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WikiProject Novels (Rated C-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject iconThis article is within the scope of WikiProject Novels, an attempt to build a comprehensive and detailed guide to novels, novellas, novelettes and short stories on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, you can edit one of the articles mentioned below, or visit the project page, where you can join the project and contribute to the general Project discussion to talk over new ideas and suggestions.
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Why is the word inconsistently capitalized? Should it be capitalized or not? I don't think it should be, but I'm not sure. Spectralancer (talk) 04:38, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

It should not be, per MOS:CAPS. ENeville (talk) 18:50, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
It is capitalized by the Oxford English Dictionary. See: [1]. (talk) 04:45, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

Translation to German possibly incorrect?[edit]

After looking at the german version (I'm a native german speaker), I think that the english article uses the wrong translation for "bildung". Instead of "education", the meaning in this case is most likely "formation"/"forming". It's a hard one to translate, but I think the ideas and connotations of the word "Bildungsroman" are better expressed by "novel of formation". A "Novel of education" would be the "Erziehungsroman", which deals with the ideal way to educate a person. The "Bildungsroman", however, doesn't deal with the education of the charachter, but instead with his "forming" and development. TheTrueRandomness (talk) 00:13, 19 December 2009 (UTC) This is correct; the English term "education" is far broader than what is meant by the German "Bildung" and "formation" is more accurate. The reflexive verb form "sich bilden," "to form oneself," is also useful here. I'm not a native German speaker, so TrueRandomness may have better suggestions here.--Kbrewer36 (talk) 02:51, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

It is superfluous and disingenuous to suggest "citations needed" for examples of the Bildungsroman from 19th Century English writers onward. I suggest that bit of superfluousness be deleted, from what is otherwise a useful introduction to the genre. English is my first language. (...encompassing a PhD emphasizing modern literary tools for analysis: N.B., "A Concordance To The Poems Of Ben Jonson.")

German, with others, is perhaps my second; and I can assure Kbrewer, that a valid and common standard meaning of "Education" in English is often a subset of the larger phenomena he refers to. A subset of "Education" is indeed "formation", and many generations of literary critics have not been off-base by using Bildungsroman to represent in the individual depicted, a portion of education, and/or formation of personality and perspective.Sidney Orr (talk) 17:11, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Could "Construction Story" be an alternative translation? I also wonder if "novel" is adequately qualified here. A novel is a book containing a (single, book length (...)) story. I wonder if that is captured in "story" if what is meant is both the physical book and the story it contains? (talk) 16:06, 18 August 2015 (UTC)

Harry Potter[edit]

Really? REALLY??? I think every example in that list that isn't cited should be removed. (talk) 19:35, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

I don't see what the problem is, Harry Potter fits perfectly in with most all the listed characteristics listed. Sherick (talk) 05:04, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

I agree with those questioning the inclusion of Harry Potter. The character goes through several years at a school, true--but what 'growth' does he go through other than the physical? He knows more magic spells at the end than in the beginning, but what's different about his values or character? Another point (not Potter-related, but I didn't want to begin a new section): I'm surprised that the page uses "Tom Sawyer" instead of "Huckleberry Finn," particularly given that the specific features mentioned in that section appear to describe the latter novel more closely.Gheelnory (talk) 01:26, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

In Harry Potter, Harry changes significantly from the Philosopher's Stone to the Deathly Hallows. It seems impossible to think that anyone would ever consider the idea that Harry Potter is not an example of the Bildungsroman. One very clear example of this is his journey with death. At the end of the Deathly Hallows he realises that everything he has done in destroying the horcruxes has been in vain. He has gotten Voldemort closer to death, however he realises that he must die in order for Voldemort to die. There is a very significant growth in character if you look at the moments when he realises he has to die, where he realises that he is not supposed to fight death any longer, he's supposed to embrace it. Then if you look at after he has spoken with Dumbledore and has come back alive again, his whole way of thinking has changed. Instead of fearing death, he realises there is far worse in this world than dying. This is just one example of many throughout the books. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:52, 13 September 2016 (UTC)


Possible violation of Wikipedia policy It seems to me that this article was lifted basically verbatim from the website. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:15, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

perhaps some improvement?[edit]

While there are a great many examples on the English version of this page, perhaps someone could translate the German edition of this page (considering this is a German word) to provide more information about the topic?

Also-- I've never read this, but I believe it is a good example-- would Shakespeare's As You Like It be a good example?

  • As You Like It* isn't a novel. It's play. "Roman" means "novel."--Kbrewer36 (talk) 02:52, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

The Bell Jar[edit]

Would The Bell Jar be considered a Bildungsroman?

I feel that calling it the feminine version of a Bildungsroman would be missing the point.The Zwinky (talk) 05:05, 22 November 2009 (UTC)


I tried to remove it but could not. "Edit this page" does not reveal this text anywhere.


