Development novel

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The term development novel describes a type of novel in which the spiritual and spiritual development of a main character is shown in their confrontation with themselves and with the environment. The development novel describes the process of maturation of the protagonist , who processes his experiences reflectively and incorporates them into his personality.

The terms Bildungsroman and Entwicklungsroman are closely related, the latter being characterized by the fact that, from the reader's point of view, there is not necessarily a higher level of ability or education as a result at the end of the development of the main character.

In development novels, it is often negative experiences that influence the development of personality. They induce the hero of the novel to “go into himself”, help him to realize that he has pursued unattainable goals, made unjustified claims or made serious mistakes. By admitting this, he creates the opportunity to turn around and give his development a different direction ( disillusionment ) in the case of an educational novel - or to fail or to be neutral from the perspective of the viewer in the educational novel or development novel.


The development novels include:

Developing novels have also been written especially for young readers since the 19th century. Examples:


  • Heinz Hillmann, Peter Hühn: The development novel in Europe and overseas. Literary life plans of the modern age. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 2001, ISBN 3-534-15055-4 .
  • Lothar Köhn: development and educational novel. A research report. Metzler, Stuttgart 1969.
  • Herbert Tiefenbacher: Text structures of the development and educational novel. On the plot and narrative structure of selected novels between naturalism and the First World War. (= University publications, literary studies. 54). Forum Academicum in the Athenaeum publishing group, Königstein / Ts. 1982, ISBN 3-445-02235-6 .
  • Helga Esselborn-Krumbiegel: The "hero" in the novel. Forms of the German development novel in the early 20th century . Dissertation . Scientific Book Society, 1983, ISBN 3-534-08951-0 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Development novel  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Ruth Sassenhausen: Wolframs von Eschenbach "Parzival" as a novel of development , Böhlau Verlag, 2007.