bildungsroman


bil·dungs·ro·man

noun \ˈbil-dŋ(k)s-rō-ˌmän, -dŋz-\

Definition of BILDUNGSROMAN

:  a novel about the moral and psychological growth of the main character

Origin of BILDUNGSROMAN

German, from Bildung education + Roman novel
First Known Use: 1910

Other Literature Terms

apophasis, bathos, bowdlerize, caesura, coda, doggerel, euphemism, poesy, prosody

bildungsroman

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Class of novel derived from German literature that deals with the formative years of the main character, whose moral and psychological development is depicted. It typically ends on a positive note, with the hero's foolish mistakes and painful disappointments behind him and a life of usefulness ahead. It grew out of folklore tales in which a dunce goes out into the world seeking adventure. One of the earliest novelistic developments of the theme, Johann W. von Goethe's Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship (1795–96), remains a classic example.

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