zu den Gestalten dieser an Gestalten nicht armen Epoche...

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by weewoo!, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. weewoo! Member

    Hey! I'm reading Das Parfum.. and the first sentence is confusing me, haha.

    Im achtzehnten Jahrhundert lebte in Frankreich ein Mann, der zu den genialsten und abscheulichsten Gestalten dieser an genialen und abscheulichen Gestalten nicht armen Epoche gehörte.

    Most of it makes sense, but the "dieser an" and "nicht armen" parts are hard for me to fit into my translation. Is this a good English translation of the sentence:

    In the year 1800 in France, there lived a man who belonged to the most brilliant and disgraceful characters of brilliant and disgraceful characters of this not poor epoch.

    Is the author using "not poor" instead of "rich" to be funny? Is there some sort of construction in there that changes the meaning of the sentence that I'm not familiar with? Why is "an" in there? Also does gehören mean something other than belong here?

    Just super confused... Thanks!
  2. Scholiast

    Scholiast Senior Member


    First, "Im achzehnten Jahrhundert..." = "In the eighteenth century...", not "In 1800".
    Secondly, the sentence as a whole means:

    "In the eighteenth century, there lived a man who was among the most brilliant and disgraceful figures, in an epoch not short of [nicht arm] brilliant and disgraceful [characters/figures/personalities].

    It's a bit wordy, but wholly comprehensible when you relate dieser, properly, to the noun-clause nicht armen Epoche.

    Best wishes,
  3. weewoo! Member

    Oh!! THANK YOU :)

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