The poetry published under his name, supposedly of ancient Scottish origin, was written by James Macpherson only a decade and a half before Goethe set to work on The Sorrows of Young Werther. Its authenticity was long and hotly disputed. Today, Macpherson’s work is known, in the words of one scholar, as “the most successful literary falsehood in modern history.”
Act II of the Met’s production of Werther takes place in a grove of linden trees. In German literary and folk traditions, linden trees were associated with love, marriage, and fertility.
The name Sturm und Drang comes from the title of a 1776 play by Friedrich Maximilian Klinger about the American Revolution.