What a strange word. It’s German, from Bildung ‘education’ + Roman ‘a novel.’
And it’s my favorite Fiction genre. For some reason, I’ve always been drawn to novels that depict the dignity of African-Americans immediately after the Civil War. They faced such hardship and challenges to their survival and honor!
When students come to the Library and ask me what I recommend, I try to steer them to books about building character- especially novels by Mildred D. Taylor.
Without being preachy or politically correct, she relates family stories of triumph over trouble. Her characters, while fully human, find ways to rise above their circumstances and overcome adversity with their dignity and character intact.
Bildungsroman. It might literally refer to a novel about education, but I think it means building character.