Anna Karenina Anna Karenina question

Which Translation?!??
Hailey Hailey Jun 07, 2016 12:19PM
Hey fellow book addicts!
I have a hankering to read this books, but since, alas I don't speak Russian, I was wondering if any of you have any suggestions on what translated version to get? There are so many out there and so many opinions on each version, I need a little help! Thanks!!

Check out opinions on the other discussion on this but for what it's worth, I recently read it for the first time in the Pevear/Vholonsky (sp) and thought it was great. I've read a few opinions since that kind of makes me wish I gone with the Constance Garnett translation which I probably will when I reread it one day.

I agree with the P/V translation, I think they're brilliant-I also read their War and Peace translation.

The trendy translation is Pevear and Volokhonsky, thanks to Oprah. Two subsequent translations, one British and one American, by Bartlett and Schwartz, respectively, have both been well received. Consumers of cheap paperbacks and free ebooks gravitate towards the old-fashioned but classic Garnett translation, which is in the public domain. There are other choices, altogether too many choices, but whichever you choose, it's still a good book.

Visit for a full listing of translations (14 total!) and more information on each one, including links to reviews and sample extracts:

Anna Karenina translations

It's a long book so unlike the scholars, I'm not planning on reading it more than once to try out different translations.

This article narrows things down to Constance Garnett edited by Kent and Berberova and Pevear and Volokhovsky.

I liked the sound of the Rosamund Bartlett excerpts until the article started problematizing them and pushing you back towards PV.

This guy is basically like... do what you want, read a bunch of them but also makes a good case for Bartlett at times.

My conclusion from the excerpts is that I think I'd be most comfortable reading Bartlett but sometimes her word choice adds additional meaning that wasn't present in the original. But maybe I should go with Garnett or P/V.

Any other opinions?

The P&V is probably the most-recommended right now. The Maude translation was the one I choose and another good option, since Leo Tolstoy himself had seen their works and approved of it.

I dislike Constance Garnett because anything she didn't know, she simply skipped it. The only thing to recommend for Constance Garnett's translations is that she was the one who brought Russian Literature into the eyes of the English-speaking world. The other reason is that she wrote in quite a Victorian way which many would be more familiar with, but why would I want Victorian writing when I'm trying to read about Russia?!

back to top