Is Catcher in the Rye a bildungsroman?

Most definitely so.

Not really. I had to smile at the notion that Harry Potter is a bildungsroman. Very funny. When one talks about an education novel, one does tend to mean a character's sentimental education, not his literal one. Ah well. James James 09:42, 23 November 2005 (UTC)

I came to this page to dispute the very same thing, Catcher is not a bildungsroman on many grounds but one can pithily sum it up in the fact that it all takes place at one point in his life, indeed over the course of a few days, whereas a bildungsroman should cover a lengthy span of life to see the character realised as a fully grown adult. Tony2Times 13:01, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

Tom872 (talk · contribs) just reverted my removal of Catcher in the Rye, and I don't want to get into an edit war over this, so I'm bringing it here for broader attention... is this an accurate example of a bildungsroman? -- nae'blis (talk) 04:39, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

No. It is not. The events of two days, however eventful, are not equal in scope to the long, gradual process of maturation and self-cultivation described in true Bildungsromane. Any definition of the Bildungsroman that includes The Catcher in the Rye is too diffuse to be meaningful. Hubacelgrand (talk) 23:19, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

I've taught *Catcher* in a course on the Bildungsroman, but Tony2Times' point is well-taken. Re Harry Potter, Joyce's *Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man* focuses heavily on the main character's formal education, and is usually considered a Bildungsroman. *Harry Potter* might be dismissed on other grounds, though.--Kbrewer36 (talk) 02:54, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

I don't see Catcher as a Bildungsroman, because Holden Caulfield has serious personal/emotional problems, and does not progress. To the extent that I understand the novel, Holden "understands" society so well that he cannot make the kinds of rational adjustments needed to live in it. QED. WilliamSommerwerck (talk) 14:26, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

I tried to erase Catcher in the Rye. It is not a Bildungsroman but some troll put it back on. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:58, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

Major revision[edit]

I have drastically altered the content of this article.

It consisted of one short paragraph defining bildungsroman, looking like a Wiktionary definition, followed by about two dozen examples and yet two dozen further "more contemporary" examples. I added a couple more myself, and then added the "Film" section.

Thinking about it, I soon realised that the article was getting overwhelmed by the examples. Instead of being illustrations of the genre, they were rapidly turning the page into listings of contributors' favorites. On reflection, it seemed best to reduce the number dramatically. Four per section appeared to be a reasonable number. However, I certainly did not wish to merely erase other people's work. So I created two subsidiary articles, moved the lists there, and added the links. I left the film list at six because it made no sense to create an extention list for just two items.

Considerations and recommendations:

  1. My prime consideration in selecting the examples that I have left here is that they are actually read. It makes no sense to use as illustrations of the genre, books, no matter how well-written, that are not being widely read now.
  2. The dividing line between the two lists is 1930. There is nothing critical about that date, merely that, with two exceptions which I moved, that's how the two lists were divided up before I did anything.
  3. If you wish to add more examples, please place them on the extention lists. Also, having gone through the "donkey-work" of alphabetizing the lists by author, I urge you to insert additions in order, not just at the bottom of the list.
  4. I am of the opinion that not all the items listed really are examples of the genre. Still, someone did, or they wouldn't be listed. So unless it really upsets you to find a particular entry on the list, I'd urge that you leave other folk's items untouched.
  5. It's better to have a title redlinked than typed in black. It may prompt someone to add an article about the book.
  6. I have specific rationale for the examples I left on this page. Dickens' works almost define the genre, Twain's is a classic example, and the term was almost coined just to type Goethe's book. The second group takes place in the 1790s, the 1900s, the 1930s, and the 1990s, which is a nice spread. In two the central character is a boy and in two, a girl, which is also to the good. I would ask that if you are considering replacing any of them (and moving it to the extention list), that you only do so if you have personally read the one you are replacing.
  7. Just add any films to the list here. If it gets unwieldy, I can always add an extention later. The film list should not be used for cinematic versions of novels (except in cases like Gigi where the movie is overwhelmingly better-known than the Colette novel).
  8. I hope that someone will expand the actual article.

B00P 02:02, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

Those pages have now been removed. There were too many examples piling up and creating spill over bins didn't help. noit (talk) 18:42, 31 August 2008 (UTC)

Group as opposed to individual focus, film should be out[edit]

Firstly, Bildungsroman is specifically defined as a novel, stretched perhaps in the case of Kafka to a short story. Der Roman is German for novel after all. As such, I find it a bit of a misapplication of the term to add a film section. However, I'd definitely like to get more opinions on this. Or, if we do include a film section, why not a drama section?

