Definition of Bildungsroman in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbildo͝oNGzrōˌmän/ Pronunciation: /ˈbēldo͝oNGks-/


A novel dealing with one person’s formative years or spiritual education.
Example sentences
  • Hughbury Shamp, a teenager with a yen for fame - note: all three novels are Bildungsromane - follows three masters whom he introduces at the beginning of his first-person account, an echo of Marcus Aurelius starting his meditations.
  • The tendency of novel theory to define the novel as a genre that is sui generis does lead to certain impasses and quandaries, whether in the theory of the novel as such or of a subgenre like the Bildungsroman.
  • E. L. Doctorow's Billy Bathgate is a Bildungsroman which shares many central characteristics with Updike's novel and Roth's.


German, from Bildung 'education' + Roman 'a novel'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: Bil·dungs·ro·man

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