The Info List - Bildungsroman

In literary criticism, a Bildungsroman (German pronunciation: [ˈbɪldʊŋs.ʁoˌmaːn]; Bildung, meaning "education," and Roman, meaning "novel"; English: novel of formation, education, culture; coming-of-age story)[a][2] is a literary genre that focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood (coming of age),[3] in which character change is extremely important.[4][5]


1 Origin 2 Plot outline 3 Examples

3.1 Precursors 3.2 17th century 3.3 18th century 3.4 19th century 3.5 20th century 3.6 21st century

4 See also 5 Notes 6 References 7 Bibliography 8 Further reading 9 External links

Origin[edit] The term was coined in 1819 by philologist Karl Morgenstern
Karl Morgenstern
in his university lectures, and later famously reprised by Wilhelm Dilthey, who legitimized it in 1870 and popularized it in 1905.[1][6] The genre is further characterized by a number of formal, topical, and thematic features.[7] The term coming-of-age novel is sometimes used interchangeably with Bildungsroman, but its use is usually wider and less technical. The birth of the Bildungsroman is normally dated to the publication of Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship
Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship
by Johann Wolfgang Goethe
Johann Wolfgang Goethe
in 1795–96,[8] or, sometimes, to Christoph Martin Wieland's Geschichte des Agathon of 1767.[9] Although the Bildungsroman arose in Germany, it has had extensive influence first in Europe and later throughout the world. Thomas Carlyle
Thomas Carlyle
translated Goethe’s novel into English, and after its publication in 1824, many British authors wrote novels inspired by it.[10][11] In the 20th century, it spread to Germany, Britain,[12] France,[13][14] and several other countries around the globe.[15] The genre translates fairly directly into cinematic form, the coming-of-age film. Plot outline[edit] A Bildungsroman relates the growing up or "coming of age" of a sensitive person who goes in search of answers to life's questions with the expectation that these will result in gaining experience of the world. The genre evolved from folklore tales of a dunce or youngest child going out in the world to seek their fortune.[citation needed] Usually in the beginning of the story there is an emotional loss which makes the protagonist leave on his/her journey. In a Bildungsroman, the goal is maturity, and the protagonist achieves it gradually and with difficulty. The genre often features a main conflict between the main character and society. Typically, the values of society are gradually accepted by the protagonist and he/she is ultimately accepted into society—the protagonist's mistakes and disappointments are over. In some works, the protagonist is able to reach out and help others after having achieved maturity. There are many variations and subgenres of Bildungsroman that focus on the growth of an individual. An Entwicklungsroman ("development novel") is a story of general growth rather than self-cultivation. An Erziehungsroman ("education novel") focuses on training and formal schooling,[citation needed] while a Künstlerroman ("artist novel") is about the development of an artist and shows a growth of the self.[16] Furthermore, some memoirs and published journals can be regarded as Bildungsroman although being predominantly factual (e.g. "The Dharma Bums" by Jack Kerouac
Jack Kerouac
orThe Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto "Che" Guevara).[17] The term is also more loosely used to describe coming-of-age films and related works in other genres. Examples[edit]


Hayy ibn Yaqdhan, by Ibn Tufail (12th century)[18] Parzival, by Wolfram von Eschenbach
Wolfram von Eschenbach
(early 13th century) Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
(late 14th century) Lazarillo de Tormes
Lazarillo de Tormes

17th century[edit]

Simplicius Simplicissimus, by Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen (1668) The Adventures of Telemachus, by François Fénelon
François Fénelon

18th century[edit]

The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, by Henry Fielding
Henry Fielding
(1749)[20] Candide, by Voltaire
(1759) The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, by Laurence Sterne (1759)[20] Emile, or On Education, by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
(1763) Geschichte des Agathon, by Christoph Martin Wieland
Christoph Martin Wieland
(1767)—often considered the first "true" Bildungsroman[9] Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship
Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship
by Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1795–96)[21]

19th century[edit]

