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

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Example Sentences

“She had an entire shelf in her home library devoted to the Bildungsroman.”

“The Bildungsroman told the story of the doctor’s journey from a one-room schoolhouse to graduating from medical school.”

“My favorite genre to read is fantasy, but it’s even better if it’s a Bildungsroman.”

Word Origin

German, early 20th century

Why this word?

“Emma” by Jane Austen, “David Copperfield” by Charles Dickens, “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Huston, and “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee — all are excellent examples of a classic Bildungsroman. And so are “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky, “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini, and “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins.  Any story that concerns the moral, educational, and philosophical development of a young person falls into this genre of literature. The word comes from German, in which “Bildung” means “education” and “Roman” means “a novel.”

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