Buckley’s Formula

It’s funny how, decades after Professor Buckley created his definition of a Bildungsroman, writers who never heard of Buckley and live in a different era and culture still follow the formula he observed. I’m reading a novel by a famous Russian writer Dmitry Bykov, and it follows Buckley’s formula with the exactitude of an algebraic equation.

As a real scholar, Buckley didn’t invent anything. He observed a phenomenon that occurs independently of Buckley’s will and described it carefully.

Funny fact: I know Buckley’s formula by heart from back in my Bildungsroman days.

3 thoughts on “Buckley’s Formula

  1. May you share the novel’s title? Have not read any Bykov’s novels so far, only his books discussing literature, but Bildungsroman is a genre I love, so may be will succeed to see Bykov as a writer in addition to a critic and a poet.


    1. June (in reference to the time right before the war in 1941). It’s a sort of a story of “an artist as a young man” bit written in a very clear, unmessed with style.

      I have to warn you, though, there are many unnecessary and very detailed sex scenes. And it’s repulsive, ugly kind of sex. Not perverted but just sad and miserable. I’d be enjoying the novel a lot more without this part. This message can be delivered in a single scene. I don’t have to read about it in excruciating detail 56 times.

      I’m half done with the novel and will write in detail once I finish.


  2. Yeah, but it’s not a tall bar to reach …

    Technically “Slaughterhouse Five” by Kurt Vonnegut is a kind of bildungsroman with temporal incontinence. 🙂


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