Emma, by Jane Austen
Jane Austen
(1815) The Red and The Black, by Stendhal
(1830) The Captain's Daughter, by Alexander Pushkin
Alexander Pushkin
(1836) Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë
Charlotte Brontë
(1847)[22] Pendennis, by William Makepeace Thackeray
William Makepeace Thackeray
(1848–1850) Netochka Nezvanova, by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Fyodor Dostoevsky
(1849)[23] David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
(1850) Green Henry, by Gottfried Keller
Gottfried Keller
(1855)[24] Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
(1861) Sentimental Education, by Gustave Flaubert
Gustave Flaubert
(1869) The Adventures of Pinocchio, by Carlo Collodi
Carlo Collodi
(1883) The Story of an African Farm, by Olive Schreiner
Olive Schreiner
(1883) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
Mark Twain
(1884) Pharaoh, by Bolesław Prus
Bolesław Prus
(1895) What Maisie Knew, by Henry James
Henry James

20th century[edit]

The Confusions of Young Törless, by Robert Musil
Robert Musil
(1906) Martin Eden, by Jack London
Jack London
(1909)[26] The Book of Khalid, by Ameen Rihani
Ameen Rihani
(1911)[27] Le Grand Meaulnes, by Alain-Fournier
(1913) Sons and Lovers, by D. H. Lawrence
D. H. Lawrence
(1913)[28] Of Human Bondage, by W. Somerset Maugham
W. Somerset Maugham
(1915) A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, by James Joyce
James Joyce
(1916)[16] Demian: The Story of Emil Sinclair's Youth by Hermann Hesse
Hermann Hesse
(1919, prologue added in 1960) Winesburg, Ohio
Winesburg, Ohio
by Sherwood Anderson
Sherwood Anderson
(1919) This Side of Paradise
This Side of Paradise
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
F. Scott Fitzgerald
(1920)[29] The Magic Mountain
The Magic Mountain
by Thomas Mann
Thomas Mann
(1924). Pather Panchali, by Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay
Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay
(1929)[30] Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
Margaret Mitchell
(1936) Their Eyes Were Watching God
Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston
Zora Neale Hurston
(1936) Native Son
Native Son
by Richard Wright (1940) A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (1943) The Green Years
The Green Years
by A. J. Cronin
A. J. Cronin
(1944) The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger
J. D. Salinger
(1951)[31] The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
(for plot character Eustace Scrubb) by C. S. Lewis
C. S. Lewis
(1952) Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Ralph Ellison
(1952) Children of Violence by Doris Lessing
Doris Lessing
(1952–1969)[32] In the Castle of My Skin, by George Lamming
George Lamming
(1953)[33] Goodbye, Columbus, by Philip Roth
Philip Roth
(1959)[34] A Separate Peace, by John Knowles
John Knowles
(1959) The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, by Mordecai Richler
Mordecai Richler
(1959) To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Harper Lee
(1960)[31] Wake in Fright, by Kenneth Cook (1961)[35] Dune, by Frank Herbert
Frank Herbert
(1965)[36] The Outsiders, by S. E. Hinton (1967)[37] A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. Le Guin
Ursula K. Le Guin
(1968)[38] I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou
(1969) Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya (1972) The World According to Garp, by John Irving
John Irving
(1978) The Discovery of Slowness, by Sten Nadolny
Sten Nadolny
(1983) The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros
Sandra Cisneros
(1984) Bright Lights, Big City, by Jay McInerney
Jay McInerney
(1984)[39] Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card
Orson Scott Card
(1985)[37] The Cider House Rules, by John Irving
John Irving
(1985) Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, by Jeanette Winterson
Jeanette Winterson
(1985)[40] Norwegian Wood, by Haruki Murakami
Haruki Murakami
(1987)[41] A Prayer For Owen Meany, by John Irving
John Irving
(1989) Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry
Lois Lowry
(1989) Sophie's World, by Jostein Gaarder
Jostein Gaarder
(1991) English Music, by Peter Ackroyd
Peter Ackroyd
(1992)[42] The Gods Laugh on Mondays, by Reza Khoshnazar (1995) Harry Potter, by J. K. Rowling
J. K. Rowling
(1997) About a Boy, by Nick Hornby
Nick Hornby
(1998) The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Stephen Chbosky
(1999)[43] Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi
Marjane Satrapi

