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Sturm und Drang
Sturm und Drang (literally: "storm and stress") was a Germany literary movement that developed during the latter half of the 18th century. The period is most commonly characterized as having lasted from 1767 - 1785 although the dates 1769 - 1786 and 1765 - 1795 are also given. It takes its name from a play by F. M. von Klinger. While the ideas of Jean-Jacques Rousseau were a major stimulus of the movement, it developed more immediately as a reaction -- often inspired by Johann Gottfried von Herder and Alexander Lessing -- against what was seen as an overly rationalist literary tradition, and its rejection of the rules of 18th-century neoclassical style firmly situate it as part of the wider cultural movement known as romanticism.
Sturm und Drang was revolutionary in its stress on personal subjectivity and on the unease of man in contemporary society, and it firmly established German authors as cultural leaders in Europe at a time when many considered France to be the center of literary development. The movement was also distinguished by the intensity with which it developed the theme of youthful genius in rebellion against accepted standards and by its enthusiasm for nature. The greatest figure of the movement was Goethe, who wrote its first major drama, Götz von Berlichingen (1773), and its most sensational and representative novel, Die Leiden des jungen Werthers (The Sorrows of Young Werther, 1774). Other writers of importance were Klopstock, J. M. R. Lenz, and Friedrich Müller. The last major figure was Schiller, whose Die Räuber and other early plays were also a prelude to romanticism.
The movement also informed some classical music of the period, resulting in stormy minor key writing in pieces such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Don Giovanni (in the overture and Don Giovanni's descent into hell) and certain symphonies by Joseph Haydn, such as the Symphony No. 45.
Other notable literary works include:
- Zum Schakespears-Tag (1771)
- Sesenheimer Lieder (1771)
- Götz von Berlichingen (1773)
- Prometheus (1773; revised 1777)
- Ganymed (1774)
Christoph Heinrich Hölty
Source and further reading
See studies by R. Pascal (1953, repr. 1967) and M. O. Kirsten (1969).
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