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Thursday, September 2, 2021

Bildungsroman and Künstlerroman – Literary Terms

Literary Terms Bildungsroman and Künstlerroman, notes on Bildungsroman and Künstlerroman

Bildungsroman and Künstlerroman – Literary Terms

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A German word that, translated literally, means "development NOVEL.” Coined by German critics to describe Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's novel Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre ("Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship"), the term bildungsroman is applied to a novel that traces the early education of its HERO from youth to experience. Examples are Charles Dickens' David Copperfield, Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, Hermann Hesse's Demian, Saul Bellow's The Adventures of Augie March, and Doris Lessing's five-volume Children of Violence.

A novel telling the story of an artist's development, such as Thomas Mann's Tonio Kröger or James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, is a type of bildungsroman known as a Künstlerroman ("artist-novel").


“Artist-novel,” a type of BILDUNGSROMAN, or developmental NOVEL, that tells the story of an artist's development. An example is Margaret Atwood's novel Cat's Eye. See BILDUNGSROMAN.

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