gelangen in (einen Akt einer Oper)


Senior Member
English - Californian
Hello everyone -

In Freud's "Das Unheimliche" (1919), you can find the following clause:

"die Erzählung 'Der Sandmann', aus welcher die Figur der Puppe Olimpia in den ersten Akt der Offenbachschen Oper 'Hoffmans Erzählungen' gelangt ist."

I'd really like to hear a variety of opinions on the best way to translate or paraphrase the connotations of "gelangen" in this sentence. The first English translation (Strachey) translates it as "Olympia, the doll that appears in the first act of..." and the recent re-translation (David Mclintock) goes with "from which the doll Olimpia found her way into the first act of..." I vastly prefer the second, because it seems to preserve the personification of the doll implied by the verb (things can "appear" in places, but only living beings can "find their way" into places). I would almost go further, using the verb "made it all the way to the first act of..."

Basically, exactly how specific is the verb "gelangen" to living things? Just how strong a verb of anthropomorphization ought we to use in this situation?

Thanks so much for the help!
  • exgerman

    Senior Member
    English but my first language was German
    Gelangt just means that she got there, so "found her way" has just the right connotations.
    You could even say from which Olimpia wandered into Act I of the Tales of Hoffman if you wanted to make your English fancy.