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The Apprenticeship Novel

A Study of the «Bildungsroman» as a Regulative Type in Western Literature with a Focus on Three Classic Representatives by Goethe, Maugham, and Mann

Randolph P. Shaffner

The idea that a young person can become adept in the art of life by passing through definite stages, until at last he becomes a master, lives at the core of the apprenticeship novel. Recognized among German critics as the «Bildungsroman», this type of novel has yet to be adequately defined on a grand scale for the English reader despite nearly two centuries of its development. In an attempt to describe the apprenticeship novel as a modifiable type in Western literature, Mr. Shaffner combines a theoretical stance with analyses of three concrete examples drawn from over a hundred potential candidates.