The letters of Friedrich Schlegel (1772-1829), the idea-sparking initiator of German Romanticism, to his longtime pen pal and 'soul mate' Christine von Stransky (1785-1862) are currently in the archival holdings of the Benedictine Abbey of St. Boniface in Munich (call number: Varia 125). The collection includes 202 letters from Friedrich Schlegel to Christine von Stransky as well as nine letters from his wife Dorothea (1764-1839), née Mendelssohn. Of the letter enclosures, handwritten poems, prayers and drawings by Friedrich Schlegel have survived, as have historical newspaper articles.
In addition to a single letter from 1812, the letters span the period from 1821-1828, the last years of Friedrich Schlegel's life. On more than 1098 pages, the letters provide insights into the daily life and family life of the correspondents in Vienna and Augsburg. The private letters have an intimate character, based on the common Catholic faith, and sometimes have a private pastoral function for the writers. Personal challenges are discussed in them, as are contemporary events, questions of Catholic lifestyle, and Schlegel's late philosophical work in the form of publications and lectures. In the process, the letters reveal connections between the Catholic Restoration in Vienna and Bavaria.
Dorothea Schlegel's letters to Christine von Stransky revolve especially around the themes of health, faith, and family, in which the correspondents found a common basis of communication that lasted beyond Friedrich Schlegel's death.
Given to the Benedictine Abbey of St. Boniface in 1876 by Christine's daughter Therese von Stransky for safekeeping, the letters were first published in 1907 and 1911 by Max Rottmanner in a greatly abridged form in two volumes. Thereupon, the trace of the letters was lost, and they were considered war losses until November 2020, when they were rediscovered in the archives of St. Bonifaz Abbey at the instigation of the Friedrich and Dorothea Schlegel Study Center (FDS). Since 2021, the letters have been completely edited for the first time under the direction of Prof. Dr. Ulrich Breuer within the third section of the Kritische Friedrich-Schlegel-Ausgabe in volumes 31 and 32,2. In the same year, the letters were digitized in the university library of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. With the consent of the St. Bonifaz monastery archive, the letters are accessible as digital copies on the JGU website.