Tiek the “House Finch.” [27] I know not what the real story is, nor have I reason to suspect anything similar with regard to Frau Tiek’s intractableness.

In any event, amid all these circumstances they are allegedly and for all practical purposes separated. Nor can I anticipate where Tiek will go from here, since Burgsdorf is marrying, which will put an end to the good life. [28] Although it is quite possible that they [29] came here planning to settle down, they quickly forfeited any possibility of success in that regard. Miraculously, Tiek sought and found a patron here where one could least expect it, namely, in Jakobi. —

I have never heard anything about Grosse either. [30] He must have gotten completely lost in the confusion. Nor anything about Madam Nuys in the meantime. I cannot imagine her being tolerated in Vienna under the present circumstances after having already once appealed to the protection of the French envoy against the police. [31]

Friedrich Schlegel is also in Vienna. He has converted both to the Catholic religion and to the house of Austria. [32] Wilhelm by contrast, under his aegis, that is, under the aegis of his Pallas, seems inclined to remain Protestant, regardless of how devout he may otherwise be toward his friends, though here a situation is emerging in which it is precisely a matter of faith against faith and influence against influence. [33]

Nonetheless, he is the purest of them all — for, alas, how they all have deviated from the path, and how they have all allowed themselves to become bitter toward the fate that, after all, they themselves brought upon themselves! Friedrich has the temperament to become a heretic hunter — |556| he is allegedly already almost as fat, idle, and gluttonous as a monk. [34]

I knew all of them during their innocence, during their very best times. [35] Then came the discord and sin. [36] One can certainly be deceived about people one no longer sees, or with whom one no longer traffics, but I do greatly fear that I would also be appalled at Friedrich now as well. By contrast how firm, how grounded in himself, how good, childlike, receptive, and wholly dignified has my friend remained whose name I need not mention to you.

Constant has turned the three Wallensteins into a single very bad one, one whose content and verses are equally insufferable. And they call that doing the Germans a “service.” Even Wilhelm Schlegel maintains one should be grateful to him for it. But he is saying that against his own good conscience. Constant should never have tried his hand at anything poetic. He seems utterly incapable of such and seems to recognize the Germans only from the moral side. [37]

It is an extraordinarily pleasant prospect for me to anticipate receiving a bonnet from you, something I constantly am in need of insofar as I simply can no longer stand myself otherwise — and then I am also so pleased that you went to the trouble to make something like that for me yourself. You could simply go ahead and send it — Perthes will also have no other opportunity, since the World Soul, which he is publishing for the third time now, is being printed in Jena. [38]


Someone who came from Vienna has said that all the troop movements are going through Bohemia and toward Italy, and not at all toward us here. [39] The gallery in Dresden has also already been packed up.

Madam Liebeskind has now also settled in here along with her husband and four sons. Heaven knows she is neither graceful nor charming, but rather very old |557| and ugly. I never found her to be witty. Otherwise, however, she manages everywhere to present and assert herself quite successfully. [40]

Stay well; I have nattered away a great deal today and now expect in return that I will hear from you again soon, and hear especially that all of you are healthy. I embrace the children.

I was unable to read exactly what position Wiedemann will soon be taking on — was it that of rector, that is, prorector? [41]


[*] Erich Schmidt, (1913), 2: 663, notes that the post office dated the letter to 17 March; Waldemar von Olshausen, “Neues aus dem Caroline-Kreis,” Euphorion 28 (1927), 350–62, here 350, maintains that the letter itself is dated in Caroline’s handwriting.

Concerning the geopolitical status of Kiel and Holstein at this time, see Caroline’s letter to Luise Wiedemann on 21 February 1809 (letter 439), note 8 (“Central Europe: Wars of the Third Coalition 1805–7,” Cambridge Modern History Atlas [Cambridge 1912]):



[1] That is, blocked because of military developments, at this point primarily on the part of the Austrians, whom Napoleon did not think would make any serious moves before the end of April 1809. See the supplementary appendix on the War of 1809, chapter 6. Back.

[2] Because the War of 1809 occurred during the final year of Caroline’s life, a shorter summary may be helpful in addition to the lengthier and more detailed supplementary appendix cited in the previous footnote and below.

After the disasters of battles of Jena and Auerstedt and the Battle of Austerlitz, both Prussia and Austria undertook reforms to modernize the political, social, and military institutions in their countries. Encouraged by the difficulties Napoleon had been encountering in the Peninsular War on the battlefields of Spain and Portugal, and by the promise of British subsidies and even diversionary tactics, Austria acted sooner than Napoleon expected.

Napoleon, who had hastened back from Spain to Paris back in January after hearing of Austria’s rearmament and mobilization, and having reinforced his army in Germany proper, was nonetheless — still in Paris himself — caught unprepared when Archduke Karl marched into Bavaria with 140,000 men on 9 April 1809 (just three weeks after Caroline is here writing), and Archduke Johann into Italy, where on 15 April he defeated Eugène de Beauharnais at Sacile.

