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Educational Novel (Bildungsroman)
(84 words)

[German Version]

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.

Cite this page
Ziolkowski, Eric, “Educational Novel (Bildungsroman)”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 17 October 2019 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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