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By Sarah Juliette Sasson (auth.)

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Additional resources for Longing to Belong: The Parvenu in Nineteenth-Century French and German Literature

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What remains, as a crucial contribution to the study of the parvenu at the literary level, is her perception of the permanent oscillation between the pariah’s and parvenu’s statuses. This oscillation could mean instability as much as it could be a sign of the dynamic nature of both states. Arendt posits that the pariah’s very existence confirms that the parvenu can never completely secure his position. A permanent reminder of the parvenu’s not-so-distant condition and a prospective parvenu himself, the pariah underlines the complexity of the parvenu’s position from the inside.

Newness, while it can denote a rejuvenating absence of prejudices and a freedom of judgment, is also for Arendt synonymous with unfitness for society—an uneasiness, an awkwardness—characteristic of the newcomer or of the stranger. Featuring Rahel as the protagonist of a Bildungsroman, Arendt emphasizes formal features disseminated in literature devoted to parvenus. As much as the invisible border between the parvenu and the desired world served earlier as a metaphor for social ostracism, Arendt’s images highlight the notion of fraudulent entry into society and its consequences.

What remains, as a crucial contribution to the study of the parvenu at the literary level, is her perception of the permanent oscillation between the pariah’s and parvenu’s statuses. This oscillation could mean instability as much as it could be a sign of the dynamic nature of both states. Arendt posits that the pariah’s very existence confirms that the parvenu can never completely secure his position. A permanent reminder of the parvenu’s not-so-distant condition and a prospective parvenu himself, the pariah underlines the complexity of the parvenu’s position from the inside.

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