In genre studies, a coming-of-age story is a genre of literature and film that focuses on the growth of a protagonist from youth to adulthood ("coming of age"). Coming-of-age stories tend to emphasize dialogue or internal monologue over action, and are often set in the past. The subjects of coming-of-age stories are typically teenagers. The Bildungsroman is a specific subgenre of coming-of-age story.
- The Telemachy in Homer's Odyssey (8th century BC)
- Hayy ibn Yaqdhan, by Ibn Tufail (12th century)
- The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, by Henry Fielding (1749)
- The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, by Laurence Sterne (1759)
- Candide, by Voltaire (1759)
- Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen (1817)
- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (1916)
- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (novel), by Betty Smith (1943)
- The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger (1951)
- The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath (1964)
- A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck (1972)
- Into the Widening World, a collection of 26 short fictional coming-of-age stories by 26 notable authors (published 1995)
- Five Point Someone, by Chetan Bhagat (2004)
- The Name of the Wind and the rest of The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss (2007-present)
- Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (2015).
In film and TV
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In film, coming of age is a genre of teen films. Coming-of-age films focus on the psychological and moral growth or transition of a protagonist from youth to adulthood. Personal growth and change is an important characteristic of this genre, which relies on dialogue and emotional responses, rather than action. The main character is typically male, around mid-teen and the story is often told in the form of a flashback.
Films in this subgenre include Bambi (1942), The Apu Trilogy (1955–1959), American Graffiti (1973), Breaking Away (1979), The Last American Virgin (1982), Mischief (1985), The Breakfast Club (1985), Fandango (1985), Stand by Me (1986), Empire of the Sun (1987), Mermaids (1990), Dazed and Confused (1993), Almost Famous (2000), Spirited Away (2001), Y Tu Mamá También (2001), The Motorcycle Diaries (2003), Lakshya (2004), The Reader (2008), the Harry Potter series (2001–2011), The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012), The Kings of Summer (2013), The Spectacular Now (2013), Boyhood (2014), which was filmed with the same cast over a period of twelve years, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015), The Edge of Seventeen (2016), Moonlight (2016), Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), It (2017), Lady Bird (2017), Call Me by Your Name (2017), Love, Simon (2018), and Eighth Grade (2018).
Films featuring protagonists in particular age groups, such as pre-teens, are The Sandlot (1993) and My Girl (1991), or high school graduates and college students, in films such as With Honors (1994), American Pie (1999), Can't Hardly Wait (1998), Spider-Man 2 (2004), Superbad (2007), An Education and 3 Idiots (2009).
Coming of age television series include Happy Days (1974-1984), the Degrassi franchise (1979-present),The Wonder Years (1988-1993), Boy Meets World (1993-2000), Daria (1997-2001), Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000), Glee (2009-2015), Teen Wolf (2011-2017), Steven Universe (2013-present), Over the Garden Wall (2014), Girl Meets World (2014-2017), Skam (2015-2017), Stranger Things (2016-present), 13 Reasons Why (2017-present), One Day at a Time (2017-present), On My Block (2018-present), and SKAM Austin (2018-present).
- Benyahia, Sarah Casey; Gaffney, Freddie; White, John (2006). As Film Studies: The Essential Introduction. Essentials Series. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0-415-39311-6. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
- Joy Palmer, Liora Bresler, David Edward Cooper (2001). Fifty major thinkers on education: from Confucius to Dewey. Routledge. p. 34. ISBN 0-415-23126-4.
- McWilliams, Ellen (2009). Margaret Atwood and the Female Bildungsroman. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-7546-6027-9.
The two early English Bildungsromane already mentioned, Tom Jones and The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, are examples of coming-of-age narratives that predate the generic expectations of the German tradition.
- Knausgård, Karl. "On Reading Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- Fox, Levi (2002). "The Historical Coming of Age Genre". Were Those the Days? Historical Coming of Age Films in American Culture. American Studies, University of Virginia. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
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