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The basic model of the early modern Bildungsroman was “the biography of a young protagonist … , which runs through a sequence of errors and disappointments to reconciliation with the world” [3. 35]. But even the few literary scholars who consider the Bildungsroman an independent genre cannot avoid problematizing it from the outset. The Bildungsroman usually appears “hesitant and ironic,” but it is “a necessary element of a Bildung narrative as a goal or at least as a postulate” [3. 35]. This alternation between supraindividual or even national pretensions and insufficien…

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Albert, Claudia, “Bildungsroman”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Executive editor of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy. Consulted online on 21 February 2018 <>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160907

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