Culture Famous Bildungsroman Books and Novels

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List of famous bildungsroman books, listed alphabetically with jacket cover images of the books when available. Information for these popular bildungsroman books is included as well, such as the author's name and the book's publication date. This list includes the best bildungsroman novels, textbooks, and stories, so use it to find books you haven't already read and add them to your reading list.

The list you're viewing contains books like The Catcher in the Rye and Jane Eyre.

This list should answer the questions, "What are the best bildungsroman books?" and "What are the most famous bildungsroman books?"

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1
A Prayer for Owen Meany is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Bildungsroman Books and Novels
John Irving
A Prayer for Owen Meany was the seventh novel by American writer John Irving. Published in 1989, it tells the story of John Wheelwright and his best friend Owen Meany growing up together in a ...more

2
A Separate Peace is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Bildungsroman Books and Novels
John Knowles
A Separate Peace is a coming-of-age novel by John Knowles. Based on his earlier short story, "Phineas," it was Knowles' first published novel and became his best-known work. Set ...more

3
A Wizard of Earthsea is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Bildungsroman Books and Novels
Ursula K. Le Guin
A Wizard of Earthsea is a young-adult fantasy novel written by the American author Ursula K. Le Guin, first published by the small press Parnassus in 1968. Set in the fictional archipelago of ...more

4
Alice, I Think is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Bildungsroman Books and Novels
Susan Juby
Alice, I Think is the first in a trilogy of comic novels written by Susan Juby. It was first published in 2000. It is set in Smithers, British Columbia and describes the struggle of a young ...more

5
Bastard Out of Carolina is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Bildungsroman Books and Novels
Dorothy Allison
Bastard out of Carolina was the first novel published by author Dorothy Allison. The book, which is semi-autobiographical in nature, is set in Allison's hometown of Greenville, South Carolina. ...more

6
Boyracers is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Bildungsroman Books and Novels
Alan Bissett
Boyracers is the debut novel of Scottish writer Alan Bissett. It was first published in 2001 by Edinburgh-based Polygon Books. The plot concerns four male teenagers growing up in the town of ...more

7
Candide, ou l'Optimisme is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Bildungsroman Books and Novels
Voltaire
Candide, ou l'Optimisme is a French satire first published in 1759 by Voltaire, a philosopher of the Age of Enlightenment. The novella has been widely translated, with English versions titled ...more

8
Caucasia is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Bildungsroman Books and Novels
Danzy Senna
Caucasia is a novel written by Danzy Senna. It features the coming of age of Birdie, one of two multiracial sisters.

9
Celandine is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Bildungsroman Books and Novels
Celandine is a book written by Steve Augarde.

10
Coin Locker Babies is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Bildungsroman Books and Novels
Ryu Murakami
Coin Locker Babies, 1980 is a novel by Ryu Murakami about coin-operated-locker babies, translated into English by Stephen Snyder. The translation was published in 1995 by Kodansha International ...more

11
Cry to Heaven is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Bildungsroman Books and Novels
Anne Rice
Cry to Heaven is a novel by American author Anne Rice published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1982. Taking place in eighteenth-century Italy, it follows the paths of two unlikely collaborators: a ...more

12
Derby Girl is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Bildungsroman Books and Novels
Shauna Cross
Derby Girl is a 2007 novel by Shauna Cross. It tells the story of Bliss Cavendar, a girl from the fictional town of Bodeen, Texas whose mother wants her to compete in beauty pageants, and seeks ...more

13
Green Henry is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Bildungsroman Books and Novels
Gottfried Keller
Green Henry is a partially autobiographical novel by the Swiss author Gottfried Keller, first published in 1855, and extensively revised in 1879. Truth is freely mingled with fiction, and there ...more

14
Harry Potter and the Deathly H... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Bildungsroman Books and Novels
J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the seventh and final novel of the Harry Potter series, written by British author J. K. Rowling. The book was released on 21 July 2007 by Bloomsbury ...more

15
How the Garcia Girls Lost Thei... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Bildungsroman Books and Novels
Julia Alvarez
How the García Girls Lost Their Accents is a 1991 novel written by Dominican-American poet, novelist, and essayist Julia Alvarez. Told in reverse chronological order and narrated from ...more

16
Ingenious Pain is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Bildungsroman Books and Novels
Andrew Miller
Ingenious Pain is a book by Andrew Miller.

17
Inkdeath is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Bildungsroman Books and Novels
Cornelia Funke
Inkdeath is a 2007 young adult fantasy novel by Cornelia Funke. It is the third novel in the Inkheart trilogy, following Inkheart and Inkspell.

18
Inkheart is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Bildungsroman Books and Novels
Cornelia Funke
Inkheart is a 2003 young adult fantasy novel by Cornelia Funke, and the first book of the Inkheart trilogy. Based on a 2007 online poll, the National Education Association named the book one of ...more

19
Inkheart trilogy is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Bildungsroman Books and Novels
Cornelia Funke
The Inkheart trilogy is a series of three fantasy novels written by German author Cornelia Funke, comprising Inkheart, Inkspell, and Inkdeath. The books chronicle the adventures of teen Meggie ...more

20
Invisible Man is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Bildungsroman Books and Novels
Ralph Ellison
Invisible Man is a novel by Ralph Ellison, published by Random House in 1952. It addresses many of the social and intellectual issues facing African-Americans early in the twentieth century, ...more

21
Jane Eyre is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Bildungsroman Books and Novels
Charlotte Brontë
Jane Eyre is a novel by English writer Charlotte Brontë. It was published on 16 October 1847 by Smith, Elder & Co. of London, England, under the pen name "Currer Bell." The ...more

22
Lives of Girls and Women is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Bildungsroman Books and Novels
Alice Munro
Lives of Girls and Women is a short story cycle by Nobel Prize–winning author Alice Munro, published by McGraw-Hill Ryerson in 1971. All of the stories chronicle the life of a single character, ...more

23
Look Homeward, Angel is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Bildungsroman Books and Novels
Thomas Wolfe
Look Homeward, Angel: A Story of the Buried Life is a 1929 novel by Thomas Wolfe. It is Wolfe's first novel, and is considered a highly autobiographical American Bildungsroman. The character of ...more

24
Looking for Alibrandi is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Bildungsroman Books and Novels
Melina Marchetta
Looking for Alibrandi is the debut novel of Australian author Melina Marchetta, published in 1992. A film adaptation was made in 2000.

25
Maestro is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Bildungsroman Books and Novels
Peter Goldsworthy
Maestro is a 1989 novel written by Australian author Peter Goldsworthy. It is a bildungsroman which deals with the themes of art and life. The novel was shortlisted for the 1990 Miles Franklin ...more