>What is a Kunstleroman?

>I feel like an explanation is due. For those of you who never studied English literature in college, or who might have forgotten, a kunstleroman is the coming of age story of an artist (see “Kunstler-Hustle” below). This is much like a bildungsroman, which is an ordinary coming of age story.  Kunstleroman comes from the German word ‘kunstler’ which means artist, and the French ‘roman’ for novel. It is an artist’s novel, and it is what I am writing when I’m not at work blogging hard away about winch straps and Judaica and discount medical insurance.

Some of the more famous kunstleromans are Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, D.H. Lawerence’s Sons and Lovers and David Copperfield by Dickens. I’m reading Goethe’s right now, which is called “Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship. Goethe is a boss:

So that’s where all of this German is coming from. For those of you who are further interested in Goethe (1749-1832), I recommend Faust or The Sorrows of Young Werther. The latter is a love story about a young man who, sorry to spoil it, commits suicide because of unrequited love. This novella was so popular in its day that, because Werther wore yellow stockings, hundreds of Romantic Parisians committed suicide in like fashion, yellow stockings.

Anyway, stay tuned for what’s to come. I figure that since I’m blogging all the time, I might as well blog about any questions y’all have. Hope you enjoy the New York Writers stories; comments and critiques are always appreciated.

By Daniel Ryan Adler

Daniel Adler writes fiction and nonfiction and is finishing his MFA at University of South Carolina.

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