The era known as modernity supposes a radical break from preceding historical periods. One of its characteristics is disenchantment or the significant diminution of that which symbolically and qualitatively anchors a community and its individuals. This is discerned in the twilight of the mythical hero1, as evidenced by Don Quixote de la Mancha. This work, where quixotic adventures embody the hero’s journey, manifests the deterioration of this fundamental archetype. In Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther, the effect of the symbolic and qualitative chasm generated by modernity is evident: the hero is helpless in the face of not only modern pharisaic society but also brute reality. Confrontation with material reality as such only deepens with the consolidation of modern capitalism. However, the impulse to carry out the mythical journey persists. This is evident in the Bildungsroman. This article will unearth the archetypal components of the novel of formation. A much-needed corrective to reverse the erasure of the Hispanophone literary tradition and world as it relates to the Bildungsroman is proposed. The other will be to establish a second novel of formation paradigm, namely The Sorrows of Young Werther.

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