I am transcribing a letter from about 1880 from the Norwegian Professor of Philosophy Marcus Jacob Monrad to the Swiss "Poet priest" Friederich Oser https://www.wikibook.wiki/wiki/de/Friedrich_Oser:

I am not able to decipher the below word marked with XXX. I attach a picture enter image description here of the problematic part. Any suggestions would be most welcome.

Seit einem Menschenalter bin ich hier
als Professor der Philosophie angestellt und
trage Logik und Metaphysik, Psychologie, Ethik,
Religionsphilosophie und Aesthetik vor. Mein
System ist wesentlich idealistisch, XXX ich habe
hier meistens — ausser den gewöhnlichen Böoten-
thum — den auch hier aufkeimenden
comte-millschen Positivismus zu bekämpfen.

  • Apart from my answer, I'm curious about a detail: Did Oser request a picture of Monrad? If I read correctly, M. writes that he is "sending his Socratic face" (Gesicht) to him, accompanied by "some text" ("einige Textesworte", an expression sometimes used for the libretto of a musical composition).
    – marquinho
    Commented Nov 26, 2021 at 10:59
  • @marquinho: Monrad's letter starts in this manner: In einer glücklichen Stunde hatte ich den jungen Herrn Riis, der nach Basel ging, gebeten sich nach einem Herrn Oser, der wahrscheinlich Pfarrer — oder ... Professor sei — zu erkundigen und ihm, falls er ihn träfe und er sich meines erinnerte meinen Grüß zu bringen. Das hat mir jetzt von Ihnen ein liebes "Wort und Bild" eingebracht und eine sehr angenehme Jugenderinnerung aufgefrischt. Ich beeile mich daher, Ihnen mein sokratisches Gesicht — leider wohl das Einzige, was ich von meinem großen Vorgänger ererbt habe — zu schicken, ...
    – Helge
    Commented Nov 29, 2021 at 15:20
  • Cute. As I understand it, Oser contacted his acquaintance of yore, Monrad, after meeting Riis and sent him a picture along with his letter («"Das hat mir jetzt von Ihnen ein liebes "Wort und Bild" eingebracht»); which Monrad now reciprocates. Nice!
    – marquinho
    Commented Nov 29, 2021 at 21:07
  • Yes, the "Jugenderinnerung" does probably refer to Monrad and Oser meeteing each other at Schelling's famous "Vorlesungen" at the University of Berlin in the autumn of 1842, which a lot of later celebrities also attended. @marquinho: If you have further questions, you are welcome to contact me via my email address, which you will find in my profile.
    – Helge
    Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 17:10

1 Answer 1


I submit that it is the word "mich" and that, given the rest of the sentence, it is likely a mistake and should be deleted.

  1. The word appears to read "mich" in the first place. Note the ending -ch and a dot above the first half. Other common words ending in -ch ("auch", "noch") seem too much of a stretch (there is no closed "o", no "a", no stroke above the line for the "u").

  2. Compare your word to "mich" in l. 1 of the image (which you helpfully included). The second-to-last word quite clearly reads "mich". Furthermore, the sentence goes on like this:

Ich beeile mich daher, Ihnen mein sokratisches Gesicht(?) [...] zu schicken, und füge einige "Textesworte" dazu.

making "mich" the only possibility in this context – as "beeilen" is reflexive and requires an accusative object.

  1. There is no room for "mich" in "[mich] ich habe hier meistens [...] zu bekämpfen". I submit that the word is the result of an oversight on M.'s part (maybe a slip of the pen in transcribing from a draft, if this is the fair copy of his letter). Thus, it should be deleted.

(Thanks to Helge for correcting "Ihnen" in my transcription of the quote!)

  • qurstion wasn't whether to delete it or not (this would be falsifying evidence)
    – vectory
    Commented Nov 27, 2021 at 23:56
  • @marquinho: I agree with your suggestion. As to your point 2, "Osern" is incorrect; it should be "Ihnen"!
    – Helge
    Commented Nov 29, 2021 at 15:19
  • @Helge: Oh, you are right! I overinterpreted this one! I'll edit "Ihnen" into the answer.
    – marquinho
    Commented Nov 29, 2021 at 20:57

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