"Only when all the Sturm und Drang had been left far behind"

Friedrich Maximilian Klinger, circa 1807
Public DomainFriedrich Maximilian Klinger, circa 1807
“Sturm und Drang,” the German phrase that literally means “storm and urge” but is more loosely translated as “storm and stress,” was used to refer to the extremes of emotion given relatively free rein in German literature and music during the early Romantic period of the 1760s to 1780s.

The name comes from the title of a 1776 play by the German poet and playwright, Friedrich Maximilian Klinger (1752-1831), about the unfolding American Revolution. Notable proponents of the form were Goethe, Schiller, and Haydn.

The narrator of Catch-22 uses the phrase more loosely to refer to the rough and dangerous skies created by anti-aircraft fire.