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Would you agree that A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a novel of "formation"?

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rasheenakr | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 4, 2012 at 1:00 AM via web

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Would you agree that A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a novel of "formation"?

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted January 4, 2012 at 4:13 AM (Answer #1)

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I have not seen “formation” as a literary term in any scholarship, but Portrait is definitely a Bildungsroman, the (German) term generally used to describe novels that follow the growth of the main character through childhood to manhood.  The form of the novel follows the anecdotes of childhood toward the formation of a distinct worldview, to a moment of epiphany that cements the individual as an adult, to the first mature decisions that denote what the character has become.  Famous examples of the genre are Catcher in the Rye, Oliver Twist, and Huckleberry Finn. Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Has the added distinction of being (putatively) autobiographical.

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