Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

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(the novel of personal development or of education) originated in Germany in the latter half of the 18th century and has since become one of the major narrative genres in European and Anglo-American literature. It charts the protagonist’s actual or metaphorical journey from youth to maturity. Initially the aim of this journey is reconciliation between the desire for individuation (self-fulfilment) and the demands of socialisation (adaptation to a given social reality).

Since the genre deals with subjectivity and the relationship between self and society, many novels concerned with psychological characterisation and questions of identity use Bildungsroman elements. The heyday of the Bildungsroman is undoubtedly the nineteenth century as a period of class-conflict,

3184 words

Citation: Rau, Petra. "Bildungsroman". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 13 November 2002 [, accessed 25 May 2024.]

119 Bildungsroman 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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