Sturm und Drang

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the artistic movement known as Sturm und Drang.In the 1770s a small group of German writers started to produce plays, poetry and novels which were radically different from what had gone before. These writers were all young men, and they rejected the values of the Enlightenment, which they felt had robbed art of its spontaneity and feeling. Their work was passionate, ignored existing conventions and privileged the individual’s free will above the constraints of society.The most prominent member of the movement was Johann von Goethe, whose novel The Sorrows of Young Werther became its most notable success, translated into more then thirty languages. Despite this and other successes including Schiller’s play The Robbers, the Sturm und Drang disappeared almost as quickly as it had emerged; by the mid-1780s it was already a thing of the past.

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  • Tim Blanning 9 episodes
    Emeritus Professor of Modern European History at Cambridge University
  • Susanne Kord No other episodes
    Professor of German at University College, London
  • Maike Oergel No other episodes
    Associate Professor of German at the University of Nottingham

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Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. Reflecting on the literature of his time, the late 18th century satirist Georg Christoph Lichtenberg wrote, If another and later species comes to reconstruct the human being from the evidence of our sentimental writings, they'll conclude man to have been a heart with testicles, that is, passionate and male.