Pride and Prejudice: A Bildungsroman
AbstractJane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice has previously been situated as a romance novel. Critics such as Pamela Regis support reading the novel as a romance: She states that the novel shows the most characteristic features of the genre, as it focuses on a female protagonist and the goal of marriage. However, the romance genre does not embrace the individual character development of the protagonist, Elizabeth Bennet, which I find central to the novel. I therefore argue that this development justifies reading the novel in terms of the Bildungsroman genre. This article will examine the central features of the Bildungsroman genre and how these are expressed in Elizabeth’s mental and behavioural development throughout the novel. Consequently, the presence of these genre features situates Pride and Prejudice as a Bildungsroman.
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