This volume is a continuation of Professor Germer's earlier work, The German Novel of Education from 1793 to 1805. Together the two volumes represent the most comprehensive and detailed study of this genre yet undertaken. Germer distinguishes the Novel of Education («belehrender Roman») from the «Bildungsroman», which chronicles the development of a hero through trial and error to the attainment of his own station in life. The Novel of Education, on the other hand, offers the reader practical advice and instruction on religion, health, virtue and vice, and interpersonal relations.
In the first chapter of his analysis Germer compiles an extensive bibliography. The second chapter examines the treatment of common man as revealed in this realistic fiction. The final chapters are devoted to the contemporary publishing scene and formal characteristics of the genre. The study represents a significant contribution to the study of «Volksaufklärung».