In the meantime, the peasants of Tyrol, deliberately encouraged by Archduke Karl, also rose up against the Bavarian rule under which they had be subject since the Treaty of Pressburg (Central Europe: The Austrian War 1809; Neighborhood of Vienna, from The Cambridge Modern History Atlas, ed. A. W. Ward, G. W. Prothero, Stanley Leathes, and E. A. Ben [London 1912]; University of Texas, Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection).


The three French forces in the area capable of resisting Archduke Karl were spread out between Munich, Augsburg, and Regensburg (known as Ratisbon). Their commander in Napoleon’s absence, Marshal Berthier, committed some tactical blunders Napoleon managed to address when he arrived on 20 April by bringing up Masséna from Italy to Augsburg and Landshut, thereby threatening a vulnerability in the Austrian position. Although Davout had to leave Regensburg, he managed a strong defence at Eckmühl (Eggmühl) to the south. Napoleon’s arrival routed the Austrians, who retreated toward Bohemia. The French marched on into Vienna on 13 May 1809.

Archduke Karl, however, returned from Bohemia to face the French across the Danube at Vienna. The French managed to cross the river channels and take the island formation of Lobau by 20 May as well as, on 21 May, the villages on Essling and Aspern, which now became objects of heated battle. The French bridges were washed away by the rising river, the French repaired them, then the Austrians themselves sabotaged them with barges laden with stones. The villages changed hands several times until Napoleon retreated to the island of Lobau on 22 May. Although the French lost 44,000 men, Napoleon’s dispatch back to Paris put the number at only 4100.

After six weeks, the French renewed their attacks in early July, crossed the bridges yet again and defeating Archduke Karl on 5–6 July 1809 at Wagram, with both sides taking enormous losses, enough to dampen the French victory considerably. The armistice and resulting Peace of Schönbrunn requested by Franz I was a harsh one for Austria with regard to both lost territory (32,000 square miles), lost subjects (ca. 3,500,000), and indemnities. That said, the Austrian army was still essentially intact and had learned that though Napoleon was still an eminent military strategist and leader, he and his armies were not invincible (Napoleon, The Cambridge Modern History, vol. 9, planned by Lord Acton, ed. A. W. Ward, G. W. Prothero, and Stanley Leathes [Cambridge 1907], 360):

The war of 1809, unfortunate as was its immediate issue, had one notable result. It destroyed, in the eyes of Europe, the halo of invincibility that had encircled the head of Napoleon. It marked the beginning of the national awakening, the first step towards the overthrow of Napoleon’s power.

The Tyrolese uprising against the Bavarians continued in the meantime, and it seems that Caroline and Schelling, during their trip to Maulbronn in mid-August 1809, encountered some of the accompanying military movements, munitions transports, and wounded from those encounters, which would not be resolved until November 1809, when the uprising was brutally put down and its leader executed. Similar uprisings that occupied the French in northern Germany, which were also put down, also account for continued troop and supply movements throughout Germany at the time.

These developments, of course, meant that the Schellings’ journey to Italy had become impossible. Indeed, as a result of Napoleon’s quarrels with Pius VII, who had refused to join Napoleon’s continental system, Napoleon confiscated Vatican territories; the French occupied Rome in February 1808 and incorporated the papal states themselves into France in May 1809. After the pope excommunicated Napoleon in June 1809, Napoleon simply had him arrested and imprisoned.

(Histoire Populaire de La France, vol. 2 [Paris 1863], 346):


Because these developments provided the European and even local backdrop for the final year of Caroline’s life and letters, a considerably more detailed narrative is provided in the supplementary appendix on the War of 1809 (Napoleon at Wagram, from from M. A. Thiers, Collection de 350 gravures dessins de Philippoteaux, etc. pour l’histoire du consulat et de l’empire, vol. 1 [Paris 1870], plate 169):



[3] I.e., for the safety of the court and royal family against a potential Austrian incursion into Munich itself. Back in 1805, the Bavarian court had removed to Würzburg under the same threat (Neueste Post. Karte von Deutschland und den angrenzenden Laendern [Vienna 1805]):


See supplementary appendix 396.1. Concerning the transfer of the Düsseldorf art gallery to Munich in January 1806 under similar conditions, see supplementary appendix 408.1. Back.

[4] The Cambridge Modern History, vol. 9, Napoleon, planned by Lord Acton, ed. A. W. Ward, G. W. Prothero, and Stanley Leathes (Cambridge 1907), 347, remarks that “in Bavaria lay the crux of the whole war.” That said, Munich itself was spared any direct military activity. Concerning the course of the war, see the supplementary appendix on the War of 1809, beginning with chap. 7. Back.