Secondly, I think some effort should be made to distinguish in the article (and its appendices) whether a novel chronicling the simultaneous development of more than one person should be considered a bildungsroman. Technically, I would say no; a bildungsroman is traditionally limited to the development of one character who dominates the entire novel. As such, the Harry Potter series and War and Peace ought to be left off, as should The Seven Samurai and Star Wars, regardless of whether the film list stays or goes. Or else we should throw in just about anything that has a character or characters developing—Lord of the Rings, for instance.

I personally think we should make every effort to keep the definition of bildungsroman and its examples as narrow and specific as possible. This will insure clarity and prevent dilution of the term into some meaningless notion of some character learning something at some point in some story.

Andrewseal 04:36, 20 January 2006 (UTC)

1) On the specifics of Seven Samurai and Star Wars, I think that they are rather good examples. Katsushiro is a wealthy young man who has never seen poverty, suffering, or a real fight, never kissed a girl, or been made responsible for anything. Luke Skywalker is hardly the same naive farmboy he started out as.
2) Regarding the larger issue of films in general, please note that I used the phrase "bildungsroman form." I do not disagree that, strickly speaking, bildungsroman refers to a novel. However, I had a straightforward rationale for adding the section. The reality is that more readers, particularly young readers, are more likely to have seen the movies than read the books. As the lists are only illustrative, it appeared to be a good idea to list items that they would actually know.
If a consensus forms one way or the other, it will not make that great a difference to me. The only notion that I am wedded to is that this article not revert to being mostly a list of examples. I still hope that the text will be expanded. B00P 10:24, 20 January 2006 (UTC)

B00P, I feel you didn't really understand my point about The Seven Samurai and Star Wars. It's not that they don't have a character developing in them, it's that this development is merely a facet of the work, not the whole thing as it is in Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man or in The Magic Mountain. Saving the galaxy is a pretty big part of the Star Wars saga, and while it coincides with Luke's maturation, there is still an enormous amount of content aside from such "education." I feel that using this type of work, which has its focus scattered around many different characters and many different issues, dilutes the understanding of what a bildungsroman is. And I don't care if young readers are wholly unfamiliar with our examples; if they're bright enough to look up bildungsroman, they'll probably be inquisitive enough to look up our examples.

No, I do understand your point and concede that it's obviously so. It is also clear that one can't get the depth of a novel when boiled down to a film. The point that I was trying to make is that these films illustrate what a bildungsroman is. That's all.
As for your final assertion, I only hope that it's so. B00P 01:11, 21 January 2006 (UTC)

Back to the Future[edit]

I think adding this movie is stretching things quite a bit. --DanielCD 01:42, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

There are a great many poor examples, as well as non-examples, on these "Bildungsroman" pages and lists. This entire things needs an overhaul, as the entire point of it is being missed. --DanielCD 14:12, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

I just came to this page because I wanted to be certain I knew what a Bildungsroman was. I thought it was about the moral development of a character, regardless of their age. (Apparently not.) Back to the Future -- especially the second and third parts -- is definitely one. I seriously question Treasure Island, which is principally an adventure story. The 1951 Disney movie comes closer to being a Bildungsroman, as Jim has significant moral issues to work through. WilliamSommerwerck (talk) 14:16, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

another contemporary example[edit]

How about adding the novel Invisible Man to the list? I can argue that this is a fairly good example --BorisFromStockdale 02:12, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

Thank you for your suggestion regarding Bildungsroman! When you feel an article needs improvement, please feel free to make whatever changes you feel are needed. Wikipedia is a wiki, so anyone can edit almost any article by simply following the Edit this page link at the top. You don't even need to log in! (Although there are some reasons why you might like to…) The Wikipedia community encourages you to be bold. Don't worry too much about making honest mistakes—they're likely to be found and corrected quickly. If you're not sure how editing works, check out how to edit a page, or use the sandbox to try out your editing skills. New contributors are always welcome.--michael180 22:34, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

Can anyone here support Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire as a Bildungsroman? The series thus far has both old/young protagonists, and contains little of maturing or growth for most of them, with about one exception. I don't feel it belongs in this category. Anyone agree?

Yes. There are too many things being added that aren't examples at all. --DanielCD 18:36, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

baffling film/book organizational structure[edit]

Why is it that the book/novel examples were split out and then excised from this article, and the films (many of which are not good examples) are left in as the primary examples? If anything, this should be reversed, but I'm more inclined to re-include bildungsroman examples from books and films that can be cited as such in this article, and redirect the two book articles here. Please comment or note any objections to such a course of action. -- nae'blis 17:42, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

They're all gone now. Too many were piling up. There are also too many sections on this talk page about the massive list of examples, but oh well. noit (talk) 18:44, 31 August 2008 (UTC)

defining examples[edit]

I teach a class on the Bildungsroman; very few people agree on what exactly is one or isn't one--as this discussion indicates, you can really get bogged down arguing about whether something is or isn't. For example, the definition from Buckley on the page doesn't describe a ton of novels that are typically considered examples of the genre. I like the lists and discussions about particular items as a means to provoke thought, but maybe we should assume that it really is a loose and baggy genre and no definition is going to nail down all possible examples.Klbrewer 22:35, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

A Bildungsroman is not just a book with teenage characters[edit]

A Bildungsroman is not just a book with teenage characters. Therefore, I removed catcher in the rye, riddley walker and lord of the flies (as well as some random japanese TV show). All of which take place over a couple of days to a month or so.

