Künstlerroman is a general term for a novel about the growth of an artist. It is sometimes categorized as a type of bildungsroman, a coming-of-age novel. A künstlerroman does not need to be about a boy's growth to manhood (or a girl's growth to womanhood), however. It could also deal with an adult who develops as an artist.
World Light by Halldór Laxness is an instance of a künstlerroman that is also a bildungsroman. It is a prime example of the former genre, because it is so intensely concerned with Ólafur Kárason's development as a poet. Even at the beginning of the book, when, as a child, Ólafur is necessarily preoccupied with basic survival in the most unpromising circumstances, his greatest solace lies in reading poetry or having it read to him.
Throughout his childhood and youth, there is never any doubt that poetry is Ólafur's primary concern, and the antagonist is anyone or anything that distracts him from it. For much of the novel, this is his wife, who does not understand his work and hampers his development as an artist, causing misery to both of them. World Light is a classical künstlerroman because it not only shows the growth of a poet's mind and the development of his art, but depicts that art as the one thing necessary for the protagonist to triumph and be fulfilled. To be a great poet is the object of the hero's journey.