[5] Caroline is not referring specifically to what has subsequently become known as the War of 1809 (which had in any case not really commenced yet), but to the broader sweep of coalition wars or Napoleonic Wars, which began with the Third Coalition in 1803. Back.

[6] Namely, from 7 to 28 October 1805; see Caroline’s letter to Julie Gotter on 1 December 1805 (letter 399) (Taschenbuch für das Jahr 1808: Der Liebe und Freundschaft gewidmet)




[7] Besides Caroline herself, Luise, and Philipp Michaelis, the other Michaelis sibling who was still alive was Fritz Michaelis in Marburg. Back.

[8] I.e., to Italy, since one of the two primary fronts in the war — Caroline seems already to have read newspaper accounts to this effect — would be in Italy. See the supplementary appendix on the War of 1809, chaps. 6 and 7, though also chaps. 18 and 19, since had she and Schelling journeyed to Italy from Munich, they would likely have traveled south through Tyrol and the Brenner Pass (Germany and Italy in 1803 after the Principal Decree of the Imperial Deputation, Historical Atlas, 2nd ed. [New York 1921], 151):



[9] The reference is to the Promised Land, which Moses saw but never entered (Deut. 34:1–6 [NRSV]; illustration: “Moses dies on mount Pisgah,” in Josef Samuel Edel, Abbildung Der Vornemsten Biblischē Historien Alten [und Newē] Testamentē [n.p. 1693], plate 56; second illustration: Christoph Weigel, Biblia Ectypa: Bildnussen auß Heiliger Schrifft dess Alt- und Neuen Testaments, in welchen Alle Geschichte und Erscheinungen deutlich und schrifftmäßig zu Gottes Ehre und Andächtiger Seelen erbaulicher beschauung vorgestellet werden [Augsburg 1695]):


Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho, and the Lord showed him the whole land: Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, the Negeb, and the Plain — that is, the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees — as far as Zoar. The Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants’; I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.”


Then Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab, at the Lord’s command. He was buried in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor, but no one knows his burial place to this day.

Caroline’s touching but sad premonition was correct; despite six years of documented planning and likely more undocumented, she never journeyed to Italy. Here a scene from Naples in 1830 with Mount Vesuvius in the background by Carl Götzloff (Taschenbuch aus Italien und Griechenland auf das Jahr 1830; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):



[10] Luise’s family at the time consisted of her, her husband, Christian Rudolf Wilhelm Wiedemann, and their two daughters, Emma and Minna Wiedemann. Back.

[11] I.e., for travel. Back.

[12] Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, Clarisse liegt sterbend in einem Himmelbette (1796); Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum; Museums./Signatur DChodowiecki AB 3.996:


A moving testimonial in any case to Caroline’s own difficulty, almost nine years earlier, in coming to terms with the death of Auguste at fifteen. Back.

[12a] Berlinischer Damen-Kalender auf das Gemein-Jahr 1806; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung:


The family’s status as emigrés, which Caroline goes on to mention, suggests that the family had fled revolutionary France and may have been part of the aristocracy (at whatever level), which may also explain their ability to move in Munich’s higher social circles. Here such a French emigré couple crosses into Germany past a German peasant in 1794, similarly with their young child (Revolutions-Almanach von 1794; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):



[12b] Wiener Damenkalender zum Nutzen u. Vergnügen auf das Jahr 1801; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung:



[13] See Caroline’s letter to Pauline Gotter on 1 March 1809 (letter 440), with note 13 there; in the same letter also Sophie Bernhardi’s letter to Wilhelm on 26 January 1809, note 17 there.

Friedrich Tieck writes to Wilhelm Schlegel from Munich on 24 April 1809, shortly after arriving himself on ca. 16 April 1809 (Krisenjahre 2:31 (illustration: anonymous, O! Kinder, Kinder [ca. 1776–1800]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Graph. Res. A: 371.9):


I found my sister still here, who has been quite sick and has not yet fully recovered. My brother would be well enough except that he cannot walk, so it comes as no surprise that he is fittingly ill-humored and surly. — My sister excuses herself for not writing you today, but her eyes and health simply cannot bear much writing, and she wrote the included letter to Rome, which I must entreat you to forward, since for now [because of military developments in Italy] there is probably no other way to send it from here such that it genuinely arrives. Back.

[14] Concerning what Caroline here refers to as the Tieck scheme to set up a “business” with religion, see her letter to Pauline Gotter on 1 March 1809 (letter 440); note 21 there discusses the issue of whether the Tiecks genuinely converted, though here Caroline emphasizes that such was not really necessary in any case. Concerning the gossip according to which Sophie Bernhardi had “declared herself for the Madonna,” see Caroline’s letter to Luise Gotter on 10 July 1807 (letter 423), with note 17. Back.

