2021-2022 Undergraduate Academic Catalog

CLITR 3670 Bildungsroman: Novel of Self-Development

The Bildungsroman, often defined as “the novel of self-development,” involves the growth of a young person from adolescence to maturity. The Bildungsroman takes its name from the German bildung (education or development), combined with roman (novel). The term originated in Germany in the latter half of the 18th century with Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship. While the genre has taken on attributes characteristic of specific eras and cultures, critics argue that it shares a defining pattern:  a protagonist struggles for intellectual and psychological growth in a society experienced as hostile or indifferent to his or her sensibility and understanding. For this course, we will read examples of the Bildungsroman from various periods and cultures. Novels will be examined not only in relation to the genre, but with respect to the larger societal and cultural dimensions presented in each work. We will also read examples of the Kunstlerroman, a sub-genre of the Bildungsroman that focuses on the development of an individual in the process of becoming an artist.




CLITR 1100