Part of speech: noun
Origin: German, early 20th century
A novel dealing with one person's formative years or spiritual education.
Examples of Bildungsroman in a sentence
"She had an entire shelf in her home library devoted to Bildungsroman."
"The Bildungsroman told the story of his journey from a one-room schoolhouse to graduating from medical school."
Popularity Over Time
It's an intimidating word for a literary style popular with all types of readers. "Bildung" is German for education, and "roman" is a novel. Simply put, it's a coming-of-age book. Now you can feel snooty about reading your guilty pleasure Young Adult books.
Did you Know?
"Emma" by Jane Austen, "David Copperfield" by Charles Dickens, "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Huston, and "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee — all Bildungsroman. Any story that concerns the moral, educational, and philosophical development of a young person falls into this family.