P.S. Harry Potter is definetly a Bildungsroman as the character grow up quite a bit during the course of the novels —Preceding unsigned comment added by Maverick starstrider (talkcontribs) 21:23, 20 October 2007 (UTC)

Yes, I agree Harry Potter is a bildungsroman but why use the FILM as an example when when this is a concept for a novel? If one is looking for film examples to expand the genre would it not be better to find ones that were not extremely popular books first as examples? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:19, 27 June 2008 (UTC)


OK. Harry Potter definitely looks like a Buildungsroman.The evolution of the hero is complete in the seven volume collection.But does Buildungsroman have to be the tale about a single hero undergoing metamorphosis or can One hundred years of solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez be termed as Buildungsroman?Olipou.kk (talk) 06:07, 24 January 2008 (UTC)Parvathi

Well, it needs to be one single book, and yes, a single protagonist, and the protagonist must reach wise mature adulthood within the book, via various trials or experiences. Softlavender (talk) 04:29, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

Midnight's Children[edit]

Salman Rushdie's award winning novel pictures the birth life and growth of Saleem Sinai juxtaposed dexterously with that of his motherland India. Although the Buildungsroman streak in the novel hides under the obfuscating veneer of magical realism it definitely is something that can't be denied.The character from the beginning displays nonconformance with the social status quo. As he grows along with his motherland (both of them born at the same time) the novel portrays how the society and the world objurgate and chastise him and finallly defeat him.Definitely this novel can be added to the genre Buildungsroman. Olipou.kk (talk) 06:03, 24 January 2008 (UTC)Parvathi

Examples cleanup[edit]

List of examples within genres are very dangerous. The more I see them, the more I note this fact. None of the examples provide references to support their inclusion into this category, so I can only infer that all additions have taken place through the act of Synthesis, a specific type of Original Research. I propose blanking out the list and only allowing the addition of notable entries that are explicitly described by Reliable Sources as being representitive of the Bildungsroman or "coming of age story" genre.

Actually, I don't really wanna blank the list entirely. I'd like to find sources for one or two titles and properly reference them as examples of how to add entries, and then just monitor the list thereafter. Comments? -Verdatum (talk) 19:01, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

That sounds like an excellent idea. The list as it stands is little short of monstrous and that's the best proposal I've heard to keep it reasonable. Hubacelgrand (talk) 00:57, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

The list is gone. noit (talk) 18:46, 31 August 2008 (UTC)

Most of the examples are incorrect[edit]

I am going to put "citation needed" by most all of them, and if there is no source posted for calling the novel in question a Bildungsroman within a couple of months, I propose that the unsourced ones be deleted Softlavender (talk) 04:24, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