21st century[edit]

The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd
Sue Monk Kidd
(2002)[45] The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
Khaled Hosseini
(2003)[46] The Fortress of Solitude, by Jonathan Lethem
Jonathan Lethem
(2003)[47] Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro
Kazuo Ishiguro
(2005)[31] Looking for Alaska, by John Green (2005) Indecision, by Benjamin Kunkel (2005)[48] Black Swan Green, by David Mitchell (2006)[49] The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie (2007) Indignation, by Philip Roth
Philip Roth
(2008).[b] Submarine, by Joe Dunthorne (2008) Breath, by Tim Winton (2008) Paper Towns, by John Green (2008) The Solitude of Prime Numbers, by Paolo Giordano
Paolo Giordano
(2008) Why We Took the Car, by Wolfgang Herrndorf
Wolfgang Herrndorf
(2010) My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante (2012) The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt (2013) The Idiot, by Elif Batuman (2017)

See also[edit]

Bildung Künstlerroman Mirrors for princes Roman a clef


^ Engel explains that the term has in recent years been applied to very different novels but originally meant a novel of formation of a character, of an individual personality in interaction (including conflict) with society. He also points out that it was, like the "novel of education" (Erziehungsroman), a subgenre of the "novel of development" (Entwicklungsroman).[1] ^ Back of the French translation in the "Folio" collection (éditions Gallimard, 2010): "[...] Avec ce roman d'apprentissage, Philip Roth poursuit son analyse de l'histoire de l'Amérique – celle des années cinquante, des tabous et des frustrations sexuelles – et de son impact sur la vie d'un homme jeune, isolé, vulnérable."


