Wilhelm von Humboldt
(1767 - 1835)
Edited by Eugene R. Moutoux
Like Goethe, Wilhelm von Humboldt successfully combined the roles of scholar and statesman. As scholar, his chief interests lay in the areas of philology, philosophy, literature, and history; as statesman, he represented the Prussian government on many occasions, most notably perhaps at the Congress of Vienna in 1814-15, and he effected important educational reforms in Prussia. He was the brother of Alexander von Humboldt, natural scientist of world renown.
From 1794 to 1797 Wilhelm von Humboldt resided in Jena, where Schiller also lived. There the two men became good friends. Humboldt then moved to Paris and, in 1801, to Rome, where he lived until 1808 as Prussian consul. The following letter to Goethe, written from Rome approximately one month after Schiller’s death, expresses an entirely positive appraisal of Schiller, which thus offers a strong contrast to that of Caroline Schlegel Schelling. Not inappropriately, Humboldt refers to the close bond of friendship that had existed between Goethe and Schiller. Indeed, Goethe himself wrote to the composer Karl Friedrich Zelter on June 1, 1805, that he had lost in Schiller "einen Freund und die Hälfte meines Daseins."
Answer in German.
1. Wohin sollte Goethe im nächsten Winter fahren?
2. Warum hatte ihn Humboldt nicht früher eingeladen?
4. Was sollte Goethe unter Schillers Papieren suchen?
5. Warum war es unwahrscheinlich, daß Papiere gefunden werden, die Goethe und Humboldtunbekannt waren?
6. Warum schmerzte es Humboldt, daß Schiller in den letzten Jahren so wenig Prosa geschrieben hatte?
7. Was wollte Schiller mit jedem neuen Schau- spiel?
8. Hatte Schiller sein künstlerisches Ziel erreicht?
9. Was wäre geschehen, wenn er länger gelebt hätte?
10. Was gelingt Schiller in seinen Werken?
11. Warum war es Humboldt äußerst wichtig, daß Goethe nicht stirbt?
Unreal conditions: Fill in the blanks as indicated.
1. Wenn Schiller __________ ________ (had lived),________ Humboldt Goethe nicht ___________ (would ... have invited).
2. ________ entweder Schiller oder Goethe aufeine längere Reise ____________ (If ... had gone) , ________ der Zurückgebliebene keinen Ersatz ___________ (would ... have found).
3. Wenn das Band zwischen ihnen nicht zerrissen ________ (were), __________ Goethe nicht auflängere Zeit nach Italien _________ (would ... be able to travel).
4. Wenn in Leben und Kunst alles nicht so ewig unvollendet __________ (did ... remain)!
5. ________ Schiller sein Ziel ___________ (Would ... have reached),wenn er nicht ____________ ________ (had ... died)?
6. Was ________ er für die Kunst ________ (would ... do),wenn er noch __________ (were alive)?
7. Wenn die Welt Goethe ___________ (were to lose),________ (would be) überall Nacht und Verwirrung.
Imperatives: Change each of the following formal command-forms to a)
familiar singular and b) familiar plural. Translate. (All three forms
have the same translation.)
1. Verbringen Sie den nächsten Winter in Italien!
2. Suchen Sie die Orte aus, die Ihnen aus der Erinnerung wertvoll sind!
3. Sagen Sie es mir doch bald!
Express in German.
1. Humboldt knew that Goethe had long wanted to return to Italy.
2. Goethe had not gone to Italy in recent years because a separation from Schiller would have been painful for both men.
3. Humboldt wants Goethe to tell him if anything unfamiliar has been found among Schiller's papers.
4. Humboldt wishes that Schiller had written more prose in the last years of his life.
5. He thinks that a poet expresses himself more directly in prose than in poetry.
6. According to Humboldt, Schiller attempted in every play to come closer to his goal.
7. Humboldt wrote that German literature had reached its zenith in Schiller.
8. He asks Goethe to keep himself healthy; if Goethe were to die, he says, there would be confusion everywhere.
|Research suggestion: The personal relationship between Goethe and Schiller, from their first meeting in 1794 until Schiller's death in 1805.|
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