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SCHILLER IN 1788



With respect to his ‘historical writings', Schiller mentioned in his correspondence to Koerner that he was aiming to attain a realistic, bourgeois existence through them that would ultimately also allow him to settle down and to get married:

"I am in need of a medium through which I can find enjoyment in other things . . . so that my stale nature will find warmth again,"

and that he wanted to break

"the fatal chain of stress, exhaustion, opium sleep and champagne delirium" (Schillers Werke I: 43).

A wealthy bride was to help provide him with all of that, so that he could work as a poet. In the end, however, he would choose a woman he genuinely felt himself in love with.

As mentioned in the time table, Schiller already corresponded with precisely that woman: Charlotte von Lengefeld, although all of his correspondence to her of that time was directed at both Charlotte and at her sister Karoline von Beulwitz (the later Karoline von Wolzogen). Schiller's contender in his courting Charlotte was Karl Ludwig von Knebel, the former educator of Prince Konstantin of Weimar and friend of Goethe who would later become known through his translations of antique literature.

During his spring sojourn at Volkstaedt, Schiller spent his mornings writing at the ‘Revolt of the Spanish Netherlands', but also at the play ‘Der Menschenfeind' (‘The Misanthropist') which would only remain a fragment, and on his ‘Letters on Don Carlos'. The afternoons were dedicated to socializing with the von Lengefeld sister. In her 1830 Schiller biography, Karoline von Wolzogen would write:

"In our house, Schiller became acquainted with a new life style. He had missed the enjoyment of freely interacting in a cricle of friends for a long time; he found us always receptive for the thoughts that filled his soul. He wanted to acquaint us with those thoughts on poetry, art and philosophy that he thought we could benefit from, and this in turn also softened him up" (Goethe und seine Zeit 155).

The antique literature Schiller was intensively studying in July were translations of Homer's ‘Iliad' and ‘Odyssee', works of Sophokles and Euripides, for which Schiller used French prose translations.

When Schiller met Goethe on September 7, it was also in the house of Karoline von Beulwitz. Goethe had returned from Italy in June and traveled to Rudolstadt with Frau von Stein and other members of the Weimar society. However, even in this ‘informal' setting, Goethe and Schiller could not yet form closer ties.

With Schiller, Goethe was dreading to again come into too close contact with a writer of the literary ‘storm and stress' period he had already left behind, while Schiller reported to Koerner:

"By and large, my idea of his greatness has not been lessened [by our personal contact]; I doubt, however, that we will ever become close. Much that is still of interest to me has already had its day with him. He is so far ahead of me (less in years than in life experience and development) that our paths will likely ever cross . . . " (Goethe und seine Zeit 155).

A ‘small bridge' was built, however, by Goethe's picking up from this visit the March issue of the ‘Teutscher Merkur' as he had noted in it Schiller's poem ‘Die Goetter Griechenlands' (‘The Gods of Greece').

Volume 1 of the ‘History of the Revolt of the Spanish Netherlands' described the historical events up to the year 1567. Another volume would not follow.

Another publication issued by Crusius was a volume of a ‘History of the most remarkable rebellions and conspiracies of the medieval and more recent times' with contributions of Schiller's Leipzig friend Huber and of his brother-in-law Reinwald. Schiller merely wrote the preface to this work.

While Goethe and Schiller may not have become close literary friends, yet, Goethe, nevertheless, assisted Schiller in obtaining the unsalaried Jena history professorship in writing a memorandum to the Weimar authorities. The courts of Coburg and Meiningen also consented to Schiller's appointment. When Schiller had his doubts as to his suitability for that post, Goethe tried to dissuade those by referring to his own maxim of ‘learning by teaching'.

Letters 5 - 12 of Schiller's ‘12 Letters on Don Carlos' were published in December of this year. To this should be noted that, after the play premiered in 1787, it was, at first, not very well understood by the audience and by its critics. To reply to his critics and to clear up misunderstandings, Schiller wrote these twelve letters which we want to make you acquaianted with here in a near-literal translation.


TO THE FIRST PART OF SCHILLER'S 12 LETTERS ON 'DON CARLOS'!


BACK TO THE TIME TABLE!