This essay explores the anti-Bildungsroman nature of Philip Roth’s American Pastoral. By pointing out the static trajectory of the protagonist, the Swede, this essay reflects on how the novel presents and then bends the formal features of the Bildungsroman to represent the Swede’s failure to come of age as the failure of the homo œconomicus to come to grips with the fallacy of his own principles. This denied Bildung is, then, to be read against the background of US neoliberal society and as grounded in the economic logic according to which every sphere of human life is subjected to the “neoliberal circle” of failure and uncritical reinvestment. In this sense, the Swede’s anti-Bildungsroman reflects the tensions underlying the formation of subjectivity in the neoliberal age.
Balestrino, A. (2022). "The Worst Lesson that Life can Teach." American Pastoral come romanzo di deformazione neoliberista. ACOMA(23), 83-104.