Meaning of Bildungsroman in English:


Pronunciation /ˈbɪldʊŋzrəʊˌmɑːn/

See synonyms for Bildungsroman on


  • A novel dealing with one person's formative years or spiritual education.

    ‘the book is a bildungsroman of sorts, as Tull overcomes his abused childhood and learns about love’
    • ‘Hughbury Shamp, a teenager with a yen for fame - note: all three novels are Bildungsromane - follows three masters whom he introduces at the beginning of his first-person account, an echo of Marcus Aurelius starting his meditations.’
    • ‘The tendency of novel theory to define the novel as a genre that is sui generis does lead to certain impasses and quandaries, whether in the theory of the novel as such or of a subgenre like the Bildungsroman.’
    • ‘E. L. Doctorow's Billy Bathgate is a Bildungsroman which shares many central characteristics with Updike's novel and Roth's.’
    • ‘Do genres have typical scripts, such as rescue for the adventure novel, or going to school for the Bildungsroman, or seduction for the romance?’
    • ‘Jane Eyre is a Bildungsroman, or a coming-of-age novel, which recounts the first nineteen years of the character of Jane Eyre, in the first-person voice.’
    • ‘The first half of the novel is certainly indebted to the Bildungsroman.’
    • ‘There is obviously little need to consider Célanire's wanderings as belonging to the repertoire of absurd non-quests, let alone the seasoned Bildungsroman.’
    • ‘Their Bildungsromane do not conclude with a state of epiphany, but, like their lives, are choppy, episodic, and nightmarish.’
    • ‘For instance, he discusses Goethe's Wilhelm Meister as a Bildungsroman in The Dialogic Imagination.’
    • ‘Is there a Jewish sub-category of the Bildungsroman, the personal saga of childish wonderment metamorphosing into an adult point of view if not complete comprehension?’
    • ‘A Bildungsroman of sorts, it charts the formative years of Dylan Ebdus, a Jewish boy growing up in Brooklyn in the 1970s.’
    • ‘Natasha is essentially a Bildungsroman for Mark written over several short stories; he doesn't necessarily grow wiser, just more assimilated.’
    • ‘There is no doubt this is a moral tale, a Bildungsroman for the senior citizen.’
    • ‘Another problem with the text is Stover's desire to locate the four primary works in the literary tradition of the Bildungsroman.’
    • ‘Part comedy of manners, part Bildungsroman, part earnest social critique, the novel recounts the downfall of Sir Matthew Dowling, the education of Miss Mary Brotherton and the miraculous survival of Michael Armstrong.’
    • ‘Yet its sum is not a Bildungsroman of the author, whose personality is rarely front-lit, but the re-creation of an astonishing universe, the Caribbean coastlands of Colombia in the first half of the last century.’
    • ‘The aim of a Bildungsroman is apprenticeship, where the protagonist, usually a juvenile, must ‘come of age’ by preparing to mature.’
    • ‘Boesenberg establishes the validity of the concept of the Bildungsroman, in which ‘art holds the promise of unique satisfaction for the protagonist.’’
    • ‘As a failed Bildungsroman in which Bob's inexorable trajectory thwarts his plans and sends him to a possible death, If He Hollers Lets Him Go can be considered a variation of the fugitive migrant novel.’
    • ‘In the Chicano Bildungsroman, however, a return to the ‘family’ serves as a vehicle of opposition to larger societal forces for the Chicano protagonist.’


German, from Bildung ‘education’ + Roman ‘a novel’.