Bildungsroman

The novel Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind can be considered in some ways a Bildungsroman. The genre concept of the Bildungsroman was shaped mainly by the late Enlightenment in the second half of the 18th century. 

The concepts of development, upbringing, and education were hardly distinguished from one another at the time. One of the most significant and important works for the genre "Bildungsroman" is Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Wilhelm Meister's Journeyman Years from 1795. 

The Bildungsroman presents an individual's attempt to find their own place in the world, up to and including their own self-realization. Sometimes, the novel can describe the complete life span of a main character (from birth to death). 

Often the narrative is divided into three different parts (childhood - education - self-realization/finding one's place in society). The main character’s life is built up and can thus be easily followed by the reader. The Bildungsroman does not show an ideal person from birth, but highlights the development of a character into an ideal human figure (in the typical example of a Bildungsroman).

In Süskind's Perfume, Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is the main character. The reader can follow his development from hi...

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