Bildungsroman Novels

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S U M M A R Y

INTRODUCTION.................................................................................................................

1- BILDUNGSROMAN NOVELS.........................................................................................

2- TWO BILDUNGSROMAN NOVELS.............................................................................

3.1- Great Expectations..................................................................................................... 3.2- Emma...........................................................................................................................

CONCLUSION..................................................................................................................

BIBLIOGRAPHY.................................................................................................................

INTRODUCTION

A novel is a prose narrative of a certain length and complexity that deals imaginatively with human experience usually through a connected sequence of events. Most novels involve many characters and tell a complex story by placing the characters in a number of different situations. One theme commonly present in British novels is the theme of "growing up".

Even before psychology was well developed as an academic field, the bildungsroman novels, or education novels explored people's emotions and the process of maturing. The bildungsroman is a class of novel that arouse in German literature but later became a worldwide genre. It deals with the theme of someone's growth as a person from childhood to maturity.

The relevance of such a genre is clear if one notices that much of the most significant fiction in the last two centuries has taken this form and, therefore, constitute part of the history of the novel in the world. Great Expectations (1860-1861), written by the English author Charles Dickens, and Emma (1926), by another English author, Jane Austen, can be analysed under this perspective. Throughout Dickens' novel, Pip, the main character, goes through many changes in his personality to eventually coming to terms with his own actions. Austen's novel deals with a female character, Emma, a rich young woman who learns how to balance power and propriety.

The purpose of this paper is to analyze these two novels as pertaining to the bildungsroman genre and how and why it applies to them. Another issue which will be discussed is that in one of the novels the main character is a male and, in the other, it is a female, therefore, it is interesting to see how Dickens and Austen dealt with the issue of genre, especially the ways in which social opportunities and constraints shape the lives of the protagonists.

Some definitions of the bildungsroman novel and its characteristics will be presented in the first section of this paper. Then, in the second section, the two novels cited above will be analyzed separately. The elements which make them be considered bildungsromane will be pointed out. Finally, to conclude, the differences and similarities between them will be dealt with so that it will be clear in what ways the bildungsroman differ in the two novels.

1- THE BILDUNGSROMAN NOVEL

This German term began to be used in the second half of the 18th century by the critic and philosopher Wilhelm Dilthey. He stressed five main points about the bildungsroman novels: "(1) the idea of Bildung, or formation, cultivation, education, shaping of a single main character, normally of a young man; (2) individualism, especially the emphasis on the uniqueness of the protagonist and the primacy of his private life and thoughts, although these are at the same time representative of an age and culture; (3) the biographical element, usually supplied from the author's own life in what Dilthey calls the " conscious and artistic presentation of what is typically human through the depiction of a particular individual life"; (4) the connection with...
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