The Collected Letters, Volume 1


; 4 June 1821; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18210600-TC-LIST-01; CL 1:e3.

[? June 1821]

Noehden's German Grammar The Exercises and Elements I have never used, or found the want of.

Ludwig's—— Dictionary—

Lessings Fabeln.

Archenholz (History of the Seven Years War) Geschichte des Siebenjährigen Krieges; a plain perspicuous and rather interesting history, and very easy to read. Price about 12/.

Schillers Trauerspiel [tragic] Plays are also far easier than you would expect: particularly Maria Stuart, Wallenstein (translated by Coleridge) a most royal tragedy; Wilhelm Tell (not quite so easy but better); Don Karlos (perhaps the easiest, but also the least worthy); the Jungfrau von Orleans (Joan of Arc, a fine piece); with his History of the Thirty Years War &c &c. None of them difficult to read for he writes in the manner of Samuel Johnston, with little vernacularity. Besides he is a man of genius, and if you once read him, you will need no farther stimulus to proceed.

Lessings plays (Nathan der Weise, Minna von Barnhelm especially) are also easy and good.

Gessners Idylls are easily read, but (to my taste) immeasurably wersh [insipid].

Wieland is also by no means difficult; he is also extremely clever and witty, a sort of German Pope. See his Oberon (translated by Sotheby); Der Abderiten Geschichte &c &c.

Best to begin reading forthwith, after you have mastered the declensions, and verbs: mark down your remoras [snags], and if you will send them hither, I shall have the greatest pleasure in setting my shoulder to the wheel. To do anything I possibly can in furtherance of this wise enterprise will be a real enjoyment to me.