Sturm und Drang

   1) (Storm and Stress)
   A term denoting a tendency among young playwrights; as a cultural movement, its name derives from the title of Friedrich Klinger's 1777 play Sturm und Drang. The most significant playwright of the Storm and Stress movement was Johann Wolfgang Goethe, who in the 1770s rejected the restrictions of neoclassicism and attempted to write plays that adumbrated intensity, unbridled lyricism, and the exaltation of Shakespeare as a prototype. Goethe was the prime motivator in the tendency, and his are by far the best of the plays created during the decade, including his Götz von Berlichingen, Clavigo, and Stella. The playwrights who imitated him included Klinger, Jakob Lenz, Heinrich Leopold Wagner, and Friedrich Müller (1749-1825). Critics sometimes include Friedrich Schiller's Die Räuber (The Robbers) within the Storm and Stress, but Schiller had little to do with Goethe or the others at the time, and most observers rate the play as isolated from, though somewhat similar to, the tendencies of Götz, Lenz's Der Hofmeister (The Tutor), or Wagner's Die Reue nach dem Tat (Regret after the Deed). Frequent preoccupations in these plays were overpowering passion, an emphasis on the power of youth and the suffering youth must at times necessarily endure, alcoholic dissipation or sexual depravity, and unrestrained extravagance in language.
   2) "Sturm und Drang"
(Storm and Stress) by Friedrich Klinger.
   Premiered 1777. This is the play from which the Sturm und Drang cultural movement takes its name; its original title was Der Wirrwarr (The Chaos). Sturm und Drang is among the first of several German plays set in America—though there is hardly anything recognizably "American" in it. It is essentially a kind of revenge melodrama featuring a feud between the Bushy and Berkley families. Caroline Berkley predictably loves Karl Bushy, and because he has taken the name Wild, Caroline at first does not know he is a member of the Bushy family. There are duels between family members and their allies (including two Frenchmen named Le Feu and Blasius), deaths, and finally an attempt at reconciliation, though the original "chaos" seems destined to continue. Klinger employed an extravagant idiom in the play, with characters who often sound as if they are on the verge of hysterics.

Historical dictionary of German Theatre. . 2006.

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