5

The first sentence of Anna Karenina goes as follows:

Все счастливые семьи похожи друг на друга, каждая несчастливая семья несчастлива по-своему.

What would be a better translation of "несчастлива"? Unhappy or miserable? Or maybe another word? The commonly used English "unhappy" seems too weak, based on my knowledge of Polish.

2
  • I would also like to know (presuming this is what you are thinking) whether there is a sense of 'unlucky' there.
    – SAH
    Apr 15, 2018 at 4:50
  • Why knowledge of Polish? It's Russian...
    – Ania
    Dec 30, 2023 at 16:59

2 Answers 2

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"Unhappy" seems to be the best translation for "несчастливая". "Miserable" would be a good fit for "несчастная", but that's a stronger word.

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The authors of three translations have opted for unhappy

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way,” wrote Garnett.

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way,” wrote Pevear and Volokhonsky.

Here, meanwhile, is Schwartz: “All happy families resemble one another; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

Source

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