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The Realist Novel-Characteristics •The linear flow of narrative•The unity and coherence of plot and character and the cause and effect development thereof•The moral and philosophical meaning of literary action•The advocating of bourgeois rationality•Rational, public, objective discourse
Not ideal•The Realist novel of the nineteenth century was written in opposition to the Romance of mediaeval times•Representation of “real life” experiences and characters versus ideal love, ideal moral codes ideal characters (nobility), and fixed social values ,
Greatest novel ever?•The novel a lengthy fictitious narrative representing life-like characters and action.•George Eliot’s Middlemarch is a great milestone in the realist tradition.
The novel of youth•The novel has a strong tradition in English literature; it can trace its roots back to Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoein 1719 (Kroll 23). Since then, the British novel has grown in popularity. It was especially popular in Victorian England. The type of novel that was particularly popular in Victorian England was the novel of youth. •Many authors of the time were producing works focused on the journey from childhood to adulthood: Charlotte Bronte wrote Jane Eyre, George Eliot wrote The Mill on the Floss, and Charles Dickens wrote David Copperfieldand Great Expectations. All of these novels trace the growth of a child. In this respect, some of the most popular novels of the nineteenth century were part of the genre called the Bildungsroman.
The Bildungsroman•This genre originated in Germany as a method for writers to exemplify their philosophy about society through the growth of an individual•Originally, they would show the development of an individual through his process of maturation to a final accommodation with the spirit and values of society. These were the values of the Enlightenment, whose qualities could be traced in the development of the individual.
The Bildungsroman1.The protagonist grows from child to adult2.He (or she) experiences some sort of loss and discontent that takes him away from his family or home3.The process of maturation is a long and hard journey involving many clashes between the protagonist’s desires and the norms of society4.Finally, the spirit and value of the social order become manifest within the now-mature protagonist
Development of the Bildungsroman•It is important to note that while the previous points were the original structure for a bildungsroman, they do not need to rigidly fit the pattern•For example, many modern genres such as epic fantasy include elements of bildungsroman e.g. the Star Warstrilogy •Thus, while Great Expectations does not exactly conform to the aforementioned structure, it is still a bildungsroman and so is Jane Eyre.
•The term Bildungsroman first emerged as a description of Goethe's novel Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre. This was the first Bildungsroman, having been published between 1794 and 1796 (Buckley 9). The word "lehrjahre" can be translated as "apprenticeship".