Episode 10: “THE TALENTED DOROTHEA”

The publisher Manfred Hanssen from Jena went to visit Friedrich Schlegel at his home in Weimar, where the writer lived in the company of his wife Dorothea. Mr. Hanssen was in a hurry to publish his star writer’s last novel. At the sound of the chime of the door, Schlegel hurried to dry his hands and leave the dishes he was washing in a basin. As he rushed to open, he tore off his apron and tossed it into a corner.

-Mr. Hanssen, what a joy to see you! And at the same time, what a nasty surprise! So what brings you around here?

-Your latest novel, Schlegel. I can‘t wait anymore, I need it now. 

-Excuse me a moment.

Schlegel hurries into the house and shouts: 

-Dorothea, darling, finish quickly what you’re doing! My publisher is here in person! Hurry and come to say hello. 

-Poor wives, they are always so busy. As the English say: they are “The Angels in the House”… Well, as I was just telling, my creditors press me and, as you well know, you are the main asset of my publishing house. 

-Well, you also have the Brothers Grimm.

-Don’t talk me about the Grimms. Each collection of stories takes a year and a half. Don’t you see that they spend their lives traveling here and there in search of their raw material? They are like gold prospectors. While you are an alchemist who makes your own gold. If my publishing house depended on the books of the Grimms, it would have gone bankrupt two years ago. But let’s get to the point: How’s your novel going?

-I’m just finishing it right now.

-Ah, you don’t know how pleased I am to hear that. Then, I can take it with me today.

-Sure. Come, let’s go for a walk while I finish it.

Schlegel opens the entrance door and shouts into the house:

-Darling, we are going for a walk!

The disconcerted Mr. Hanssen is pushed out of the house and both men start walking down the street.

-But … but what about your novel?

-I just told you that I’m finishing it right now.

-But right now you are here with me …

-Ah, I see that you are very influenced by Rationalism. And yet, you publish me, Germany’s staunchest idealist! Surely, you don’t believe in bilocation…

-Are you insinuating that you can be here with me and at the same time be at home concluding your novel?

-You’ve got it right!

-You’re making my head swim… When I said you were an alchemist, I said it figuratively, but now I see that was putting it mildly!

-“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy”! 

-Who said that?

-Hamlet!

-Hamlet? The miller’s son?

-Shakespeare’s son! 

-Oh, the Immortal Bard!

-Yes indeed. And how do you think he could write so many masterpieces in such a short time? 

-You mean that he also had the gift of bilocation?!

-Of multilocation!

-Don’t tell me! 

-While writing “The Comedy of Errors” in Stratford-upon-Avon, he was writing “The Taming of the Shrew” in his London study, and “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” in Birmingham.

Mr. Hanssen’s face is a poem. At this moment, they hear the voice of Dorothea in the distance: “It’s ready!”.

-Oh, I’m done sooner than I thought!


This is a non-profit blog whose purpose is to raise funds for children in need. So if you want to make a donation in exchange for this story, click on this link to UNICEF. I really appreciate it!

Friedrich and Dorothea Schlegel

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