Sturm und Drang

Definition

Theater

  • (German: Storm and Stress) A German literary and dramatic movementof the later 18th-century. The term came from the title of a preposterousplay by Friedrich von Klinger (1776). The movement, essentially areaction against 18th-century neoclassicism, was greatly influencedby the idealism of Rousseau and the example of Shakespeare.

    The plays of the Sturm und Drang are characterizedby an emphasis on passionate emotion, a disdain for the unitiesand other literary conventions, and a concern with the individual'sstruggle against tyranny and oppression. Leading works of the movementinclude Goethe's play Götz von Berlichingen (1773),his novel The Sorrows of Young Werther (1773), and Schiller'splay Die Räuber (1781). Other writers associated withthe Sturm und Drang include Johann Gottfried Herder (1744 - 1803),the movement's main theorist, and Jakob Lenz (1751 - 92), whoformulated the rules of Romantic drama in his treatise Anmerkungenübers Theater (1774). Sturm und Drang was imitatedthroughout Europe and influenced early 19th-century English melodrama.It also spawned a sub-genre called the Ritterdrama (Knightdrama).

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