Bildungsroman (educational novel) is the label coined by Karl Morgenstern in the early 1820s for a literary genre that depicts the mental and intellectual education of the main protagonist, from childhood to maturity, thereby contributing to the reader's education (Bildung). The prototype is C.M. Wieland's Geschichte des Agathon, although Morgenstern and likewise W. Dilthey and other later critics saw J.W. v. Goethe 's Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre as the preeminent example.
R. Selbmann, Der deutsche Bildungsroman, 1984.