Expanding the Bildungsroman genre : variation in contemporary youth narratives
Bonar, Carly M.
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This study describes ongoing debates over the Bildungsroman genre, then analyzes the ways that three contemporary authors--Bill Watterson, author of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, Steve Kluger, author of The Last Days of Summer and C.D. Payne, author of Youth In Revolt: The Journals of Nick Twisp--expand the Bildungsroman tradition and envision a new type of precocious youth narrative. These authors' narratives suggest a departure from the traditional Bildungsroman narrative, in which protagonists begin at a place of naiveté, go out into the world passing through varied experiences, and finally come to an understanding about the world and their place in it. Instead, Watterson, Kluger, and Payne create precocious youth protagonists who already possess the knowledge and understanding they would traditionally have to go out into the world to acquire.