It's been a couple of months. I say, do it. The definition is hazy and everyone throwing in books they'd like to think fit doesn't clear that up. Reserve the sample area for books sited as being a Bildungsroman. Noit (talk) 22:17, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
Soon there wont be any books left that aren't in this list. A Bildungsroman appears to be any book with a story arc and/or character development. Noit (talk) 00:08, 13 July 2008 (UTC)
A great many of the supposedly uncited things aren't generic like you seem to be insinuating. Why not go cite them? It would be better than deleting useful knowledge, right? Oh, right, this is wikipedia. nm (talk) 13:42, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
"Why not go cite them?" That doesn't even make sense. Why don't you go cite them, if you think there is a way to. Do it quick because I'm about to delete them. Because, there's nothing useful about a long list of vaguely related books. It's not meant to be a complete catalog of Bildungsroman. It's meant to be a list of examples to give clarity to the definition of the genre. There really should be about five. There are so many there now, I wonder if we should list what books aren't Bildungsromans instead. Noit (talk) 15:08, 27 July 2008 (UTC)
I'm not the one threatening to delete things. You're taking action without sufficient information to form an opinion - that's vandal behavior. That, e.g., Siddharta was marked "citation needed" was indicative to me that the person marking these as needing citations just doesn't know what the books are. That's his fault, not the fault of the people who put them in there. That you're changing the subject (it's no longer that the books don't qualify, it's that there are too many examples!) also raises suspicions of ignorant vandalism. Wikipedia - this is your problem. This is why we think you're a pathetic mess. (talk) 17:55, 27 July 2008 (UTC)
I think I speak for wikipedia when I say, "Oh yeah? Well, same to you." But anyway, the list only confuses me. I don't know what a Bildungsroman is. After reading the article I thought I knew. Then I read the list and I didn't know again. The article for Romance has about twenty samples and is very clear. I wanted to incite people to cite the list so I would know which ones to keep. If you think Siddharta is an excellent example of the genre then shouldn't it be highlighted as such rather than buried in a list of so-so examples? If there were six to ten diverse but definite examples and no more, that would be the best way to define what characteristics makes a book a Bildungsroman. If you know that Siddharta is a good example then pick five more, and the one or two that are actually cited, and there's the list. Noit (talk) 21:19, 27 July 2008 (UTC)
I have removed the immense example sections as well as links to the the side-car example pages. Don't ad more than 12 examples to this page please, or I'll be back. noit (talk) 20:24, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm back. The list is huge again. I don't know what to do with you knuckleheads. You have some emotional attachment to your favorite books and think they just have to be on this list or you'll die. Are there any other genres with such a plethora of examples? If the article is written well, there shouldn't be any examples. It would be redundant. noit (talk) 23:59, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for deleting the examples. They were a mess. I added Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship and The Red and the Black. I read both books and they are classic "Bildungsromane". Perhaps someone should add a FEW more examples: especially some english literature and somthing modern

Coming-of-Age stories are NOT Bildungsromans[edit]

This cannot be too strongly stated in my opinion. A Coming-of-age story details the singular event in puberty or adolescence which brings the protagonist into near-adulthood, or adult realization. (Example: To Kill a Mockingbird.) That's why the term "Coming of age" means to come into a position of post-childhood awareness or maturity. This can happen as early as, say, 11 or 12 or 13 (as in a Bar Mitzvah tradition), or as late as teenage years or later (as in the traditions of becoming of "legal age" or "age of consent" or "age of majority"). Bildungsromans, on the other hand, address the entire life cycle, from childhood to late adulthood, and show the gradual, massive changes which occur as the protagonist grows in strength and experience and fulfills his life destiny, reaching wisdom, maturity, insight, good judgment, strength, skill, and strength of position in society. (Examples: David Copperfield, Great Expectations, The Red and the Black, Wilhelm Meister.) Bildung means education, and a Bildungsroman is about a self-made person, one who is self-educated by his experiences, grows through them, and in later years becomes a mature beacon of wisdom and insight — a master.

Please don't confuse the two genres. That's why the two genres have two different names! Any book in which the protagonist is still 21 or younger at the end is NOT a Bildungsroman. Softlavender (talk) 02:55, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

Unfortunately, without citing sources for your arguments and claims, this entire comment comes off as Original Research. I've never known that a Coming-of-age story "details (a) singluar event". Nor did I know that Bildungsromans "address the entire life cycle, from childhood to late adulthood". I have no illusions about the infallability of my high school english teacher, but this is not what I was taught, so where are you getting this from? -Verdatum (talk) 17:32, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't have any knowledge about differences either way, though I would like the one sentence that mentions the difference in the opening paragraph to be fleshed out. As it stands now, I removed the wikilink to 'coming-of-age novel' because... it redirects here :) biggins (talk) 15:20, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

Order of examples[edit]

I notice that this article's "Examples" section is arranged mostly (there are exceptions) in alphabetical order by title of work. That is one way of listing examples. Another is in alphabetical order by authors' last names, as in the "Bildungsroman examples (pre-1930)" article. The "Bildungsroman examples (post-1930)" article has ordered them in alphabetical order by authors' first names. Yet another way of ordering that comes to mind is in chronological order by date of publication. I personally would favor placing examples in chronological order. Does anyone else have thoughts about this? Nihil novi (talk) 23:32, 17 May 2008 (UTC)

I've corrected the alphabetical order of the titles in "Examples," except for the last two books in the list, both by Salman Rushdie. I hesitate to move them for now, since they have rather long source citations.
I think there would be a useful purpose to reordering the items in the list into chronological order, which would make it easier to follow the historical evolution of the Bildungsroman genre. Nihil novi (talk) 00:39, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
I've moved the Rushdie books, and a few others. Nihil novi (talk) 03:46, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

I've rearranged the list of examples, into chronological order. Nihil novi (talk) 07:42, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

I've made a clean slate of the examples section. I thought about the cited Rushdie books, but end up just clearing them as well. They're easy to put back if someone want to. Go through the history. I just hope people practice common sense when repopulating this page with examples. noit (talk) 18:50, 31 August 2008 (UTC)

