Longing To Belong: The Parvenu In Nineteenth-Century French And German Literature (Nineteenth-Century Major Lives And Letters)
Publish Date: 2012-12-11
Author: Sarah Juliette Sasson
Rising from humble origins to a position of preeminence, galvanized by the possibilities for financial gains made possible by the 'age of capital,' multitudes of social climbers appeared, 'on the make,' bent on conquering society's upper reaches by whatever means available. Yet making it is not the same as fitting in: an emblematic figure of the 'bourgeois century', the parvenu represents the Other on which a society depends. This drama of exclusion is symptomatic of nineteenth-century society as a whole - ambivalent about social mobility and the meaning of social advancement, oscillating between a new sense of opportunity for all and a backward-looking retrenchment to rigid social structures. The parvenu allows us to decipher a culture and its prejudices, its fears and its difficulty in negotiating the advent of modernity.