[15] Friedrich Tieck arrived in Munich from Rome ca. 16 April 1809 from Coppet. Karl Gregor von Knorring did not arrive until late October 1809 (Krisenjahre 2:89) (William Shepherd, Germany and Italy in 1803 after the Principal Decree of the Imperial Deputation, Historical Atlas, 2nd ed. [New York 1921], 151):



[16] Quite apart from troop movements (see above), the postal routes were also closed off by mid- to late-April at latest. Schelling writes to Gotthilf Heinrich Schubert on 28 April 1809 (Plitt 2:151–52):

When I received your letter of the 28th of last month, I was just finishing up a piece for publication, which nonetheless, because of the Austrian advance and the accompanying commotion had to be abandoned; and then all the postal routes and highways were closed.

And to Wilhelm Schlegel on 2 May 1809 (Krisenjahre 2:35):

My dear friend, I have long been reproaching myself for remaining silent for so long. I know not how I was initially prevented from answering by a piece I was preparing for publication, and finally was postponed from one day to the next, until finally the closure of all the postal routes and highways along with all sorts of other commotion also created problems. Back.

[17] The reference is to Ludwig Tieck and Sophie Bernhardi, who in Vienna had made the previously mentioned, alleged overtures to the Catholic Church even if they may not have fully converted.

The House of Habsburg (Hapsburg) was the currently reigning family line on the Austrian throne. They reigned as essentially hereditary emperors of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation from 1438 till 1806, when Franz surrendered the title, and as emperors of Austria from 1804 (when Franz became Franz I Emperor of Austria) till 1918, when the final Habsburg ruler, Karl, abdicated. The family was of Swiss origin but lost those holdings in the fourteenth century. The marriage of Maria Theresia to the Duke or Lorraine in the 18th century inaugurated the Habsburg-Lothringen line, of which Joseph II was the first representative. Back.

[17a] See Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki’s satirical portrayal of such “affected faith” (Das Gebeth [1778]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Uh 4° 47 [190]):



[18] Bettina Brentano had written to Clemens Brentano back on 8 December 1808 (Achim von Arnim und die ihm nahe standen, ed. Reinhold Steig and Herman Grimm, 3 vols. [Stuttgart 1894–1904], 2:242): “Sophie is very sickly and will probably not live much longer” (anonymous, Arzt bei der Visite [1780]; school of Chodowiecki):



[19] The Tieck siblings’ father had been a rope maker (Christoff Weigel, Abbildung Der Gemein-Nützlichen Haupt-Stände Von denen Regenten Und ihren So in Friedens- als Kriegs-Zeiten zugeordneten Bedienten an biß auf alle Künstler und Handwercker nach Jedes Ambts- und Beruffs-Verrichtungen meist nach dem Leben gezeichnet und in Kupfer gebracht etc. [Regenspurg 1698], illustration following p. 100):


The Mark Brandenburg was territorially part of the Holy Roman Empire from 1157 till the latter’s dissolution in 1806. Initially a margravate (ruled by a margrave, whence the traditional name Mark Brandenburg), it later became an electorate (ruled by a prince elector), and from 1701 a kingdom ruled by the first Prussian king. The Treaty of Tilsit deprived Brandenburg of considerable territory, and in 1815 what was originally the Mark Brandenburg became part of the Province of Brandenburg. Here its territory in 1740 (The Public Schools Historical Atlas, ed. C. Colbeck, [London 1905]):


The area around Berlin is known for its sandy soil; see Friedrich Schlegel’s letter to Auguste from Berlin on 5 May 1798 (letter 200a), in which he remarks: “How I would like to send you another flower garland for the violets I am so carefully keeping. But in order to pick them myself, I would have to go quite far, for here there is nothing but sand everywhere.” Back.

[19a] Der neuesten Moden Almanach auf das Jahr 1808; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung:



[20] King Rother is a Middle High German epic poem of which Ludwig Tieck had transcribed a copy and then put at the disposal of Friedrich Heinrich von der Hagen, who published it in Deutsche Gedichte des Mittelalters, vol. 1 (Berlin 1808), though Tieck himself had already published an excerpt as “König Rother zieht einer Jungfrau die Schuhe an. Fragment au seiner alten Handschrift bearbeitet von Ludwig Tieck,” in Achim von Arnim’s Zeitung für Einsiedler (1808) 3–5, pp. 22–36.

Felix Bernhardi was thus living with Tieck around the time the latter was engaged in work on this manuscript. Here a manuscript illustration of the Middle High German text from Gustav Könnecke, Bilderatlas zur Geschichte der deutschen Nationallitteratur, 2nd ed. (Marburg 1895), 21, p. 59b of the Heidelberg Manuscript 390, from which Tieck worked and which dates to the late 13th century; these verses recount how Rother, Berchter, and Lupold are led to the gallows by the heathen after being captured in Constantinople; Count Arnold frees them:


King Rother wishes to marry the daughter of Emperor Constantine in Constantinople. Rother sends twelve knights to petition for her hand. The emperor, who does not want to marry his daughter off in any case and generally executes any suitors, imprisons the envoys. Rother himself sails to Constantinople in disguise under the name Dietrich and manages to abscond with the princess after engaging her help in freeing his envoys, albeit only after being recognized and almost hanged (illustration of King Rother’s voyage, from Otto von Leixner, Illustrirte Literaturgeschichte der vornehmsten Kulturvölker, 4 vols. [Leipzig 1880–83], 1:71):


The princess, however, is kidnapped and brought back to Constantinople, where Rother, after fierce battles with the king of Babylon, wins her back.