^ a b Engel 2008, pp. 263–266. ^ "Bildungsroman: German literary genre". Encyclopædia Britannica. 22 April 2013.  ^ Lynch 1999. ^ Bakhtin 1996, p. 21. ^ Jeffers 2005, p. 2. ^ Summerfield 2010, p. 1. ^ Iversen, Annikin Teines (2010). "Change and Continuity; The Bildungsroman in English". University of Tromsø: Munin open research archive.  ^ Jeffers 2005, p. 49. ^ a b Swales, Martin. The German Bildungsroman from Wieland to Hesse. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978. 38. ^ Buckley, J. H. (1974) Season of Youth: the Bildungsroman from Dickens to Golding, Harvard Univ Pr. ISBN 978-0-67479-640-9 ^ Ellis, L. (1999) Appearing to Diminish: Female Development and the British Bildungsroman, 1750–1850, Bucknell University Press, London ISBN 978-0-83875-411-5 ^ Stein, M., "The Black British Bildungsroman and the Transformation of Britain: Connectedness across Difference" in Barbara Korte, Klaus Peter Müller, editors (1998) Unity in Diversity Revisited?: British Literature and Culture in the 1990s, pp. 89–105, Gunter Narr Verlag, Tübingen ISBN 382-3-35192-3 ^ Franco Moretti, Albert Sbragia (1987) The Way of the World : the Bildungsroman in European Culture, Verso, London ISBN 978-0-86091-159-3 ^ Marianne Hirsch, "The Novel of Formation as Genre: Between Great Expectations and Lost Illusions", Genre Vol. 12 (Fall 1979) pp. 293–311, University of Oklahoma ^ Slaughter, J. R. (2006) "Novel Subjects and Enabling Fictions: the Formal Articulation of International Human Rights Law", Human Rights, Inc.: The World Novel, Narrative Form, and International Law, Ch. 2 (2007) Fordham University Press, New York ISBN 978-0-82322-817-1; doi:10.5422/fordham/9780823228171.001.0001 ^ a b Werlock, James P. (2010). The Facts on File
companion to the American short story. 2. p. 387.  ^ "The Motorcycle Diaries by Che Guevara–HSC English Discovery", Real Teacher Tutors. Retrieved 12 July 2016. ^ Joy Palmer; Liora Bresler; David Edward Cooper, eds. (2001). Fifty major thinkers on education: from Confucius to Dewey. Routledge
Key Guides. p. 34. ISBN 0-415-23126-4.  ^ "El lazarillo de Tormes" (PDF) (in Spanish). Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte (Spain). 2004. p. 1. Retrieved 24 November 2013.  ^ a b McWilliams, Ellen (2009). Margaret Atwood and the Female Bildungsroman. Ashgate Publishing. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-7546-6027-9. The two early English Bildungsromane already mentioned, Tom Jones and The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, are examples of coming-of-age narratives that predate the generic expectations of the German tradition.  ^ Robison, James (1 June 2016). "Wrong Move: Utter Detachment, Utter Truth". The Criterion Collection. Retrieved 9 June 2016.  ^ Cortney Lollar (1996). "Jane Eyre: A Bildungsroman". The Victorian Web.  ^ Frank, Joseph (2010). Dostoevsky His Life and Work. New Jersey: Princeton University Press. p. 114.  ^ "The Bildungsroman in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism". Enotes.com. Retrieved 21 April 2011.  ^ Martin Coyle; et al., eds. (1990). Formalism and the Novel: Henry James. Encyclopedia of Literature and Criticism. New York: Routledge Florence. p. 593.  ^ " Martin Eden
Martin Eden
Summary – Jack London – Masterplots II: American Fiction Series, Revised Edition". Enotes.com. Retrieved 21 April 2011.  ^ Geoffrey Nash (1994). "Ameen Rihani's The Book of Khalid
The Book of Khalid
and the Voice of Thomas Carlyle". New Comparison Journal. Colchester, UK: The British Comparative Literature Association, University of Essex (17).  ^ " Sons and Lovers
Sons and Lovers
Lawrence's novel as a Bildungsroman". Enotes.com. Retrieved 21 April 2011.  ^ Hendriksen, Jack. This side of paradise as a Bildungsroman. ISBN 0-8204-1852-8.  ^ Mukherjee, Meenakshi (1985). Realism and Reality: The Novel and Society in India. Oxford University Press. p. 128. ISBN 0-19-561648-0.  ^ a b c "The Top 13 Coming-of-Age Novels". The Top 13. 9 December 2009. Retrieved 21 April 2011.  ^ "The Nobel Prize in Literature 2007 - Bio-bibliography". www.nobelprize.org. Retrieved 19 March 2018.  ^ "George Lamming, West Indian author", Encyclopædia Britannica ^ Kercheval, Jesse Lee. "Continuing Conflict". Building Fiction. The Story Press. p. 101. ISBN 1-884910-28-9.  ^ Peters-Little, Frances; Curthoys, Ann; Docker, John. "Epistemological vertigo and allegory". Passionate Histories: Myth, Memory and Indigenous Australia. ANU E Press. p. 62. ISBN 9781921666650.  ^ McGregor, Gaile (1987). "The Technomyth in Transition: Reading American Popular Culture". Journal of American Studies: 387–409. doi:10.1017/S0021875800022891.  ^ a b Melanie Kinchen; et al. (13 July 2006). " Bildungsroman Novels for Young Adults".  ^ "Ursula LeGuin's Magical World of Earthsea". Assembly on Literature for Adolescents, National Council of Teachers of English. Retrieved 10 June 2013.  ^ Jay McInerney. "The Good Life". transcript of podcast.  ^ "Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit: Context". Sparknotes. 27 August 1959. Archived from the original on 3 May 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2011.  ^ Rosenberg, Alyssa (30 July 2010). "Norwegian Wood: On Having a Girl, and Losing Her". The Atlantic Monthly.  ^ Lewis, Barry (2007). My Words Echo Thus: Possessing the Past in Peter Ackroyd. University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 1570036683.  ^ Marty Beckerman. "An Interview with Stephen Chbosky". Word Riot. Word Riot. Retrieved 27 May 2012.  ^ Tara Ann Carter (6 October 2013). "Reading Persepolis: Defining and Redefining Culture, Gender and Genre" (PDF). John Bartram High School.  ^ "Secret Life of Bees-Character Analysis". Archived from the original on 3 May 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2011.  ^ Khaled Hosseini
Khaled Hosseini
(4 March 1965). "Katherine C. (Berwyn, PA)'s review of The Kite Runner". Goodreads.com. Retrieved 21 April 2011.  ^ Kurth, Peter (2003-09-12). "The dreamer of Brooklyn". Salon. Retrieved 2018-03-19.  ^ Mcinerney, Jay (28 August 2005). "Indecision: Getting It Together". The New York Times.  ^ "Wonder Year ( Black Swan Green
Black Swan Green
by David Mitchell)". The New York Times. 16 April 2006. 


