• Carmen Milligan

Wednesday Word: bildungsroman


NOUN Bildungsroman (noun) · Bildungsromane (plural noun)

  1. 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"

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

The best example I can think of in literature of this word is Harry Potter in the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. Even though Harry's growth occurs over the course of seven novels, it is a definite progression of physical, mental, and spiritual growth.

The website Out of Print had a bildungsroman t-shirt at one time, but after checking the site again, it seems that they no longer offer it. I guess that's a bit of irony, huh? They grew out of their need to stock it.

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