Ludwig Tieck had, moreover, published a dramatic version of Little Red Riding Hood in 1800, Leben und Tod des kleinen Rothkäppchens: Eine Tragödie, published as part of Tieck’s Romantische Dichtungen, 2 vols. (Jena 1800), 464–506, based on the version by Charles Perrault, Le petit chaperon rouge (1697), in which the wolf eats both the grandmother and Little Red Riding Hood; and so also in Tieck’s version does the wolf eat the girl (pp. 502–6):

Wolf. And thus did I manage to get in,
And take the old woman’s life. . . .

(Perhaps the most frequently illustrated scene from the fairy tale; here three versions from successive editions: Charles Perrault, Histoires ou Contes du tems passé, Avec des Moralitez; par Mr Perrault (1742; 1742 rev.; 1747); fourth illustration from Contes des fées. Tales of Passed Times by Mother Goose. With morals. Written in French … and Englished by R. S., Gent. i.e. Robert Samber; or rather, by G. Miège [London 1796], plate 6:)




Red Riding Hood enters.

Red Riding Hood. Grandmother, already in bed?


Wolf. For an hour now, I yearned to see
You, dear child, for I am not well.

Red Riding Hood. I am to send you greetings from Mother,
Who sends you a cooked chicken,
Which will do you good in your weakness.
Father was in an ill mood,
So away I went, for he often strikes me,
He is not aways keen on my coming to see you,
And stand by you in your need.
There you are in bed, but at the opposite end.
My, my, Grandmother, what strange hands you have!

Wolf. The better to hold you with.

Red Riding Hood. My parents decided to stay at home,
So I am to spend the night with you.

Wolf. Exactly what I myself wanted.

Red Riding Hood. They say it is not good to go out at night,
Bad things might happen.
My, my, Grandmother, what big ears you have!

Wolf. The better to hear you with.

Red Riding Hood. I was wanting to come visit you,
And yet now I am feeling so uneasy here in the room!
My, my, Grandmother, what big eyes you have!

Wolf. The better to see you with!

Red Riding Hood. And your nose also looks strangely different.

Wolf. Oh, that is just from the evening light.

Red Riding Hood. Oh, good Lord! What a large mouth you have!

[Illustrations from Claude Perrault, Mmes D’Aulnoy et Leprince de Beaumont, illustrés par Bertall Beaucé etc., Contes de fées, new ed. (Paris 1920) and Charles Perrault, Le petit chaperon rouge, Le petit musée des enfants: récréations amusantes, 2nd series, no. 4 (Paris n.d.), final plate:]


Wolf. The better to eat you with!

Red Riding Hood. Alas! Help! Help! Come! Help me!

Wolf. You cry out in vain, you are already dead!


The two robins

First robin. Come, let us fly to the window.

Second robin. Red Riding Hood is in there; what a treat!

First robin. Alas, alas, alas!

Second robin. Whatever is wrong?

First robin. Oh, woe!
The wolf has eaten Red Riding Hood up!

The hunter enters.

Hunter. Why do you cry out so wretchedly?

Birds. Red Riding Hood is dead, Lord have mercy!
The wild wolf has torn her apart,
And almost already eaten her completely up!

Hunter. May the Lord have mercy! let me look in the window —

(he shoots inside)

And now the wolf lies dead,
Thus follows his due punishment,
For there he swims in his own red blood.
Though someone may commit a crime,
He will never escape the punishment. Back.

[21] Felix Theodor Bernhardi, born 6 November 1802, was five years old when he, his mother, and Ludwig Tieck arrived in Munich in October 1808, and six years old when Caroline was here writing. He seems to have spent — and to have enjoyed spending — a great deal of time with the Schellings. See his memoirs, Aus dem Leben Theodor von Bernhardis, vol. 1, Jugenderinnerungen (Leipzig 1893), 37–38):

I had a more intimate relationship with Schelling [than with Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi]. I rarely visited the Jacobis except during formal evening gatherings, which were largely rather elegant affairs where I might also meet with the family’s grandchildren. We children socialized until we were all sent home to bed.

By contrast, I often spent entire afternoons by myself with the Schellings, and both he and his wife, with both of whom I was on a first-name basis, spent a great deal of time with me.

