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His milieu was one of great social and cultural privilege. Wassily Kandinsky was his uncle, and the entire family circulated at the fringes of the haute intelligentsia.

This passage is supposed to show that the man came from the high society. But in my opinion the phrase "the entire family circulated at the fringes of the haute intelligentsia" doubts this assertions. The phrase has for me a negative connotation. To be at the fringes means after all not to belong to the center, to be somewhat out. How do you interpret the passage? Does it contradict the first part of the clause or confirm it?

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FumbleFingers' comment is correct, but it's also important to note that the intelligentsia are specifically intellectuals, it is not a general term for the social elite. It's possible to be part of high society without being part of the intelligentsia.

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  • +1. And not merely possible but probable. Feb 14, 2016 at 23:52

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