Make the article better by looking at the german and the french article[edit]

The headline says it almost. This article is not good! The articles in french and german are much better. The easiest way to make this one better is to look at the other and learn from them. I cant do it because I am german and my english is not so good. I would suggest that someone, who is native english speaker but can understand german or french, does this. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:40, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

I'd like to second this motion.--Awaler (talk) 19:26, 13 March 2012 (UTC)


An editor altered the originator of the term in this edit changing it from an entry that had an article to a redlink. The fact was properly referenced to a German article online. Is there any reason to believe that the later edit is any more likely to be accurate than mine? A quote from this second reference in question would help. I expect these people are one and the same. For the time being, I'm reverting. -Verdatum (talk) 22:17, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Stephen King's IT[edit]

The novel sort of shows how children must grow up and ultimately face an enemy from their past, the whole growing up theme I believe should classify IT as a bildungsroman. or would that just be something similar, being such a violent book?-- (talk) 21:15, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

For any work, whether or not it may be considered a Bildungsroman can always be up for debate. So long as it involves a youth who becomes integrated into society over the course of the novel, you can make an argument. However, for the purpose of editing this article, and more specifically for editing the list of select examples, it is much simpler. If you can find and reference Reliable Sources that declare the work to be a classic example of a Bildungsroman (if they just say "coming of age", it isn't good enough) then it may be appropriate to add to the article. Otherwise, the work does not need to be listed here.
But to specifically answer your question, It is horror/suspense. Yes, children grow up a bit, but really there is just a specific conflict, followed by a resolution. Overcoming evil clowns has nothing to do with becoming acclimated to one's role in society. -Verdatum (talk) 18:03, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
What about The Talisman'Italic text — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:53, 1 June 2012 (UTC)

Example section inclusion criteria[edit]

The intent of the "examples" section is to give strong, and well agreed upon instances of the genre. When I review updates to the list, I will generally Google the title, author, and "bildungsroman" and see what comes up. If things like enotes and sparknotes come up declaring it a bildungsroman, then I will generally add the reference and let it remain. If I find nothing reliable, or merely some blog posts declaring a work bildungsroman, I will delete it. If I find reviews that state it merely has "characteristics of a bildungsroman" I will delete it. If the work is about magical hero characters (e.g. Harry Potter), or "chosen ones", I will delete it. I don't care how many sources refer to it as a bildungsroman, because the article currently explicitly defines these as outside the genre. And, as a result of a previous discussion, if it is not an actual novel, I will delete it. If the novel doesn't currently have a Wikipedia article, I'll either create a stub article if I see evidence of notability, or I'll probably remove the entry, because it's likely a minor work that lacks the critical acclaim needed to consider it a select example of the genre. -Verdatum (talk) 16:44, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Walt Whitman[edit]

Shouldn't the poem There was a Child Went Forth by Walt Whitman be added?-- (talk) 01:20, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

No. By definition a Bildungsroman is a novel. (Roman is German for "novel".) (talk) 04:49, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

Chaim Potok[edit]

Almost all novels by Chaim Potok could be considered bildungsromans, right? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ceplm (talkcontribs) 00:12, 27 March 2011 (UTC)


The Bildungsroman (German pronunciation: [ˈbɪldʊŋs.ʁoˌmaːn]; German: "education novel") is a term coined in literary criticism,[1] which purportedly defines a genre of the novel which focuses on the psychological and moral[citation needed] growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood,[2] and in which character change is thus extremely important

Why is "purportedly" used in the above sentence? Abenr (talk) 04:47, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

The Way of All Flesh[edit]

There is no better example in English of the Bildungsroman than Samuel Butler's 1903 novel,"The Way of All Flesh." It should be added to the list.Abenr (talk) 04:55, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

The first Bildungsroman[edit]

The first Bildungsroman wasn't Goethe's 'Wilhelm Meister' but rather Wieland's 'Geschichte des Agathon' (History of Agathon), published in 1766/1767. (talk) 19:09, 5 August 2012 (UTC)

WorldCat Genres[edit]

Hello, I'm working with OCLC, and we are algorithmically generating data about different Genres, like notable Authors, Book, Movies, Subjects, Characters and Places. We have determined that this Wikipedia page has a close affintity to our detected Genere of bildungsromans. It might be useful to look at [2] for more information. Thanks. Maximilianklein (talk) 23:00, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

Unsourced examples[edit]

I'm wondering if only sourced samples, samples that have an attached ref from a useable source that says this work is an example of Bildunsroman, should be kept on the examples list. I noticed that there are a bunch of unsourced examples on that list and it seems improper to call something Bildunsroman just on the opinion of an editor although I can't remember the policy that backs that off the top of my head. Cat-fivetc ---- 03:26, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

