Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Schelling to Hegel [Letter]

Schelling to Hegel

July 11, 1803

. . . The saddest sight I've seen during my stay here was that of Hölderlin. Since his journey to France, where he traveled on Professor Ströhlin's recommendation with a completely false conception of what the duties of his position were to be, and whence he immediately returned again, since it appears that demands were made of him which he was incapable of fulfilling, and which were not compatible with his sensitivity --- since this unfortunate journey, his spirit has become completely disturbed, and although he has proved capable of a few works, such as the translations from the Greek, he is otherwise thoroughly absent of spirit. The sight of him was unsettling to me: he neglects his appearance to the point of repugnance, and though his speech is less suggestive of madness, he has taken on the outward mannerism of those in such a condition. There is no hope of being able to restore him to health here. I thought of asking you whether you would take care of him, were he to come to Jena, which he would like to do. He needs peaceful surroundings, and with attendant care would probably be set right. Whoever is willing to take care of him must thoroughly take charge, and must build him up again from the foundation. Were one victorious over his outward appearance, he would no longer be a burden, for he is quiet and withdrawn in himself.

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