The Modernist Bildungsroman: End of Forms Most Beautiful
This dissertation explores the modernist novel's response to the Bildungsroman. Through extensive close readings of the three modern versions of the genre -- In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust, The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann, and Ferdydurke by Witold Gombrowicz -- it shows that the tensions buried deep in the unconscious of this great narrative of organic development finally erupt as formal problems in modernism, when the classical Bildungsroman meets its demise through a relentless dehumanization of form. If the classical Bildungsroman presents us with "the image of man in the process of becoming" as Bakhtin has suggested, it argues that the modernist Bildungsroman enacts the dissolution of that process in its very form.
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