Presentation on theme: "The Bildungsroman Tradition. Key Terminology Entwicklungsroman/Entwicklungsromane: a novel in which an adolescent character experiences transformation."— Presentation transcript:
The Bildungsroman Tradition
Key Terminology Entwicklungsroman/Entwicklungsromane: a novel in which an adolescent character experiences transformation Bildungsroman/Bildungsromane: a novel in which an adolescent matures into adulthood Kuntslerroman/Kuntslerromane: a novel in which an artist matures from an apprentice to an expert Coming-of-Age Novel: a contemporary term that is often used to refer to both the Entwicklungsroman and the Bildungsroman
What is the Bildungsroman? The word Bildungsroman is German in origin. It combines the word bildung which means to build with roman which means novel. Thus, the Bildungsroman is a novel of building or growth and development. Scholars always capitalize the term Bildungsroman to recognize the German custom of capitalizing proper nouns. Some scholars will also italicize the term.
History of the Bildungsroman The Bildungsroman developed in Europe during the 18 th century, a time when socio-economic changes impacted literary production. The downfall of the monarchy and the rise of the industrial middle class had implications for creative writers, as did the growth of Protestantism. Rather than writing for an elite audience, authors began to write for and about people like themselves – members of the middle class or bourgeoisie. The form they developed was the novel, which enabled them to describe everyday events in everyday language and to focus on the inner lives of characters.
The Influence of Protestantism One of the most important influences on these early novelists was the rise of Protestantism. While the Catholic faith required members to worship God through the intercession of religious clerics, the Protestant faith advocated the idea that individuals should form their own relationships with God. Because Protestants believed that one must engage in self-reflection in order to assure ones salvation, most Protestants became interested in human behavior, as they tried to determine what sort of upbringing might guarantee that a child would develop into an adult who was assured of salvation.
Protestant Reform Encouraged Self- Scrutiny
The Influence of Democracy At the same time that Protestants were investigating human nature in relationship to salvation, political reformers were advocating the creation of governmental structures that we would now term democratic. During the 18 th century, political revolutions cropped up in Europe and in the New World. In the American colonies, the framers of the Constitution and their allies argued that education and childhood development were crucial to the maintenance of democratic forms of government. Many theorists believed that an educated citizenry was the only guarantee that a democracy could survive.
Humanists Encouraged the Study of Child Development
The Result = The Bildungsroman By the latter half of the 18 th century, religious and political changes impacted the creative arts, and many novelists began to write texts that focused on the best ways for a young man to move from adolescence to adulthood. This form of novel was called the Bildungsroman. The Bildungsroman featured a talented young man who: Left home to get an education – both intellectual and sexual Rebelled against his culture Fell in love and rededicated himself to learning Returned home, married, and settled in a career.
The Rise of the Modern Novel Although there has been considerable recent debate over when or even whether the novel "rose" in the 18th century (as the title of Ian Watt's 1957 book suggests it did), critics generally agree that it was during this period that a significant critical discourse regarding the novel emerged---that 18th-century novelists and critics alike distinguished this "new species of writing" (as Samuel Richardson called it in a letter of 1741) from the prose fiction and nonfiction that preceded it (Bartolomeo).
The Focus of the Bildungsroman The focus of the Bildungsroman is upon change, whether it be physical, psychological, or moral. Bakhtin calls it the image of a man in the process of becoming. The emphasis on growth was driven, in part, by elaborate 18 th -century debates regarding childhood development.
18 th -century views of childhood development Industrial democracy and the need for an educated populace = a greater focus on childhood Romantic attitudes, which prevailed in the latter half of the 18 th century, encouraged a view of the child as an innocent who stood in constant danger of being corrupted by unhealthy influences.
Childhood and the Novel Novels became one site for debate regarding the nature of childhood and the best manner of educating the child towards an idealized citizenship in the larger community Of course, what constituted idealized citizenship would change over time – a fact that will inform our discussion of texts this term.
Fieldings Tom Jones (1749)
Goethes The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774)
The Female Bildungsroman While the Bildungsroman remained a primarily male-focused genre, women began to write variations that included the progress of a young girl from adolescence to adulthood and marriage. In the second half of the 19 th century, authors began to experiment with the idea that a woman could take on a vocation – but this concept wouldnt gain social acceptance until the 20 th century.
Austens Emma (1816); Anne of Green Gables (1908)
The Conservative Nature of the Bildungsroman The tensions between self and community The desire to reign in anarchistic impulses The economic importance of the well- regulated self Male vs Female Diminishment