Friday, 29 January 2010

Bildungsroman - Become Enlightened

A Room with a View and Howards End (Signet Classics)Of Human Bondage (Signet Classics) A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism)The Magic Mountain
In light of JD Salinger's death, I thought I would touch on the story he wrote - The Catcher In The Rye. It's a Bildungsroman. I had to look that here's what I found out.

A bildungsroman is a coming-of-age kind of novel. It arose during the German Enlightenment. In it, the author presents the psychological, moral and social shaping of the personality of a character, usually the protagonist. The term Bildungsroman was coined by Johann Carl Simon Morgenstern.

The bildungsroman generally takes the following course:
  • The protagonist grows from child to adult.
  • The protagonist has a reason to embark upon his or her journey. A loss or some discontent must, at an early stage, jar him or her away from the home or family setting.
  • The process of maturation is long, arduous and gradual, involving repeated clashes between the hero's (protagonist's) needs and desires and the views and judgments enforced by an unbending social order. This conflict bears some similarity to Sigmund Freud's concept of the pleasure principle versus the reality principle.
Within the broader genre, an entwicklungsroman is a story of general growth rather than self-culture; an erziehungsroman focuses on training and formal education; and a künstlerroman is about the development of an artist and shows a growth of the self.

Many genres other than the bildungsroman can include elements of it as prominent parts of their story lines. For example, a military story might show a raw recruit receiving a baptism by fire and becoming a battle-hardened soldier, while a high-fantasy quest story may show a transformation from an adolescent protagonist into an adult who is aware of his or her lineage or powers. Neither of those genres or stories, however, corresponds exactly to the bildungsroman.

This is an incomplete chronological list of Bildungsroman works that are widely acknowledged to be representative of the genre.
 Source: Wikipedia


Anonymous said...

A fascinating post. I'd never heard of bildungsroman before.

'Catcher in the Rye' is on my 100 list. I might push it to the front soon.


from the desk of a writer

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Great post! I hadn't thought of the thread that tied all those novels together. I do like those coming of age stories.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Suzette Saxton said...

I learned something new today! Thank you! And I see you've reached 100 followers. Congrats!

Anonymous said...

I'd never heard of 'bildungsroman' before, but it's nice to know what it means. The examples made it much clearer. Just please don't make me pronounce it. :)

~ TIna ~

Ann Elle Altman said...

Corra, I'd never heard of it either... I like learning new and complicated words.

Elizabeth, I know, who knew they even took the time to name it.

Suzette, nice name, btw. Yeah, 100 followers. I wanted to give something away but I have nothing and no money... Thanks for the comment.

Tina, yeah I know, difficult to pronounce. Sounds like Bill's poo is of roman decent.


TirzahLaughs said...

I posted to this before but it never showed. I wonder if the comment gods ate it?

I always liked Catcher in the Rye. I liked it because to me, Holden is all the things he hates. So when he talks about phonies and liars and he's lying left and right---he's hating who he is.

So many people hate themselves.

PLus, he's a guy in pain and no one except Phoebe ever acknowledges his pain. He should be 'done' with grief but he isn't.

He's drowning and everyone is filling his pockets with sand.

I identified with him when I was fifteen. He's not completely likable but he is very relatable.

Ann Elle Altman said...

I think that's why the parents hated it... all the children could relate and all the parents were afraid their children felt that way and would act the same.


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