Academic journal article Literator: Journal of Literary Criticism, comparative linguistics and literary studies

Shaping the Self: A Bildungsroman for girls?/Die Vorming Van Die Self: 'N Bildungsroman Vir Meisies?

Academic journal article Literator: Journal of Literary Criticism, comparative linguistics and literary studies

Shaping the Self: A Bildungsroman for girls?/Die Vorming Van Die Self: 'N Bildungsroman Vir Meisies?

Article excerpt

Abstract:

Shaping the self: A Bildungsroman for girls?

This article proposes that two alternative forms of the "Bildungsroman" developed from circa 1860 to 1960, featuring young female protagonists and aimed at girls as a readership.

To explore this proposition, the article initially focuses on three girls' series to see whether they meet the criteria for classification as a "Bildungsroman": the South African "Soekie" series written in Afrikaans by Ela Spence, the well-known Canadian "Anne of Green Gables" series by L.M. Montgomery, and the German "Pucki" series by Magda Trott. In these series girls have to learn through experience as they move toward happiness and maturity. Secondly, the article explores the presentation of the female quest, as well as some development options "in parallel" in such novels as Louisa May Alcott's now classic "Little women" and "Good wives".

The article concludes that some novels for girls move towards an exploration of personal development from childhood to maturity, but that the criteria for the "Bildungsroman" should be adjusted to include forms other than the single novels and novels focused on one protagonist that are more typical of the "male" "Bildungsroman". It also suggests that the criteria for maturity, self-actualisation and social integration need qualification in the "female" version of this genre.

Key concepts:

Bildungsroman female protagonist girls' series: L.M. Mongomery; Ela Spence; Magda Trott; Louisa May Alcott

Opsomming:

Die vorming van die self: 'n Bildungsroman vir meisies?

Hierdie artikel beredeneer die stelling dat daar tussen omstreeks 1860 en 1960 twee alternatiewe vorme van die "Bildungsroman met jong vroulike protagoniste en gemik op meisies as lesers" ontwikkel het.

Om hierdie stelling te toets, is in die artikel eerstens gefokus op drie meisiereekse om vas te stel of hulle aan die klassifikasiekriteria van die "Bildungsroman" voldoen: die Suid-Afrikaanse "Soekie"-reeks, geskryf in Afrikaans deur Ela Spence, die bekende Kanadese "Anne- of Green Gables"-reeks deur L.M. Montgomery, en die Duitse "Pucki" reeks deur Magda Trott. In hierdie reekse moet meisies uit hulle ervaringe leer in hulle strewe na geluk en volwassenheid. Tweedens word die vroulike soeke en ontwikkelingsmoontlikhede "as parallelle" ondersoek, in romans soos Louisa May Alcott se nou reeds klassieke "Little women" en "Good wives".

Daar is bevind dat sommige romans vir meisies neig om die persoonlike ontwikkeling van kindsbeen tot volwassenheid te ondersoek, maar dat die "Bildungsroman"-kriteria aangepas moet word om ander vorme in te sluit buiten die enkelroman en die roman wat fokus op een protagonis. Laasgenoemde vorme is meer tipies van die "manlike" "Bildungsroman". Daar word ook voorgestel dat die kriteria vir volwassenheid, self-aktualisering en sosiale integrasie in die "vroulike" weergawe van hierdie genre gekwalifiseer behoort te word.

Kernbegrippe:

Bildungsroman reekse vir meisies: L.M. Mongomery; Ela Spence; Magda Trott; Louisa May Alcott vroulike protagonis

1. Defining the Bildungsroman

Abrams (1981:121) translates the German terres Bildungsroman and Erziehungsroman somewhat loosely as "novel of formation" or "novel of education" respectively. In such novels, the subject is "the development of the protagonist's mind and character, as he passes from childhood through varied experiences--and usually through a spiritual crisis--into maturity and the recognition of his identity and role in the world" (Abrams, 1981:121).

Similarly, Suzanne Hader (1996:s.p.) describes a Bildungsroman as

   ... most generally, the story of a single individual's growth and
   development within the context of a defined social order. The
   growth process, at its root a quest story, has been described as
   both 'an apprenticeship to life' and a 'search for meaningful
   existence within society' . … 
Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.