Bildungsroman has been my favorite literary term for a long time.
I don't remember having a favorite before bildungsroman. I like other terms, too, but not as much. Synechdoche is awfully good.
Bildungsroman is a German term used to describe a coming-of-age novel. Bildung means formation; roman means novel. Pronounced -dungs-rome-ahn.
It's my favorite for two reasons, at least at the moment. I might think of more reasons later.
First reason: I like saying it. It rolls off the tongue with a lovely combination of consonants and vowels and sounds so mysterious.
Second reason: The best essay I wrote in college for my beloved Dr. C. was about A Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man by James Joyce, which is a bildungsroman. I also structured the essay as a bildungsroman. Dr. C. always spoke with us students before we began writing (I'm sure it averted many catastrophes). He liked to see an outline.
He didn't think the bildungsroman approach would work for my essay. I assured him that it would. I had outlined ways to write it using other methods. I could see that the bildungsroman was the right way.
Fortunately, I was right. If I felt a bit better (I have an upset tummy), I'd dig out the essay from my files and share his comments on it with you. Sometimes when I'm sad I get out one of my old essays and read it. Dr. C's comments always make me feel better.
I got an A+. It was the beginning of a string of A pluses that lasted until I graduated.
Oh, my lovely Dr. C. He changed my life.
A Portrait of the Artist is in the #2 spot on my list of my favorite five. The Great Gatsby occupies first place. The Sound and The Fury is in third. It was also part of the late, great Faulkner's registered name. Officially, he was Faulkner of Sound and Fury. The dog of my life.
Do you have a list of favorite novels? Perhaps a favorite bildungsroman? I'll be surprised if you have a favorite literary term.
Some other examples of a bildungsroman include
- The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, by Laurence Sterne (1759) --my favorite novel in the development of the early English novel
- Emma, by Jane Austen (1815) --my favorite Jane Austen novel
- Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë (1847)
- Martin Eden, by Jack London (1909) --I don't think Martin Eden is very well known; I quite like it.
- Of Human Bondage, by W. Somerset Maugham (1915) --such a good book
- Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1937) --how I love it! The main character is Janie.
- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (1943) --I've loved this novel for years; I encourage everyone to read it.
- The Cider House Rules by John Irving (1985) --my favorite John Irving book
- The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd (2002)
Please tell us what your favorite bildungsroman is.
Infinities of love,
Two examples of a bildungsroman: could Boogie Nights and Anne of Green Gables be more different?