Pride and Prejudice: A Bildungsroman

  • Amalie Due Svendsen Aarhus University
Keywords: romance novel, Bildungsroman, alienation, agency, reintegration, maturation, Literature in English 1

Abstract

Jane 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.

References

Abrams, M.H. & Geoffrey Galt Harpham. A Glossary of Literary Terms. Eleventh edition. Cengage Learning, 2015.

Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. Fourth edition. W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2016.

Brontë, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. Wordsworth Editions Limited, 1999.

Ellis, Lorna. Appearing to Diminish: Female Development and the British Bildungsroman 1750-1850. Associated University Press, Inc., 1999.

Maier, Sarah E. ‘Portraits of the Girl-Child: Female Bildungsroman in Victorian Fiction’. Literature Compass, vol. 4, no. 1, 2007, pp. 317-319, 333. doi:10.1111/j.1741-4113.2006.00411.x. Accessed 15. Nov. 2016.

Regis, Pamela. A Natural History of the Romance Novel. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003.

Published
2017-09-01
How to Cite
Svendsen, A. (2017). Pride and Prejudice: A Bildungsroman. Leviathan: Interdisciplinary Journal in English, (1). https://doi.org/10.7146/lev.v0i1.96779
Section
Articles