I removed all unsourced samples after I saw that there was already an HTML note giving fair warning that they'd be removed at any time. There's a few major works that I removed that should be added back if a source canb e found that confirms that they fall under Bildunsroman. The edit is [ here, if anyone wants to go back and see what was removed. Cat-fivetc ---- 05:51, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

Merge with Coming-of-age film to Coming-of-age story[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

I've closed this: there is no consensus here on mergeing these articles. Swanny18 (talk) 13:44, 2 July 2017 (UTC)

I suggest either that Bildungsroman and Coming-of-age film be merged into one article, Coming-of-age story, or that the topic of "coming-of-age story/novel" be extricated from the Bildungsroman article (the lede says "coming-of-age story" is a synonym for Bildungsroman, but then goes on to distinguish to two terms in the History section) and merged with Coming-of-age film to make an article, Coming-of-age story, that is separate from Bildungsroman. I prefer the first option, since they are all three related (Bildungsroman being a subgenre of coming-of-age novel) and together in one article would give a more comprehensive treatment to the subject, and so that what I've done with Coming-of-age story for now.

If this is accepted, then this talk page should be moved to Coming-of-age story. — the Man in Question (in question) 23:46, 9 February 2013 (UTC)

I like burritos. It is my story. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:47, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

Ignoring the anonip, I agree. A bildungsroman is effectively a coming of age story. Hentheden (talk) 15:31, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
I'm not enough of a literary expert to know how the terms are used in lit crit, but when I hear that a book or film is a "coming of age story" I figure it's going to be maybe a little lightweight and if more serious, still by-the-numbers. (how many French supposed "coming of age films" have we seen that are basically a teen-adult crush that is consumated) When I hear that a novel is a bildungsroman I generally expect it to be serious literature. Interestingly, Look Homeward, Angel is described in its infobox as having a "subject" of "coming of age" and a genre of "bildungsroman" which will be strange if the articles are merged. Not sure what that says about the merger, just sayin (talk) 15:57, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
Just as an aside, "character development" is a facet of literature that exists within the plot and has nothing to do with age of characters. These two articles talk about "character change" which is a weasle phrase that does not mean anything. Formation of a character's character perhaps? (talk) 01:42, 14 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose merge. The structure as it is OK for now. Wikipedia:Summary style allows for that. In fact, if there is enough general discussion about coming-of-age-films in reliable sources, then COAF may be made into a separate article in the future. Staszek Lem (talk) 17:43, 15 March 2013 (UTC)

P.S. How about looking up and adding the ref Marianne Hirsch, "The Novel of Formation as Genre"? (Right now I've created a missing redirect, 'Novel of formation'.) Staszek Lem (talk) 17:50, 15 March 2013 (UTC)

P.P.S. Also, instead of focussing on merging, how about expanding them both? There are plenty of serious references, but our articles are rather simple. Staszek Lem (talk) 17:56, 15 March 2013 (UTC)

  • Oppose merge. Can we close this convo? The Bildungsroman comprises a specific, very rich, and very notable historical genre in addition to representing more current arguable additions. There is an intentional mirroring in bildungsroman to society and the economy, for example Goethe's, "Faust", Kafka's " Amerika" etc. It's much more meta than a classic COAS or COAF such as " Stand by Me" or " My Girl." One could argue that something like "Better Luck Tomorrow" is a bildungsroman, but it would be laughable to include them under the umbrella of " The Last Song". — Preceding unsigned comment added by Colormehappygirl (talkcontribs) 00:03, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Major 'oppose‘ per above thoughts. As someone in literary studies, the scholarship and concept for all three are so diverse that each would make strong standalone articles. I am going to remove the merge tags, Sadads (talk) 15:28, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Observation: The articles in this groups are a mess. If you don't merge them, they need a serious workover anyway.- (talk) 23:58, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
  • I strongly oppose merging, primarily for the reasons cited by Colormehappygirl. Bildungroman is, at best a "cousin" of COA stories. Hallward's Ghost (Kevin) (My talkpage) 00:35, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

  • Closed, no consensus. Swanny18 (talk) 13:44, 2 July 2017 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

7 of first nine refs are not set up correctly -- does anyone know the style being used?[edit]

Seven of the first nine refs seem to link to the Bibliography list, but it does not work (clicking on the highlighted text does not bring one down to the author and text in the Bibliography list). I have seen this done effectively in other articles, where the Bibliography items are referenced often by page number, allowing the Reference in the list to be just an author and page number. However, I have not mastered that style of referencing in Wikipedia, doing the html, so I cannot see readily what is missing. Either that approach needs to be made to work, or the references can be done as cite book format, picking up the pertinent information from the Bibliography entry. Hoping someone knows how to do first method correctly. --Prairieplant (talk) 17:43, 27 March 2015 (UTC)

