The Realist Novel as `Roman d'éducation': Ideological Debate and Social Action in Le Père Goriot and Germinal

It is generally assumed that the novel of education, the "Bildungsroman," is a peculiarly German phenomenon. The aim of the present article is to suggest that the novel of education is embodied to a significant extent in the French realist novel. More specifically, its purpose is to demonstrate, by examining recurrent themes and techniques employed in the realist novel, such as Balzac's Le Père Goriot and Zola's Germinal, that one of its distinctive achievements is the fusion of the "roman d'éducation" and the historical novel. (RB)

Butler, R.
Volume 1983-1984 Fall-Winter; 12(1-2): 68-77.