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Literature of the Sturm und Drang

Literature of the Sturm und Drang

Edited by David Hill
Volume: 6
Copyright Date: 2003
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 392
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  • Book Info
    Literature of the Sturm und Drang
    Book Description:

    "Sturm und Drang" refers to a set of values and a style of writing that arose in Germany in the second half of the eighteenth century, a particularly intense kind of pre-Romanticism that has often been represented as marking the beginning of an independent modern German culture. The circle of writers around the young Goethe, including Herder, Lenz, Klinger, and later Schiller, felt frustrated by the Enlightenment world of reason, balance, and control, and turned instead to nature as the source of authentic experience. Inspired by Rousseau and Herder, by Shakespeare, and by folk culture, they rebelled against propriety and experimented with new literary forms, their creative energy bursting through conventions that seemed staid and artificial. The Sturm und Drang has often been cited by those attempting to legitimate nationalism and irrationalism, but scholars have more recently emphasized the diversity of the movement and the links between it and the Enlightenment. This volume of essays by leading scholars from the UK, the US, and Germany illuminates the guiding ideas of the movement, discussing its most important authors, texts, and ideas, and taking account of the variety and complexity of the movement, placing it more securely within late-eighteenth-century European history. The main focus is on literature, and in particular on the drama, which was of special importance to the Sturm und Drang. However, the essays also outline the social conditions that gave rise to the movement, and consideration is given to different currents of ideas that underlie the movement, including areas of thought and bodies of work that traditional approaches have tended to marginalize. Contributors: Bruce Duncan, Howard Gaskill, Wulf Koepke, Susanne Kord, Frank Lamport, Alan Leidner, Matthias Luserke, Michael Patterson, Gerhard Sauder, Margaret Stoljar, Daniel Wilson, Karin Wurst. David Hill is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of German Studies at the University of Birmingham, UK.

    eISBN: 978-1-57113-601-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
    D. D. H
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xi)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-44)
    David Hill

    The present volume offers a wealth of basic information about the Sturm und Drang, together with a series of in-depth examinations of some of the most important themes associated with it. Histories of literature conventionally use a single-stranded narrative in order to organize information about literary texts and locate them within a historical development.¹ The present volume provides this basic orientation, especially in this first, introductory chapter, but the following chapters offer a variety of perspectives on the Sturm und Drang by scholars adopting different approaches and placing different emphases. This format allows a range of arguments to be developed....

  7. Sturm und Drang Passions and Eighteenth-Century Psychology
    (pp. 47-68)
    Bruce Duncan

    In Friedrich Maximilian Klinger’s play Sturm und Drang the aptlynamed Wild complains,

    Es ist mir wieder so taub vorm Sinn. So gar dumpf. Ich will mich über eine Trommel spannen lassen, um eine neue Ausdehnung zu kriegen. Mir ist so weh wieder. O könnte ich in dem Raum dieser Pistole existiren, bis mich eine Hand in die Luft knallte. (K-SD, 8–9)¹

    This mixture of melancholy and violence in a Sturm und Drang work comes as no surprise. Nor does the heat with which Karl von Moor rejects his effete times in Schiller’s Die Räuber:

    Pfui! pfui über das schlappe...

  8. Herder and the Sturm und Drang
    (pp. 69-94)
    Wulf Koepke

    Histories of German literature present Johann Gottfried Herder as one of the intellectual fathers of the Sturm und Drang. The Brockhaus encyclopedia of 1957 summarized the matter for a general readership by saying that the Sturm und Drang received its theoretical foundation, above all, from Johann Georg Hamann and Herder.¹ “Hamann und Herder” was a typical formula in this context. Four texts by Herder are mentioned: Journal meiner Reise im Jahre 1769; Auch eine Philosophie der Geschichte zur Bildung der Menschheit; and his two contributions to Von deutscher Art und Kunst, the Ossian essay and “Shakespear.” These should, we are...

  9. Ossian, Herder, and the Idea of Folk Song
    (pp. 95-116)
    Howard Gaskill

    In December 1761 (but dated 1762) there appeared in London a volume titled Fingal, consisting of an eponymous epic prose poem in six books accompanied by sixteen shorter pieces, all attributed to the third-century Scottish Gaelic bard Ossian, son of Fingal, and translated into English by one James Macpherson. This work literally fulfilled the promise of an earlier publication, Fragments of Ancient Poetry, Collected in the Highlands of Scotland, and translated from the Galic or Erse Language, which had appeared in Edinburgh in June 1760 to much acclaim and the demand that the translator search for the lost whole of...

  10. “Shakespeare has quite spoilt you”: The Drama of the Sturm und Drang
    (pp. 117-140)
    Francis Lamport

    The meeting of Goethe and Herder in Strasbourg in 1770 was probably the most momentous encounter in the history of German literature, outranking even that of Goethe and Schiller in Weimar twenty-odd years later. By that time Goethe’s and Schiller’s literary paths were already converging in a new form of neoclassicism. But in 1770 Herder transformed the imagination of the twenty-one-year-old Goethe, released it from the frivolities of the rococo or the artificial constraints of an earlier, outmoded neoclassicism of French origin, and revealed to Goethe new and powerful sources of inspiration: the national heritage of German culture, embodied in...