Shortened Footnotes. See WP:SRF for clear examples of how to combine shortened footnotes (as in article lede) and longer footnotes in one article. Numbered refs 1, 3-6 & 8, using sfn template, don't point to any citation. (Thanks for quick diagnosis to userscript User:Ucucha/HarvErrors). Bibliography items for those sfn refs are in plain text, so no linking can occur. SFN refs need to call on citation templates, with named parameters that identify all-important last name and year (not date) for hooks. Shortned footnotes offer many advantages, but can get hairy and hard to maintain. (I suspect citation templates once linked from properly formatted sfn refs were eliminated at some point in misguided desire to make Bibliography visually match MLA or some other style - not what Wikipedia is about.) More details at Help:Shortened_footnotes#References_list and related pages -- Paulscrawl (talk) 16:34, 18 August 2015 (UTC)
I tried a few experiments on shortened footnote 6 (as of today) at end of first sentence of Origin section: Summerfield2010. 1. added citation book template; 2. tried adding |ref=harv to no effect; 3.tried changing to |ref=Summerfield2010. Neither 2 or 3 seemed to work. -- Paulscrawl (talk) 02:46, 26 August 2015 (UTC)
Also 4. added rquired refbegin and refend templates to Bibliography - no effect. (Notes for shortened footnotes are located in what this article calls References - required reflist|30em template already there) 5. Changed cite book parameters last1 and first1 to last and first - no effect, as in working example at link above. 6. Then changed |ref=Summerfield2010 to |ref=harv - now the script cited above points to a mismatch:
In References (aka Notes in Help for sfn many articles using shortened footnotes:
6. Summerfield 2010, p. 1. Harv error: link from #CITEREFSummerfield2010 doesn't point to any citation.
In Bibliography (aka References in Help for sfn and many articles using shortened footnotes):
Summerfield, Giovanna; Downward, Lisa (2010). New Perspectives on the European Bildungsroman. London; New York: Continuum. ISBN 978-1441108531. Harv error: There is no link pointing to this citation. The anchor is named CITEREFSummerfieldDownward2010.
Mismatch may be key, but I've exhausted my time tonight. Article reads as before, any help appreciated. -- Paulscrawl (talk) 04:11, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

What's the difference?[edit]

The article here states that a bildungsroman is a coming-of-age story, but up until a couple of days ago it also said (and the coming-of-age story article still does say) that bildungsroman is a subset of the genre.
So, is that no longer the case? Is bildungsroman just a technical term for/synonym of/pretentious way of saying “coming-of-age story”? Or does calling a story a bildungsroman add something to the description, in a way that that the English term does not? And if they are different, the article (in fact, both articles) should spell out for us simple folk what the difference is, and the copious "Examples" section should only include items that meet that criterion, and/or are actually described as such by a reliable source.
Also, the article states that the term was coined in 1819, and the birth of the genre dates from Weiland's novel of 1767, yet the coming-of-age story article, and the list here, have about a dozen examples that predate that; so how accurate in fact is that claim? Swanny18 (talk) 13:39, 2 July 2017 (UTC)

Expanding Examples?[edit]

Would it be applicable to give examples of how the Bildungsroman works within the texts rather than just giving links to the page? Would anyone be opposed to extensively expanding the examples section to convey how the Bildungsroman functions within their respective stories? For example, if I expanded how important the Bildungsroman concept/genre is within Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre (with reputable scholarly sources of course). Perhaps this would invite others to expand on the other examples listed on the Bildungsroman and raise the class of the article? Sleepvertical (talk) 00:19, 17 October 2018 (UTC)

The problem with this is that there are too many examples and new ones keep getting added, so the expansion might get a bit too extensive. However, a brief discussion of some of the most notable ones, such as the one you mention, might be a good idea. Harold the Sheep (talk) 22:29, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
Thank you for responding Harold the Sheep! I think that is a fair compromise. Possibly creating a section of the most notable examples of the Bildungsroman. I certainly believe that Jane Eyre is one of the notable examples for various reasons (the novel is well read, has a lot of scholarship written on it, its major place in feminist literature, and so on...). I'd also love and encourage if others were willing to bring up what other examples they thought were most important. Perhaps the start of section that is 3-5 notable examples would work? With Jane Eyre being one and possibly the start. Thank you for your help and do you have any other suggestions?

Sleepvertical (talk) 00:10, 26 October 2018 (UTC)

Jane Eyre is a good suggestion. Emile or Candide might be good as an early example of the genre. Maybe Great Expectations and a couple from the 20th and 21st centuries. I guess it doesn't particularly matter which ones, as long as they are well known and good for demonstrating the qualities of the article subject. Harold the Sheep (talk) 04:30, 26 October 2018 (UTC)