Friday, September 23, 2011

Word of the Day 9/23/2011

*It's been a while...*

Bildungsroman (noun): a novel about the moral and psychological growth of the main character

Examples: While the author’s previous novel was a bildungsroman, her most recent book focuses on trials and tribulations of a family through multiple generations.

"Jonathan Safran Foer's exuberant, wildly stylized novel 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close' (2005) incorporates intertextuality, meta-fiction and a young boy’s spiritual education -- what we English major folks call 'bildungsroman' -- in reconciling national trauma." -- From a review by Ryan Lattanzio in The Daily Californian, September 8, 2011

Did You Know?: "Bildungsroman" is the combination of two German words: "Bildung," meaning "education," and "Roman," meaning "novel." Fittingly, a "bildungsroman" is a novel that deals with the formative years of the main character -- in particular, his or her psychological development and moral education. The bildungsroman usually ends on a positive note with the hero's foolish mistakes and painful disappointments over and a life of usefulness ahead. Goethe's late 18th-century work Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre (Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship) is often cited as the classic example of this type of novel. Though the term is primarily applied to novels, in recent years, some English speakers have begun to apply the term to films that deal with a youthful character's coming-of-age.

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