Erziehungsroman: German for “novel of upbringing,” a novel that recounts the education, training, or upbringing of the protagonist. While Erziehungsroman is often used synonymously in English-language literary criticism with bildungsroman, the more general novel of formation, it is better classified as a type of bildungsroman. Both the Erziehungsroman and bildungsroman examine the growth and development of a central character from childhood to maturity, but the Erziehungsroman focuses on the educational process and often addresses the protagonist’s relationship with one or more mentors who offer guidance and training.
EXAMPLES: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship (1796), George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss (1860), Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited (1946). J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series of fantasy novels (1997—2007; adapted to film 2001—11), set largely at Hogwarts, a school for the education and training of witches and wizards, is a contemporary example of Erziehungsroman.