Through the analysis of tropes of disguise and monstrosity, this article shows the identity of the novel's immigrant Sephardic hero inflected and problematized by interrelating factors of nationality and ethnicity, gender, and language. It demonstrates how conflicting social, personal, and historical factors converge in an impasse from which the protagonist cannot extricate himself. Themes of Jewishness repressed or brandished, in dialectical relationship to the alternative between pariah and parvenu described by Hannah Arendt, intersect with the problematic of love as conquest of the dominant Other's woman, a figure meant, impossibly, to replace the occulted Jewish mother as legitimizing source. The protagonist's complex relationship to the French language informs the text stylistically, structurally, and thematically. This article analyzes compensatory moves of verbal perfectionism, over-production, mockery, linguistic "monstrosity," and linguistic "disguise."


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pp. 39-49
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