  11. The Theater Practice of the Sturm und Drang
    (pp. 141-157)
    Michael Patterson

    The plays of the Sturm und Drang hardly impress us with their plots, which are often melodramatic; nor with their characterization, which frequently lacks depth; nor, again, with the quality of their language, which is seldom memorable. What distinguishes the drama of this period is its theatrical energy. A nation whose theater had lain semidormant under the constraints of French neoclassicism now awakened with a start, creating works that can be fully appreciated only in performance.

    Ironically, however, the exciting theatricality and controversial content of the Sturm und Drang dramas made it difficult if not impossible for many of them...

  12. “Die schönsten Träume von Freiheit werden ja im Kerker geträumt”: The Rhetoric of Freedom in the Sturm und Drang
    (pp. 159-185)
    David Hill

    In his address Zum Schäkespears Tag (1771) Goethe uses the language of liberation to describe the moment when he recognized the genius of Shakespeare:

    Ich zweifelte keinen Augenblick dem regelmäßigen Theater zu entsagen. Es schien mir die Einheit des Orts so kerkermäßig ängstlich, die Einheiten der Handlung und der Zeit lästige Fesseln unsrer Einbildungskraft. Ich sprang in die freie Luft, und fühlte erst daß ich Hände und Füße hatte. Und jetzo da ich sahe wieviel Unrecht mir die Herrn der Regeln in ihrem Loch angetan haben, wie viel freie Seelen noch drinne sich krümmen, so wäre mir mein Herz geborsten...

  13. Young Goethe’s Political Fantasies
    (pp. 187-216)
    W. Daniel Wilson

    To this day, the image of the young Goethe as a political firebrand persists. The usual story is that he was a driving force in the rebellious Sturm und Drang’s rejection of the status quo, whether socially or politically defined. In reference works and literary histories we can read that he was part of the movement’s supposedly “zunehmend offene Opposition gegen die feudalistisch-absolutistischen Fesseln der Zeit” (increasingly open opposition to the feudal-absolutist shackles of those days),¹ its struggle “um Befreiung von feudalen und absolutistischen Fesseln und um Herausbildung neuer, freierer Lebensverhältnisse,” its “Impulse für eine grundsätzliche Opposition und . ....

  14. “Wilde Wünsche”: The Discourse of Love in the Sturm und Drang
    (pp. 217-240)
    Karin A. Wurst

    Love is a central theme in the literature of the Sturm und Drang. Modern criticism has recognized the importance of the role played by love in the formation of the modern middle-class identity that evolved during the period of transition between feudal society and the beginnings of modern society, and the high point of this transitional period was, it is now agreed, the eighteenth century.¹ This transition is characterized by the emergent cultural dominance of the middle class with its emphasis on individual achievements, on rational conduct, on the desire for self-determination, and on a specific ideal of the family.²...

  15. Discursive Dissociations: Women Playwrights as Observers of the Sturm und Drang
    (pp. 241-274)
    Susanne Kord

    In the most recent extensive study of the Sturm und Drang, Bruce Duncan sums up the critical discussion of its women authors as follows: “According to the traditional critical consensus, no women can be numbered among the movement’s members. Almost everyone agrees that the Sturm und Drang was both in fact and by its nature a wholly male enterprise. To talk about Sturm und Drang women has almost always meant to discuss only the female characters in the dramas.”¹ While this is not entirely true — there are, in fact, several feminist works suggesting many female candidates for inclusion² — Duncan’s remark...

  16. Schiller and the End of the Sturm und Drang
    (pp. 275-288)
    Alan Leidner

    By the end of the 1770s the Sturm und Drang had nearly run its course. Goethe had moved to Weimar in 1775 and had put his wild youth behind him, while in 1780 Lenz and Klinger left Germany for Russia, the former drifting in and out of madness and searching for employment, the latter to begin what would be an illustrious military career. But in January 1782 a drama appeared on the Mannheim stage that brought the spirit back to life. Its author was Friedrich Schiller, and his play, Die Räuber (published 1781), added a new dimension to the Sturm...

  17. The Sturm und Drang in Music
    (pp. 289-308)
    Margaret Stoljar

    The use of the term Sturm und Drang in the historiography of music raises several questions. The most fundamental of these must be whether it is legitimate to adopt for music the established designation of a movement customarily regarded as purely literary. If such usage is prima facie acknowledged as acceptable, a theoretical basis for it remains to be worked out. Two axes might serve to focus the discussion in a preliminary way: the synchronic and the diachronic.

    A synchronic approach examines musical phenomena during the period of the literary Sturm und Drang. Since the term is normally specific to...

  18. The Sturm und Drang and the Periodization of the Eighteenth Century
    (pp. 309-332)
    Gerhard Sauder

    There is, nowadays, agreement in the historical disciplines that epochs and periods are not phenomena that can claim existence in their own right: they are constructs and hypotheses developed by historians and, therefore, require continual critical reevaluation. The period within which the Sturm und Drang is situated is the Age of Enlightenment. Because of the short time within which it flourished, the Sturm und Drang can only be counted as a trend within the Enlightenment. Since the eighteenth century the concepts of period and epoch have been used synonymously to refer to a single span of time or a unique...

  19. Works Cited
    (pp. 333-354)
  20. Notes on the Contributors
    (pp. 355-358)
  21. Index
    (pp. 359-377)
  22. Back Matter
    (pp. 378-378)