Young Adult Dystopias: Bildungsroman for the 21st Century


  • Ljiljana Gavrilović The Institute of Ethnography SASA, Belgrade, Serbia



Bildungsroman, dystopia, crtical thinking, tradition


The paper examines young adult dystopian novels written in the first decade of the 21st century, as heirs to the tradition of the bildungsroman, and the great dystopias. The focus of this new genre has shifted from maintaining “the best of all worlds” – where the young person adjusts and fits into the existing world, to the shaping of the hero’s critical spirit which is supposed to result in the hero/heroine growing up, but also in changes in the world which they inhabit. Two other important characteristics of these novels are the critical relationship toward ancestors and tradition on the one hand, and on the other the positive assessment of non-rational decisions which are made impulsively and are based on emotions, which points to the abandonment of different aspects of the heritage of modernity (the traditions of rationalism and romanticism). Thus they set the stage for a new, different view of the world and the role which the individual is to fulfill by growing from a child into an adult in such a world.


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How to Cite

Gavrilović, Ljiljana. 2012. “Young Adult Dystopias: Bildungsroman for the 21st Century”. Etnoantropološki Problemi / Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 7 (2):343-57.

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