One of the main sources of entertainment was to leaf through the Theatrum Europaeum [history in 21 quarto vols. by Matthäus Merian published 1633–1738, which had first-hand accounts of, e.g., the Thirty Years War and 720 copper engravings. Here an illustration of a siege from vol. 1 (1643) and of the naval battle between Sweden and Holland at Sund in 1658, from vol. 8 (1667), following p. 932]



and especially the mighty folio tomes of Khevenhüller’s Annales Ferdinandi [Franz Christoph Khevenhüller, Annales Ferdinandei Oder Wahrhaffte Beschreibung Kaysers Ferdinandi Des Andern . . . Thaten, 12 vols. (Leipzig 1721–26), containing documents from the imperial chancellery in Spain and an important source for 17th-century historians; here an illustration of the “Entrance of the Prince of England into Madrid, 23 March 1623,” from vol. 7 (1724), following col. 237:]


and to view, tirelessly and with continually renewed interest, the copper engravings portraying the battles of the Thirty Years War [here battles in Holland from 1624 from Theatrum Europaeum (1746), following p. 828:]


I was always quite interested in this war, and yet because of the innocent way I mistakenly identified Austria with Germany, viewed the Swedes and French only as foreigners, and was raised to nourish a certain preference for the Catholic Church, I came to identify my heroes primarily with the field commanders of the Catholic League [here imperial fireworks in Nürnberg in 1650 Theatrum Europaeum, vol. 6 (1663)]:


Schelling used to tease me, explicating this or that story in a rather wondrous fashion, listened to me recount all the unprecedented heroic deeds I planned to perform some day as a field commander and knight myself, and then recounted to me in his own turn all his alleged military campaigns and wondrous deeds.

He did not go to any particularly great lengths with his inventions, however, since much of what he related he drew, with slight alterations, from Münchhausen [Gottfried August Bürger, Wunderbare Reisen zu Wasser und zu Lande, Feldzüge und lustige Abenteuer des Freyherrn von Münchhausen (London [=Göttingen] 1786)], Herr von Schelmuffski’s adventures [Christian Reuter, Schelmuffskys Wahrhafftige curiöse und sehr gefährliche Reisebeschreibung zu Wasser und Lande (1697; rev. ed. 1697), a satirical comic narrative about a ne’er-do-well who experiences remarkable and extravagant adventures abroad that, however, no one at home believes] and similar books.

[For illustrations of the kinds of adventures from which Schelling apparently drew his own tales, click on the image below to open a gallery from Baron von Münchhausen’s “miraculous journeys and adventures” from Gottfried August Bürger’s edition of 1786:]


It no doubt came across as quite strange and droll that I believed every word he said. I then recounted these remarkable stories quite unaffectedly at home, and when someone then told me that these things could not possibly be true, I would reply, “But he told me himself,” which was the deciding factor for me, since, after all, he certainly would know best. How, they all told me, could I possibly believe such nonsense? Could I not tell that Schelling was merely having fun with me? It took considerable effort to make me comprehend the difference between such fun, on the one hand, and lies, on the other.

Erich Schmidt, (1913), 2:663, remarks that in his Denkwürdigkeiten aus dem Leben des Kaiserl. russ. Generals von der Infantrie Carl Friedrich Grafen von Toll, 4 vols. in 5 (Leipzig 1856–58), Felix Bernhardi expressed an “early and profound hatred for Romanticism.” Back.

[22] Although Caroline is thinking of August Berdinand Bernhardi as the “father,” Felix Bernhardi’s father was almost certainly Karl Gregor von Knorring, though for several years Sophie Bernhardi successfully deceived Wilhelm Schlegel into thinking the paternity was his in order to keep receiving financial help from Wilhelm. Back.

[23] Concerning the episode in which August Ferdinand Bernhardi came to Munich and had a court order served to gain custody of his two sons, see Caroline’s letter to Pauline Gotter on 23 November 1808 (letter 436), note 11, and esp. and Sophie Bernhardi’s letter to Wilhelm Schlegel on 4 January 1809 (supplementary appendix 440.3).

Felix Bernhardi seems regularly to have referred to August Ferdinand Bernhardi as “the fat gentleman”; see Felix’s letter to Wilhelm Schlegel on 26 January 1809, offering his understanding of why his brother, Wilhelm, was no longer with the family in Munich (text of letter in supplementary appendix 440.3). Back.

[24] Two of Amalie Tieck’s brothers ended up as merchants in Silesia (Captain Chauchard and Samuel John Neele, A General Map of the Empire of Germany, Holland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the Grisons, Italy, Sicily, Corsica, and Sardinia [London 1800]):

Her mother, Dorothea Charlotte Alberti, who died barely four months later, on 24 July 1809, seems already to have gone either to visit or live with one of them. The brothers had a factory in Waldenburg, ca. 70 km southwest of Breslau, though also not far from Ziebingen, where Amalie was already living (Joseph Scheda, Generalkarte von Europa [Vienna 1845–47]):



[25] The implication, almost certainly true, is that Amalie Tieck and Burgsdorf were romantically involved (Goettinger Taschen Calendar fu2r das Jahr 1797; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):


“Also went for nourishment“: Caroline is referring to Ludwig Tieck’s similar, long-standing (it lasted till the end of her life) romantic relationship with Countess Henriette Amalie Dorothea Finckenstein. Back.