Abel, Elizabeth, Marianne Hirsch, and Elizabeth Langland. 1983. The Voyage In: Fictions of Female Development. Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England. Bakhtin, Mikhail. Mikhail. 1996. "The Bildungsroman and its Significance in the History of Realism." In Speech Genres and Other Late Essays. Edited by Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist. Austin, Tex.: University of Texas Press, 10–59. Engel, Manfred (2008): Variants of the Romantic 'Bildungsroman' (with a Short Note on the 'Artist Novel')". In: Gerald Gillespie, Manfred Engel and Bernard Dieterle (eds.), Romantic Prose Fiction (= A Comparative History of Literatures in European Languages, vol. XXIII; ed. by the International Comparative Literature Association). Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins, pp. 263–295. ISBN 978-90-272-3456-8. Iversen, Anniken Telnes (2009): Change and Continuity: The Bildungsroman in English. University of Tromsø, Munin. Jeffers, Thomas L. (2005). Apprenticeships: The Bildungsroman from Goethe to Santayana. New York: Palgrave. ISBN 1-4039-6607-9.  Lynch, Jack (1999) Glossary of Literary and Rhetorical Terms, entry for bildungsroman, Rutgers University Summerfield, Giovanna; Downward, Lisa (2010). New Perspectives on the European Bildungsroman. London; New York: Continuum. ISBN 978-1441108531.  Abrams, M. H. (2005). Glossary of Literary Terms (8th ed.). Boston: Thomson Wadsworth. ISBN 1-4130-0218-8.  Feng, Pin-chia Kingston A. 1997. The Female Bildungsroman by Toni Morrison and Maxine Hong Kingston: A Postmodern Reading, Modern American Literature: New Approaches. New York: Peter Lang. Japtok, Martin Michael. 2005. Growing up Ethnic: Nationalism and the Bildungsroman in African-American and Jewish-American Fiction. University of Iowa Press. Karafilis, Maria. 1998. "Crossing the Borders of Genre: Revisions of the Bindungsroman in Sandra Cisneros's the House on Mango Street and Jamaica Kincaid's Annie John." Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association. 31, no. 2: 63–78. Minden, Michael (1997): The German Bildungsroman: Incest and Inheritance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Moretti, Franco. 1987. The Way of the World: The Bildungsroman in European Culture. London: Verso. Nyatetu-Waigwa, Wangari wa. 1996. The Liminal Novel: Studies in the Francophone-African Novel as Bildungsroman. New York: Peter Lang Publishing. Otano, Alicia. 2005. Speaking the Past: Child Perspective in the Asian American Bildungsroman, Contributions to Asian American Literary Studies. Lit Verlag.

Further reading[edit]

Madden, David (1980). "Bildungsroman". A Primer of the Novel: For Readers and Writers. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press. pp. 18–19. ISBN 978-0810812659.  Revised edition, with bibliographic updates by Charles Bane and Sean M. Flory (Scarecrow Press, 2006). ISBN 978-0810857087 Slaughter, Joseph R. (2011). "Bildungsroman/Künstlerroman". In Logan, Peter Melville. The Encyclopedia of the Novel. 1. Oxford; Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 93–97. ISBN 978-1-4051-6184-8. 

External links[edit]

Look up bildungsroman in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

The Bildungsroman Project - academic digital humanities project featuring user-submitted articles on genre examplars and contemporary personal narratives, edited by English literature professor Katherine Carlson Bildungsroman Explained

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