[26] In Madlitz; see the map of Ziebingen. Back.

[27] Germ., Hausfinke, a play on words with the countesses’ last name, Finckenstein, “house finch,” viz., in a house full of finches (Berlinischer Damen Kalender auf das Iahr 1800; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):



[28] Ludwig and Amalie Tieck had been living apart and, figuratively, in marital separation since 1804, and Wilhelm von Burgsdorff had in fact alrleady married Ernestine von Burgsdorff (1791–1820) on 1 December 1808 in Klipphausen near Dresden. He did, however, while maintaining an itinerant life of travel, nonetheless continue to live in Ziebingen among other places. Back.

[29] I.e., the three Tieck siblings. Back.

[30] Uncertain reference. The itinerant Karl Friedrich August Grosse, to whom Luise was once engaged and who in 1809 appears in Copenhagen after living in France and Italy? Perhaps Grosse was on his way back from Italy. Back.

[31] Caroline was quite right in her suspicion, and for the right reason. See her letter to Luise Wiedemann in February 1809 (letter 438), note 5, esp. also with the cross references there back to the supplementary appendix on Minna van Nuys. Back.

[32] Friedrich and Dorothea Schlegel had converted to Catholicism on 16 April 1808 in Cologne (see Georg Michael Klein’s letter to Schelling on 29 [21?] May 1808 [letter 432e]). Friedrich had been in Vienna since 1808, Dorothea since late October or early November 1808 (Krisenjahre 2:645), albeit against the wishes of Wilhelm Schlegel, who thought her presence in Vienna would harm Friedrich’s chances of obtaining a position with the state.

From 29 March 1809 (Krisenjahre 3:393), however, Friedrich occupied the position of secretary of the royal and state chancellery under Count Friedrich von Stadion, the latter at the time the general intendant of the imperial armies. Friedrich was to publish various army newspapers, proclamations, and special flyers. Friedrich would also, it may be noted, now be wearing a uniform with a “green coat with yellow buttons, a red vest with gold, and a hat with a gold border” (Krisenjahre 3:395). Back.

[33] Pallas, or Pallas Athena (in Rome: Minerva), daughter of Zeus (Jupiter) and Metis; before her birth, Zeus swallowed her mother, and Athena afterwards sprung forth from the head of Zeus fully formed, with a war shout, and in complete armor. Because Zeus was the most powerful god, and her mother the wisest, in Pallas Athena herself power and wisdom were harmoniously blended (Carl Ottfried Müller and Carl Osterley, Denkmäler der alten Kunst, 3rd ed., ed. Friedrich Wieseler [Göttingen 1877], vol. 2, no. 2, plates 202, 204, 211):


Caroline is doubtless also thinking of the multiple patronages Pallas Athena assumed (of the state, agriculture, the arts), as had Madame de Staël in Wilhelm’s case. Pallas Athena was, however, also portrayed as a virgin divinity whose heart was inaccessible to the passion of love; although Wilhelm had likely entered into his relationship with Madame de Staël back in May 1804 thinking it would be romantic, he was forever frustrated in that respect, though he did remain loyal to her for the rest of her life.

The “situation” to which Caroline is alluding is difficult to ascertain precisely. She may be referring to the uneasy situation that had now developed between Friedrich and Dorothea’s (increasingly) resolute Catholicism and Wilhelm’s increasing inclination to distance himself from any notion of conversion, and then also to the complicated politics of the military and geopolitical developments of the time, in which Friedrich had now, as Caroline remarks, thrown in his lot with the Austrian monarchy and Wilhelm with someone (Madame de Staël) whom Napoleon had essentially proscribed. Back.

[34] Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, Gramsalbus wettet (1793); Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Chodowiecki Sammlung (6-420):


Here Friedrich Schlegel ca. 1810 (from Friedrich Vogt and Max Koch, Geschichte der Deutschen Literatur von den ältesten Zeiten bis zur Gegenwart, vol. 3 [Leipzig, Vienna 1920), plate following p. 32):



[35] I.e., earlier in Jena (Der Freund des schönen Geschlechts: ein angenehm und nützlicher Taschenkalender für das Jahr 1808):



[36] See the correspondence during 1796–1803. For a trenchant account (precisely because not unprejudiced) of the incipient tension, friction, and personality conflicts — all of which militate against too harmonious a representation of the Jena Romantics —, see Ludwig Tieck’s letter to August Ferdinand and Sophie Bernhardi on 6 December 1799 (letter 257c). Back.

[37] Concerning Schiller’s “three” Wallensteins, see the supplementary appendix on the summary of Wallenstein.

In 1809 Benjamin Constant, life companion of Madame de Staël, published a (thus Erich Schmidt, [1913], 2:663) stylistically inappropriate, classicistic combination of Schiller’s plays Die Piccolomini and Wallensteins Tod (omitting, contrary to Caroline’s implication, part 1, the prologue Wallensteins Lager) with a comparative introduction: Benjamin Constant de Rebecque, Wallstein, tragédie en cinq actes et en verse, précédée de quelques réflexions sur le théatre allemand et suivie de notes historiques (Genève 1809).

Goethe wrote the following lines to Charlotte Schiller on 27 February 1809, i.e., just before Caroline is here writing (cited in Gustav Woldemar Biedermann, “Zwei Gedichte Goethe’s,” in Goethe-Forschungen [Frankfurt 1879], 1—6, here 3–4):

Wallstein Tragédie en cinq actes

You who should indeed enjoy the praise,
Oh, my good Constant, remain quiet!
The Germans thank you not, for they well know what they want;
And the French know not what you wanted.

Gustav Woldemar Biedermann remarks concerning these lines:

The extent to which Goethe appreciated the intelligent politician, rhetorician, and writer Constant, Madame de Staël’s friend, comes to resolute expression in the biographical essays in his Tag- und Jahresheften. For just that reason, however, Goethe was all the more displeased by Constant’s enormous blunder in Wallstein, tragédie en cinq acts et en verse etc. (Geneva 1809).

Constant had acquired a considerable part of his early education in Germany and was sufficiently acquainted with the German spirit to appreciate fully the beauty of Schiller’s Wallenstein, beauty he explicates with considerable acumen in the réflexions preceding the text to his play.

On the other hand, however, he declares it to be impossible to present this trilogy to the French public unaltered. Hence he not only shortens it down to the size of a customary French tragedy, in the process also casting the freely moving German stage verse into bound Alexandrines, he also fuses several characters into a single one, wholly eliminates a considerable number of others, expunges the most delicate and tender situations, alters most of the motifs, and in so doing turns Schiller’s Wallenstein into an unpleasant and embarrassing piece to both the Germans and — despite slight accommodation — the French.

The play was, incidentally, not a translation despite indications to the contrary in some editions; Constant himself remarks in his introduction (translated and cited in the review of Constant’s piece, “Wallstein, traduite de l’Allemand par M. Benjamin Constant de Rebeque, 8vo (Paris 1809),” The Retrospective Review and Historical and Antiquarian Magazine, ed. Henry Southern and Nicholas Harris Nicolas, 2nd series, 1 [1827], 40–55, here 43):

There is not a single scene in the three tragedies of Schiller which I have retained entire; there are some in my piece the idea of which is not to be found in Schiller. He has forty-eight dramatis personae, while I have only twelve. The unities have obliged me to recast the whole. Back.

[38] Bonnets from 1805 (Der neuesten Moden Almanach auf das Jahr 1805; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):


Concerning the new edition of Schelling’s Weltseele, see his letter to Friedrich Frommann on 2 October 1808 (letter 435a), note 13. The reference must be to the possibility of Friedrich Perthes coming to Munich. Back.

[39] Caroline is correct; see the supplementary appendix on the War of 1809, chap. 6. The various newspapers in Munich were in any case keeping the public abreast of these movements. Back.

[40] Johann Heinrich and Meta Liebeskind had been in Munich since late 1807. The reason for Caroline’s unkind remarks here is uncertain, since Meta Liebeskind is one of the persons Gottliebin Schelling contacts following Caroline’s death in September (letter 446).

Concerning Meta’s apparent uncertainty about Caroline’s friendship, see Caroline’s letter to her on 28 August 1809 (letter 444). It may be recalled, however, that Meta had been Caroline’s housemate in Mainz and fellow prisoner in Königstein during the spring and summer of 1793, and that Caroline suspected Meta of having betrayed the secret of her pregnancy.

See esp. the dramatic description in Friedrich Schlegel’s letter to Wilhelm Schlegel on 28 August 1793 (letter 134), in which he speaks of Caroline receiving a letter from Frankfurt with the words “People know about it in Maynz,” whereupon she was “fairly stunned with fright and pain, and for a long time could utter only single words” (Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, Mariane allein auf ihr Kämmerchen macht kummervolle Betrachtungen [ca. 1742–1830]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Uh 4° 47 [250]; illustration to Pierre Carlet de Marivaux, La Vie de Marianne):


“We think it most likely that Madam Forkel was the traitor, out of envy over her [Caroline’s] earlier release [from Königstein].” See esp. note 14 there. Back.

[41] Of the midwifery institute in Kiel. Back.

Translation © 2018 Doug Stott